Selecting and purchasing your first home can seem equal parts terrifying and exhilarating. Success in such an environment requires carefully balancing both the emotional and financial sides of the equation.

Understanding and avoiding some common pitfalls can help.


  • The prospect of buying your first home can be intimidating

  • Lacking direction, some homebuyers are quickly frustrated by the process

  • By avoiding key pitfalls, you can make the most of your search


Pitfall 1- Failure to Clearly Define Success

Any goal begins by first defining when you’ve reached it. For many homebuyers this means spending significant amounts of time defining the characteristics of the home they seek. While this is a good start, it really only represents part of the equation.


Successful buyers must also understand the financial and lifestyle implications of any purchase.

  • Carefully consider the full cost of a home purchase and budget accordingly. Include property tax, home insurance, upkeep and moving expenses

  • Think about lifestyle factors such as commute times, daycare costs and other factors associated with your target search area

  • Be careful to also factor in your long-term needs (additional children/bedrooms, teen drivers, school district, proximity to key resources, etc)


Pitfall 2- Lack of Pre-search Preparation

A frequent lament of new homebuyers involves time wasted on the front end. This comes from searching for homes without any real structure, finding houses that don’t fit or being ill-prepared to act when one does.


Taking a more systematic approach to your search can be easier than you think.

  • Hire a buyer’s agent with a deep understanding of your search area. This is at no cost to you but will provide an advocate who can ask the right questions to help make your search targeted and efficient.

  • Ask your agent to sit down with you to review homes in your price range and target area. Set up a few walkthroughs and use them to gain an understanding of the market

  • Obtain a mortgage pre-approval outlining the costs and terms of a prospective loan. This delivers clarity about your budget and sets you up to act fast.  

Pitfall 3- An Inability to Manage Emotions

Searching for homes is an emotional endeavor, but savvy buyers find a way to rise above those emotions. Falling in love with a particular home is a recipe for failure. If you are not willing to walk away, you lack leverage for the important negotiations that protect your interests.

  • Hope, dream and aspire to a great home, but don’t emotionally invest in any particular home on your list.

  • Know the market and rely on your agent to help you stay rational with a clear assessment and valuation of each home.

  • Make every offer contingent on a buyer’s inspection and carefully consider major issues that arise. 


Pitfall 4- Improperly Vetting your Agent

An experienced agent is crucial to any real estate transaction. Their knowledge of the home buying process, your search area and the wisdom of countless transactions will serve you well.



This makes finding the right agent crucial.

  • Demand local expertise. Neighborhood-level knowledge can be imperative in getting the right home at the right price. Ask for a list of recent transactions.

  • Hire only a fulltime agent

  • Define a clear service level agreement. Any reputable agent will be able to clearly spell out their availability, various means of contact and a backup plan. 


The Bottom Line

At Zachary Adams and Associates we are laser-focused on client satisfaction and building relationships for life. We have facilitated hundreds of successful transactions in Maple Grove, Minnetonka, Plymouth, Eden Prairie and the surrounding communities.


Finding a dream home for your family doesn’t have to be a dream. We’d love for you to put us to work for you.

To learn more about how we can help, contact us for a free consultation.