16 Common First Time Home Buyer Mistakes

HUD defines a first-time home buyer as someone who has never owned a home before. An individual who has not owned a home for at least three years is also considered a first-time home buyer. For couples, if one spouse is a homeowner but the other spouse has never owned before, then, according to the FHA, both spouses are considered first-time home buyers.


  • Not knowing what they can be afford when buying a home.
  • Not getting pre-approved with lender before they go out looking at homes.
  • Failing to realize that not all homes qualify for a government backed loan due to their condition or area.
  • Failing to consider additional expenses, such as hazard & flood insurance, property taxes, HOA fees.
  • Not saving enough money for earnest deposits, home inspections, appraisal, and closing costs.
  • Being too picky, by put everything they can think of on their new home wish list, yet funds are limited.
  • Neglecting to inspect property, neighborhood, and reviewing AAR Buyer's Advisory.
  • Not thinking of future development, such as plans for highways, undeveloped lands, and zoning.
  • Not reading disclosures such as the Seller's Property Disclosure Statement, CC'Rs, and HOA documents.
  • Using the seller's agent or not working with the right agent to help them through the buying process. 
  • Don’t ask enough questions of their lender or real estate agent, and end up missing out on the best deal.
  • Don’t act quickly enough to make a decision and someone else buys the house.
  • Don’t do enough to make their offer look appealing to a seller, and lowball offer in a seller's market.
  • Start buying big ticket items such as a car or furniture, and using credit cards during the escrow period.
  • Not reading or asking questions of the title company's Preliminary Title Report Schedule B.  
  • Don’t think about resale before they buy. The average first-time buyer only stays in a home for four years.