You started the process of buying your first home by choosing a real estate agent and mortgage lender that meet your qualifications and feel like a good fit. Before you take off, excited to find the perfect home, step back and set some expectations for your home search. What you expect to happen during your house hunt will affect how you react to what actually does happen. Setting realistic expectations for yourself now can save head aches and money later.
This won’t be the last home you ever buy. Most first time home buyers can’t afford their dream home. If this is the case for you then try thinking of your first home as an investment in your future homes. As an investment, the most important aspect of your first home will be appreciation/re-sale value. At some point you will likely want or need to sell this home and your best bet to make money on it is to have bought a home that others will find attractive. Look for homes in well kept neighborhoods, close to public transportation, near shopping and amenities and in school districts with good reputations.
Be prepared to set emotions aside. Approach buying a house as a financial decision not an emotional one. There is so much money involved in buying a house that you can’t afford to make an emotional decision based on modern styling or high end finishes that cause you to overlook the four lane highway outside the front door. Be analytical. It might be useful to make a list of pros and cons for each house.
Expect added pressure. Remind yourself that you don’t need extra pressure from yourself or anyone else. Buying a house carries enough pressure on its own. Don’t let anyone add pressure on top of that. We recommend leaving family and friends at home during showings. While they usually mean well, more often than not their comments do nothing more than muddle your thoughts and make you feel like you can’t think for yourself.
Some times pressure can come from a Realtor. Your real estate agent should never put pressure on you to buy a house. If it is ever anything other than trying to convey a sense of urgency in a potential multiple offer situation then it might be time to find a new real estate representative. Listen to advice but don’t let anyone tell you what house to buy. You are the one who will be living there, not them.
Extra pressure can also come from you. Expect that you aren’t likely to find the home you will buy the first time you look at houses. After multiple showings and weeks of looking, buyers some times convince themselves that the house they are looking for just isn’t out there so they should settle for something less. Starting your house search with the knowledge that it can take weeks or even months to find the right house (especially in this market with little inventory) will help keep you from pressuring yourself to settle.
Having set some reasonable and realistic expectations now it’s time to start your home search!