There is nothing quite like the sensation of owning your first home. Homeownership is truly an iconic American Dream. Most of us dream of the day we will own our own home…the fun of building something that is truly ours, branding it with our own sense of style. For women, I think this is even more so true as historically, whether stay-at-home, work-at-home, or work-out-of-home mom, women have been the homemakers.
The buying process on the other hand can be one of the most stressful. I think my husband and I seriously contemplated divorce on more than one occasion and I only considered husband-cide once…okay twice. Seriously, when you take two strongly opinionated people with distinct ideas of what is important and what’s not, butting heads is a not even a question…it’s so a given! Even for those who don’t have the added complication of my husband’s and my strong wills, buying a home can be extremely stressful and something that can leave one bewilder, befuddled and confused. After awhile, I swore I was going a little screwy. Its time consuming and on occasion life consuming. Sometimes it was even a two Icee day (yes, I admit it. I am an Icee addict but that is for another post.)
I did learn quite a few things along the way in this process that I hope will help other home buyers get through the struggles of buying a home so that they can move right on to enjoying their new home. I will go into detail with them over the next few days but here are:
Wife, Mom, House…Oh My Tips for Buying a Home
- Know Your Budget – This is so much more than just knowing what you are qualified for as a purchasing price. There are things like the monthly payment, property and supplemental taxes, HOAs, utilities, etc. and how they fit into your monthly budget (there will be a future post on budgets too).
- Know Your Must Haves, Wants, Be Nice, Tolerates and No Way in Hades – You might not be able to get everything you want but knowing these can help determine which house is right.
- Know Your Market – In general is it a seller’s or buyer’s market, are investors a factor, etc.
- Know Your Area – Its important know the areas you are looking to buy in and what factors are effecting price in those areas. May involve leg work.
- Know Your Time Frame – Do you have the ability to work until you find the right house or do you need to move like yesterday
- Know Your Strengths versus Hiring Someone versus Buying it Done – Are you a novice DIY-er, expert DIY-er, know a contractor friend, or that’s too much work?
- Location, Location, Location…Nah, It’s Agent, Agent, Agent – Without the right agent, you might not find the location. A good one can make the process smoother, a bad…well, let’s not go there.
- Know the Terms – Do standard, REO, Short Sale, Subject to Lender, “Investor Property”, Flip, New Construction and Contingencies sound like a foreign language to you? I’ll see if I can break it down.
- Emotion versus Logic – Its sometimes easy to get caught in the pretty and wind up paying more or miss on a good opportunity because its covered in clutter.
- Go On, Ask Questions – my philosophy is they work with you but ultimately for you as your purchase can earn your broker, real estate agent, escrow, etc. up to 6%. You have the right to ask any question you want.
- Know YOUR Terms and Ask for What You Want – When righting and offer, you can ask for what you want…like the fridge to be included
- Have Walk Away Ability – This is where logic really has to win in that if the terms aren’t meeting within your budget, know when to walk away.
- Read EVERYTHING – There is so much paperwork but is important to understand what exactly YOU are signing, and therefore, what YOU are liable for/agreeing to. In the end, its you on the hook.
- Don’t Just Trust – You would be surprised how my reviewing things caught stuff and knowing dates and deadlines helped.
- BREATHE!!! – Most important one. In the end, once its all done and over, the house will be yours. It would really suck if you didn’t make it there because you forgot to breathe.
In the end, my husband and I did make it through the buying process (though renovating brought on a-whole-nother set of challenges) and we got a beautiful home out of the process. Now, its on to making the beauty we envisioned a reality (more to come on that topic).