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first-time homebuyers sitting on floor of new home

Buying your first home is an exciting step in life. Envisioning future holiday dinners, celebrating with friends, and watching your family grow—all filled with smiles. However, there are a lot of moving parts to purchasing your first home, and it can be just as scary as it is exciting. First-time homebuyers often venture out into the market without the knowledge or experience needed to recognize the potential pitfalls to avoid in the process. Here’s a look at the most common mistakes homebuyers make, and how you can avoid them.

1. Do Your Research Before Looking at Homes

While it’s exciting to view homes, first-time homebuyers should research the area they plan to move to and get pre-approved for a mortgage before they start searching. Talking to a mortgage lender will help you navigate the Florida laws, and incentives for buying new construction homes. Florida offers numerous homestead incentives for first-time homebuyers, including reducing your property tax bill, and reducing the value of your home for the assessment of property taxes. They also do not have a state income tax or collect property taxes, creating a desirable lower cost of living.

Having a mortgage lender will also show sellers that you’re a serious buyer whose credit and finances are in good shape. In today’s competitive market, deals are often closed in a matter of days. Having a pre-approval and knowing the financial benefits of that state can help eliminate any points of delay in the process and could improve your chances of having your offer accepted.

Research Homes Before Looking at New Homes

2. Talking to Only One Lender

When getting preapproved for a mortgage, first-time homebuyers often get a mortgage from the first (and only) lender or bank they talk to. However, the more you “shop around” and compare offers, the better basis you’ll have to ensure you’re getting a great deal with the lowest rates possible. According to a 2018 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau study, the average borrower could have saved $300 a year, or $9,000 over a 30-year mortgage had they compared mortgage offers. Homebuyers can avoid this mistake by comparing the rates, lender fees, and loan terms of at least three different lenders.

First-Time Homebuyers Working with mortgage lenders in jacksonville florida

3. Being Careless with Credit

When buying a home, the mortgage lender will pull your credit report at both the pre-approval stage and just before closing. To ensure nothing jeopardizes the closing and final loan approval, many lenders will advise to not open or close any accounts, take out new loans, or make large purchases while searching for a new home. Homebuyers are also advised to keep a check of their current credit score. Many banks offer free credit monitoring to their customers and give advice on what to focus on to improve your score.

4. Focusing on the House, Not the Neighborhood

While it is important that the house checks all the items on your wish list, selecting the right town or community is equally as crucial. Do your research on the surrounding area, including school ratings, commute times, nearby activities, and more. For those looking to move to North Florida, the master-planned community Tributary presents an incredible opportunity for work-life balance, through the freedom of an active outdoor lifestyle while being near the thriving Jacksonville region.

Family riding bikes

5. Don’t Overthink the Long-Term Plan

As you shop for your dream home, it’s easy to focus on the details that make you personally fall in love with the property. However, first-time homebuyers should recognize that their first house isn’t always their forever home. It’s important to keep in mind the resale value of your home, so you can always make the move when you’re ready. New construction homes provide the best value for resale, designed with today’s most sought-after features and taking advantage of current technology advances. Other important features to look for include open concept layouts, outdoor appeal, and overall energy efficiency.

Tivoli Home in Tributary Florida

Live Life on Your Terms

When it comes to buying a new home, there are so many aspects that need to be considered. Tributary makes it easy to hit all the items on your wish list, with an impressive selection of new, single-family homes from the $300s. The Model Home Village is open daily to showcase the unique styles and designs of our builders – Dream Finders Homes, Lennar, and Richmond American Homes.

At Tributary, residents get to Explore More with a prime natural location and private on-site amenities. The Lookout Lakefront Clubhouse is Tributary’s newest amenity center set to open this summer. Here, residents will enjoy a fitness studio, resort-inspired pool, pickleball courts, a playground, dog park, and more. Additionally, Tributary recently announced the start of pre-sales in Lakeview 55+, Nassau County’s newest active-adult neighborhood.

To get a full overview of the community and surrounding area, be sure to discover the Digital Brochure, or connect with Tributary on Facebook and Instagram. To view available homes or to schedule an in-person tour, visit or contact the Tributary team at 904-299-6124.