Buying a house is one of the biggest financial decisions you can make. Here’s how you can set the right expectations about the road ahead, along with some tips to help you along the way.
Buying a home: The emotional lows
Let’s get the bad news out of the way: nothing worth having ever comes easy. Here are some of the emotional lows you may experience when buying your home.
Online photos may not tell you the full story
We’ve all been deceived in the past. Maybe you bought a cool T-shirt online, but when it arrived at your door, the material was flimsy and the colors faded. Similar to looking at houses online, most of the listing photos will probably be more flattering than in real life. While searching online is a great starting point, don’t get your hopes up until you visit the house in person.
Open houses can get exhausting
Visiting open houses can be really fun at first, but after the 5th or 10th open house, you’ll probably get exhausted. Plus, you’re probably incredibly busy! With work, day-to-day chores and errands, penciling in all these open houses can be a major strain on your schedule. Unfortunately, you have to be patient and keep searching until you find the right one.
You have to be on the lookout for red flags
When searching for homes, you need to ask about any issues such as water damage, electrical problems, or old HVAC systems. You have to do your homework to avoid dealing with some major repairs down the line. Keep in mind that minor cosmetic details like paint or landscaping can be easily fixed, but replacing something as costly as a damaged roof is far from easy.
You’ll have to make compromises
When narrowing down your home search, you’ll have to strike a balance between your needs and your wants. You may really want to live close to downtown, but you need to stay within your budget. We’d all like to have our cake and eat it too, so separating our needs from our wants isn’t very fun.
The closing process can be nerve-wracking
From the mortgage application to getting approved, submitting an offer, and then waiting to hear back, it can all be both tedious and terrifying!
To minimize this stress, do your best to choose the right mortgage professional for you. Always get a second opinion from a different mortgage lender and work with the mortgage pro who can get you the best value (not just the best rate). Not only should your mortgage lender genuinely care about helping you, but they should also be an open book when it comes to your different options.
The same goes for your real estate agent. A great realtor can change the game when it comes to searching for your home and negotiating with the seller. Having a professional, friendly, and trusting relationship with your realtor will make the whole process run a lot more smoothly.
Buying a home: The emotional highs
Throughout all the uncertainty and frustration, it’s crucial to remember why you’re working toward owning your dream home. Keep these major perks in mind to help you through the hard times.
Not blowing your money on rent
The rent is too dang high. It’s annoying putting a third of your monthly income into paying for an apartment, especially when your upstairs neighbors are clomping around like Irish river dancers all night. The thing about owning a home, your housing costs are going into a solid real estate investment, not just your landlord’s pocket.
Having more space to suit your lifestyle
As rental prices increase, the size of apartments seems to shrink. In a lot of apartments, there’s hardly any space for storage, cooking, exercising or your favorite hobbies. When you find your dream home, you get to pick a place that suits your lifestyle. You may really want to get into gardening or woodworking, but it’s hard to treat yourself to these fun activities when you’re stuck in a cramped space.
The freedom to personalize however you want
When you own your home, you get to define that space however you want! Whether it’s painting an accent wall, updating the appliances, or sprucing up the landscaping, you get to make this space your own. Having the freedom to put your own signature on your surroundings can fill you with a sense of pride, as if to say, “I made this!”.
Not having to answer to a landlord
When you’re renting, you have to follow someone else’s rules. You may really want a puppy, but your landlord says, “Nah.” Constantly trying not to upset your landlord can add a lot of extra stress to your daily life. After you buy a house, you’ll never have to worry about those ominous emails from Brenda down at the leasing office ever again!
Having your friends and family over for dinner
With a lot of rental situations, it’s hard to have guests over. In most apartments, there’s no space for a dining room, so dinner parties are out of the picture. Not to mention, most rental situations come with zero extra parking for your guests. Plus, you can’t throw a noisy party or you might tick off the neighbors.
When you own a home, you have more freedom to share your space with the ones you love. You can have family over for the holidays, invite friends to come watch the game, or even host parties every now and then! All while not having to worry about your neighbors ratting you out to the leasing office.
Putting down roots for your family’s future
As you reach a certain point in your life, you start to realize how exhausting it can be moving from one place to another. Moving from a temporary into a stable living situation allows you to put down roots for the future. Owning a home means having a space to make long-lasting memories that you and your family can share for years to come.
Whether it’s planting rose bushes in the backyard that bloom every spring, hanging framed family portraits in the hallway, or tracking how tall your kids are with pencil marks on the wall, putting down roots gives you a sense of belonging. Throughout all the highs and lows, you’ve finally made it. Your home sweet home.