Top 5 Things to Avoid When House Shopping in St. Louis


Buying a house is an important investment that should never be taken lightly. But in order to turn your dreams into a reality, there are certain things that you can do to help prepare for the purchase and alleviate future financial regrets.

The following are 5 mistakes to avoid when shopping for a house:

1. Avoid Treating the Transaction as a Short-Term Housing Solution

A home purchase is a long-term investment and should be treated as such. If you don’t intend on living in your St. Louis residence for a while, buying a house might not be for you.

Whether you have to relocate for work or move to a different area shortly for whatever reason, you might want to reconsider other options. You may also be in between deciding if you’re ready for additional space or to downsize soon.

While paying rent may seem like a waste of money, it can actually save you money if you aren’t planning for the long term. This is because a lease is generally more suited for the short-term and once it’s over you’re no longer tied to the property.

With a house you’re not able to get out as easily and you may also not be able to recoup the costs associated with your home purchase. Once you get a firm idea on what your future holds, you’ll be ready to take the necessary steps.

2. Avoid Breaking the Budget

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of house shopping. But you don’t want it to get the best of you by breaking your current budget. Although granite countertops, walk-in closets, master suites and wood trim may make you giddy, the extras can add up quickly.

You also need to factor in other expenses such as homeowner’s insurance, taxes and utilities when budgeting your mortgage payment.

Before you begin the house shopping process, it’s important to know how much house you are able to afford. A mortgage lender or bank will be able to run the numbers based on your income and debt. With this figure in mind, you’ll be able to instruct your real estate agent to stay within certain parameters.

Buying a St. Louis home doesn’t mean you have to be house poor. As your equity grows in your current dwelling over the years, you can think about upsizing to more upscale digs.

3. Avoid Focusing Solely on the Home

Curb appeal and interior charm are both important factors when buying a house. But you don’t want to make them your primary focus.

There are other attributes that make buying a home in St. Louis a wise investment. If the home is near a busy street or located in an unfavorable neighborhood you could progressively lose money.

You also want to take into consideration the school districts, accessibility to public transportation and highways. Although you may not want to sell for years to come, you want the value of your home to continue to increase.

Before you consider putting a bid on a property, you need to do your research. This includes future plans for your community, homeowner’s association fees and school district report cards.

4. Avoid Failing to Plan Ahead

It can take a significant amount of time to save money for a down payment on a home if your budget is tight. Lender’s requirements may also be more strict now than in the past. This means you could need more money down to qualify for the loan.

In order to save more money to place in your house fund you may want to look over your budget to see if there are any other areas where you can cut back. Simple tweaks such as skipping your daily coffee run or lowering your cable package can help significantly.

Planning ahead also allows you time to clear up your credit history and pay down debt. If you have credit card debt or outstanding loans, try to pay them down as much as financially possible. It’s also important to pay all of your bills in a timely manner.

If there are blemishes on your credit history, this is the best time to rectify the issues. A poor credit score could place you at a higher interest rate than someone with minimal debt.

Once your credit is within a good range, you’re ready to meet with a bank or mortgage lender and get the home buying ball rolling.

5. Avoid Foregoing the Home Inspection

Once you’ve found the St. Louis home of your dreams, you want to make an offer on the property. But before you make the contract final, it should be contingent on the home inspection.

This means that the home that you’re purchasing doesn’t have any hidden dangers or structural damage to the dwelling. You can either interview home inspectors on your own or enlist the help of your real estate agent . It’s important for you to be involved in the inspection process.

Navigating the home with the inspector will allow you to gain an understanding of the mechanics of the property as well as see any problems firsthand. This could include troubles such as water damage, mold, radon, wood rot and foundation cracks. The home inspector will also be able to assess the appliances, heating, air-condition and water heater.

If you encountered problems with the home, you have the option to cancel the home contract or ask the seller to correct any issues. You may also want to see if the seller will offer any kind of home warranty system.

This provides protection in case your furnace, appliances or other maintenance issues break down after you purchase the dwelling. It provides great comfort to the buyer in instances where the home is older and in need of repairs.

Low interest rates and signs that they could go up in the not-too-distant future may have you wondering if this is the ideal time to purchase a home. But to avoid this happy experience from turning into a nightmare, you’ll want to take the above five home buying mistakes into consideration.

Have any thoughts or questions about what was covered in this post? Feel free to comment them down below.

Topics: St. Louis Real Estate, What to Avoid, Buying a Home