1. Failing to shop around for a mortgage
Studies found that 50 percent of all buyers applied to just one lender for their mortgage. But that could be leaving money on the table. Shopping around can save you, on average, $430 in interest in the first year for those with a fixed-rate.
2. Believing the 20 percent down payment myths
Another common mistake is believing you have to put down more of a down payment than you really do. Seventy-one percent of current homeowners say they made down payments of 20 percent or less, according to U.S. Census Bureau data (of those, 23 percent of buyers put down between 11 to 20 percent; 16 percent put down 6 to 10 percent; and 32 percent put down 5 percent or less). In markets where home prices are rising at a faster clip, buyers may find it time to buy now rather than wait until they saved a 20 percent down payment.
3. Showing unwillingness to compromise
First-time buyers may also be going in with too-high expectations. Housing inventories in the lower price ranges, which typically first-time buyers are looking at, are low and that means limited choices. Twenty-six percent of all recent buyers surveyed say they purchased a home knowing it would need improvement or work. Twenty-one percent also said they had to compromise on their list of must-haves. Real estate experts urge first-time buyers to identify their top priorities, such as commute times, schools, and square footage.