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Buying a home in Lagos can be daunting. Every year, first-time home buyers venture into the market and make the same mistakes that their parents, siblings and friends made when they bought their first houses.  Luckily, we’ve pulled together some of the common mistakes first-time home buyers make. Learn from them, and you may have a smoother home buying process.

Buying a Home When You Have Debt

Buying a home when you have debt is like running a marathon with weights around your ankles. Before taking on a huge new mortgage, you should be financially free of debt. 

Buying A Home You Can’t Afford

Before you start touring houses, take a good look at your budget. Figure out how much house you can afford. Find out how much you can afford to pay each month, so you look in a price range that fits your finances—and won’t lead to frustration. In many cases, lenders will pre approve you for more than you need or would be wise to spend. 

Attending an inspection and falling in love with a place you can’t afford is a bumpy start to your home buying journey. Not prioritizing your wish-list wants (stainless steel appliances) over needs (enough bedrooms) or insisting on searching only in one neighborhood can also lead to overspending. Stay focused and flexible.

A mortgage payment you can’t afford is a particularly heavy burden. Generally, your monthly mortgage payments shouldn’t be much more than 28 percent of your monthly gross income. If you have a lot of other debt, that percentage should be even lower. Make estimates based on your current income, not what you anticipate making a few years down the line. Liz Sylvan, a certified financial planner at Cultivating Wealth in New York says “If your mortgage turns out to be too much of a monthly payment, then you could find yourself in a difficult position.”

Skipping The Home Inspection

The home inspection is an added expense that not every first-time homebuyer might know about and one that some might feel safe forgoing. After all, you’ve seen the property and nothing appears to be wrong. But professional inspectors often notice things most of us don’t, so this step is especially important if you’re buying an existing home (as opposed to a new construction, which might come with a builder’s warranty). If the home needs big repairs you can’t see, an inspection helps you negotiate with the current homeowner to have the issues fixed or adjust the price accordingly.

Buying Without A Long Term Plan

Buying a home is a large investment and you want to stay long enough to build equity. If you plan on living in this house for a long time, you may want to think ahead. Your first home doesn’t have to be a forever home, but having a long-term plan can help you choose a house that fits your lifestyle goals.You may decide to have kids in a few years, and then you’ll have to worry about another set of questions. Will there be enough bedrooms? Is the house located in a good school district? These may be things to think about when buying your home. Balance long-term needs, like a growing family or career goals, with what you can afford and what’s available in the communities you tour. Good local schools and parks are great if you’re planning to have kids, while public transportation and local industry may be more valuable for your career.

So whether you’re just starting to think about buying your first home in Lagos, or you’ve already spent some time looking, there may be a lot to learn from this list of mistakes.

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