Owning a home has long been the quintessential symbol of achievement. Perhaps it has something to do with how owning property sometimes represents both the ultimate individual accomplishment and a person's patriotic dedication to his or her country. However, even after you've scrimped and saved enough for a nice down payment, buying a house is not as easy as you may think. As it turns out, this dream can quickly turn into a financial nightmare if you're not careful.
Usually, the worst nightmares occur for first time homebuyers. Newlyweds, for instance, anxious to dive into the white-picket-fence ideal, may overlook the fine print and gritty details of homebuying. After they've made the biggest plunge of their lives into marriage, these lovebirds may think other major decisions like buying a home will be a piece of cake.
Some first-timers think they're being cautious and smart, but they still may not be familiar with the unique and complicated homebuying process. Even 30-something professionals, who may otherwise be financially savvy, still make rookie mistakes. Others, like recent college grads, may consider the investment of owning -- as opposed to throwing money away into renting -- such a shrewd financial choice that they don't need to worry about the details.
A house is more than a home -- it's a long-term financial investment. Knowing the dangerous mistakes of the buying process might mean the difference between building financial security and digging your own grave of debt. If you're scared the homebuying nightmare might make a financial fool of you, read the next few equally-important pages to save yourself from a debt disaster.
First, we'll go into the essential first step: budgeting. It's terrifyingly easy to overestimate what you can afford. What are you forgetting to include in your budget? Find out on the next page.