Mistakes I Made When I Bought My First Home

This post was written as part of the Allstate Influencer Program and sponsored by Allstate. All opinions are mine. As the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer, Allstate is dedicated not only to protecting what matters most–but to guiding people to live the Good Life, every day.

Planning on buying a new house? Before you start, learn from these five mistakes I made when I bought my first home! You'll thank me later!

Buying our first home was the most challenging decision we have ever made, both financially and emotionally. I wanted a large kitchen to be able to unleash my baking creativity and my husband wanted a large basement to store all his tools. After visiting numerous houses, we finally found one that suited all our needs (or almost)! I had my large kitchen and he settled for a small basement. A few years later, we moved out.  We made some mistakes! But we learned from them when considering our second home. One of our biggest mistakes was not choosing the right home insurance coverage. That was costly! Let me share with you my biggest mistakes and how we adjusted when we bought our second home.

Things to Consider When Buying Your First Home

Determine your needs

Do you need a 2 bedroom house, a garage, a big kitchen? Determine what you need. Write it down and discuss it with your spouse! You need to know the difference between needs and wants. I wanted a super large kitchen and a huge backyard. I settled for a large kitchen with a small backyard in a home with plenty of nearby parks. My husband settled for a small basement. Making a “needs” and “wants” list is the most important step when purchasing your first home. Don’t forget to consider your family’s growth: how many children you want, and so on.

How much you can afford

Now that you settled on what you need, determine the amount you can afford. Chances are, you will borrow money to buy your first home. Use the home loan calculators to help you determine how much you can afford based on your financial situation. Allstate has a quick tool that can help you achieve that. Just enter some basic financial information and you are all set! Take a look at the screenshot below.

Planning on buying a new house? Before you start, learn from these five mistakes I made when I bought my first home! You'll thank me later!

Location, Location, Location

The amount we could afford at that time did not allow us to buy the house of our dreams in the city! We had to go to “far, far away land.” I really wanted my large kitchen and did not want to compromise. So we chose a house that was in a new neighborhood with few amenities around. Big mistake. I had to drive 20 minutes to get a loaf of bread. Not at all convenient when you’re toting a toddler around with you!

For our second home, we chose one that was near all the amenities and near schools too. My point is: location is as important as the house. And sometimes needs have to come before wants. If you are okay to drive 20 minutes to the grocery then by all means, go for it! But if you are not ok with that, then you have to compromise. So when visiting houses, keep that in mind and make sure to check for all the amenities around: groceries, school, and even high schools. Time flies and your tot will be a teen in no time!

Get a loan preapproved before looking for a house

That was another thing we did not consider. We went house shopping without a preapproved loan. When we found the one we wanted, we could not get it ON TIME! So before house shopping, make sure to get pre-approved and keep that number in mind as you shop. This will also save you from finding the house of your dreams that turns out to be just out of your price range.

Choose the right homeowners insurance for you!

Some may think it doesn’t make sense to consider homeowners insurance before you even step foot in your home. Well, chances are your lender will require proof of it. And if you don’t have it, they may obtain it for you and it may be more expensive. I declined the lender’s insurance but had to come up with our own within 24 hours. That did not leave us too much time to consider all our needs!

Did you know that homeowners insurance covers more than the physical building? It covers personal property too and much more…as long as you get the right policy! So when our home was robbed a few years later and my wedding ring was stolen, we discovered that we were not adequately covered. I wish I had a dedicated agent that helped me choose the right coverage for our house and our stuff! So don’t make my mistake, find a nearby Allstate agent to help you get started. To speed things up you can even fill out the online quote before you meet with an agent. It is simple, safe and available 24-7. Having a quote in hand will help you ask the appropriate questions when speaking with your agent.

Of course, I wish I never made these mistakes when I bought my first home, but I’m glad that I can help others learn from them now. Buying your first home is such an incredible adventure, it’s tempting to skip over all the details and just dive into the first home that really catches your eyes. But if you take the time to follow these tips, you’ll have a better chance of finding your dream home versus your “eh, it’s okay for now” home!

Already bought a home? Share your tips or anything you wish you had known!

48 thoughts on “Mistakes I Made When I Bought My First Home”

  1. I really love the advice here. Shopping for a home is a huge committment. Hoping that others pay close attention if they are in the market for a mortgage.

  2. Thank you for sharing this post, we plan to purchase our first home sson and I think you supplied some helpful tips.

  3. Buying a new home takes a lot of planning and research especially if you have kids. I think these are all important factors, you must not miss one when thinking of getting a new house!

  4. This post gave me a little bit of hope. The thought of buying my own house is so far into the future for me. I’m in Australia, its not the easiest to save and buy. Moving back in with the parents in an attempt to save more. I’ll be using some of these tips too.

  5. These are all excellent tips and things that often get overlooked in the excitement of buying a home. For me it was important to make sure the neighborhood had nice green open areas and parks. It also helps to do research on the HOA!.

  6. This is great advice for me since I’m still saving up before buying my first home! Location is super important to me as well which is why it will probably be ages before I can afford something in the area I want. Will definitely keep your advice in mind when the time comes

  7. This is really great advice, I’m going to pin this as I haven’t purchased my first house yet and I really think some of these things I would over look. Like getting the loan before looking! I would probably just get too excited haha

  8. We wish someone told us the difference in our mortgage payments vs our condo and the townhouse we wanted to get. We ended up in the condo and regret it so much!

  9. We are in the process of buying a new home right now. I actually never thought about homeowners insurance and which brand to choose! I’ve got to share this post with my husband.

  10. Thanks for this. we are really hoping to purchase our first home soon. I’ve been hesitant for years to buy I guess its just those scared jitters but its a scary process!

  11. These are great tips to keep in mind for anyone who is considering purchasing a home! I would add to be mindful that the larger the house the larger the heating bill!! (We feel the heat on this bill every winter!)

  12. Getting preapproved is a great tips. It is important to really think about what you need in your new home. It can be so easy to fall in love with a house that is to big for what you need.

  13. These are great tips for people buying their first homes. We have bought more than 10 houses so at this point we feel like experts!

  14. Home buying is so stressful, but these are great tips that will really help make the process a little easier. You are so right. Sometimes needs have to come before wants. You really need to be willing to compromise in some areas or you may never end up buying a home!

  15. I remember buying our home 8 years ago. We ended up building so that we could get what we wanted. We even planned in case our family grew. I am glad that we looked at several plans that were actually built so that you could visually see it. The model that looked perfect on paper wasn’t ideal in person.

    We just sold our house because it’s time to downsize for a bit. One of the kids went off to college.

  16. This is really great information. I wish we had known more about mortgage insurance before we bought our first home. It made our payment more than we were expecting.

  17. These are all such great tips. It’s very important to be careful when buying your first home. I just got my first home about two months ago.

  18. These are all really great tips and quite a few of them a real estate agent should have gone over with you. There is a lot to consider when buying a house; especially since the idea is that you will be living in this house for quite a long time.

  19. These are such great tips! Location really is everything – I watch so many HGTV shows that I know it haha! There’s so much that goes into home buying and so many things that can so easily be overlooked!

  20. The first home I bought was riddled with newbie mistakes but thankfully nothing we couldn’t handle. The biggest mistake for us was location. When we sold to get out of the declining area we sold it for half of what we paid for but I was only 21 and just learning how to handle things like that. We have done much better this time around and the area we live in now is great!

  21. I made a mistake in buying a condo vs a house. I have the neighbors from someplace else who have damaged my car, scream and yell at me, throw something up against the wall (our shared wall) daily, child scream all day long along with the dog barking and so much more. It is getting to the point that I am going to have to call the police the next time due to the threats. I have learned so many things over the years in buying homes but I believe this was the biggest mistake. I also thought the HOA would take care of the deck outside but I was mistaken and they do not take care of a lot of the outside things.

  22. Great post. When we bought our first house we settled on two bedrooms and had all these grand plans about fixing it up. Little did we know the cost to do so wasn’t in our budget. We soon out grew our house and was smarter about our second house

  23. These are all great tips on buying your first home! I felt like I went in blind when I purchased my home a few years ago…if only I knew then what I knew now! LOL!

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