The American Dream. The perfect home. Home sweet home. Our houses are more than just a place to store our stuff. They become part of our lives. That’s why homebuying often feels like an emotional process.
Unfortunately, buyers who head into house hunting with their heart set on something often end up disappointed. Maybe you realize you can’t afford that “dream home” or your offer is turned down, or maybe something else about the deal falls through. The truth is that homebuying is like any other business transaction and should be treated accordingly. Here are some ways to make sure you don’t fall head over heels for a home that just won’t work out.
Know Your Requirements and Dealbreakers – Homebuyers often go into house hunting with a critical eye — until they see “the one.” But even if the house is in the right school district and has an amazing kitchen, is it really perfect? Are you willing to overlook structural damage for this “amazing” house? What other flaws are there? Are you willing to live with them or are they dealbreakers? If you’re thinking about it, get bids on the cost to do repairs so you’ll know more about what to expect if you buy. At the same time, it’s important to know what items on the “home wish list” you can live without. If you find a house that has everything except that extra bedroom, is that workable?
Take Advice, with Salt – From your parents to your real estate agent and mortgage officer, everyone has an opinion and some expertise. The advice you receive is probably given with good intentions and some it may be valuable. Just be sure to filter it against your needs and budget. For example, your parents may encourage one thing, but you may have a different lifestyle in mind.
Know Your Budget – This is the most important. Often homebuyers look at homes outside of their set price range and then find one they love. Then they try to make it work financially and later end up struggling. Figure out how much mortgage payment you can afford and know your final, bottom line before you look. Be sure your real estate agent does not show you anything outside that limit and avoid touring open houses above your price range “just to look.” The homes will only tempt you. Remember, if you have to pay so much of your budget each month to afford the house, you won’t be doing much else except spending time in it.
Shop When Ready – If you buy when you’re desperate, you’ll more likely regret your choice later. Try to start looking for homes when you’re ready, but not in a hurry. While this isn’t always possible, it will make for a no-pressure (and more fun!) experience.
If you’re shopping for homes, contact us so we can help you find one or build one in our neighborhood that fits your budget and requirements.