Buying a home is often an emotional experience—you’re likely excited, nervous, and happy, and maybe even sad all at once time. This is even more true if you’re selling a home at the same time.
But emotions can cause problems when you’re home shopping. Falling in love with the wrong home can cause major buyer’s remorse, so it’s in your best interest to keep a cool head when you’re out looking for your next home. Here’s how it’s done.
Stick With What You Can Afford
If I had a number one tip, this would be it—stick to looking at homes that are in your budget. If you don’t, I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll fall in love with something only to be disappointed once your financial reality sets in.
This is one of the reasons you should always talk to a lender before you start home shopping. If you go through the pre-approval process (which requires submitting paperwork about your finances), you’ll get a really good idea of how much money you’re likely to be approved for.
If you start shopping first, fall in love with a $500,000 home and then find that you can only be approved for a $300,000 loan, every home you look at in your price range is going to disappoint you. Who’s satisfied with a Ford Focus after falling in love with a Maserati Quattroporte?
Also, just because the bank says you can afford something doesn’t mean that it’s within your own budget. Decide what monthly payment you’re comfortable with before you start shopping for homes.
Don’t Get Attached Too Soon
Sadly, not every home deal goes through, even once the contract has been signed. Since something could come up that derails the deal (especially before the home inspection), it’s smart to wait until you’re near closing to get attached to the home.
As disappointing as it is when a deal falls through, remember that there are always other homes out there. If one home doesn’t work out, another one will, and often that home will be even better.
Know Your Needs and Wants
Having a really clear idea of your needs and wants helps you stay on track when you’re searching for a home.
If you know that you have a to be in a certain school district, it’s easy to cut out any homes that aren’t in it. If you have to have four bedrooms, don’t look at homes that have fewer. If you look at homes that don’t fit your needs, you may talk yourself into a home and deeply regret it later.
On the other hand, if you want an outdoor kitchen and a large laundry room but would be willing to live without them, include homes without them in your search. You may find that some of your wants are more negotiable than you thought.
Be objective and honest with yourself about what you really need and what you just would like to have.
Don’t Let Perfect Be the Enemy of Good
Don’t let your search for the perfect home prevent you from considering all of the good homes out there. Some buyers are willing to pay a premium to move into the perfect home, but it’s rarely the best option (unless you have unlimited funds, in which case, go for it).
Remember, even if you were to find the perfect home, it may not be perfect for anybody else when it comes time for you to sell it. If you paid too much for the home, you may lose money down the road.
You can always make changes, especially if you buy a home that’s under your budget and leave room for renovation money. Hate the laminate countertops? The orange paint throughout the home? These are things that you can change that will have a big impact on how the home looks.
The bottom line is that you should find a home that fits your needs, invest in a little remodeling, and transform the home into the home of your dreams rather than expect the home of your dreams to fall in your lap.
Stay Calm When Bidding on a Home
Bidding situations are stressful, and it can be really easy to overpay when you have a little competition. (Have you ever paid too much for something on eBay just because you didn’t want someone else to have the item you were interested in? It’s just like that).
I can include an escalation clause in a purchase contract, which allows for incremental increases in your offer based on competing offers. This clause will go up to a certain price point that you decide. This helps you stay calm if a bidding war ensues because you already know the maximum amount you’re willing to pay.
Don’t Perpetually Look for a Better Deal
Most of us are accustomed to thinking that there’s a better deal to be had if we just wait. While it’s always true that interest rates could drop tomorrow or that the perfect home at the perfect price could be listed next week, it doesn’t help to think that way. It’s also true that interest rates could increase or that someone else could snatch up the home you want.
If I’ve learned anything during my time in real estate, it’s that we can never predict what’s going to happen to the market tomorrow. If you know the value of the home you’re buying and it meets your needs, you should go for it!
Don’t Fall in Love at First Sight
In real estate, it’s dangerous to fall in love at first sight. Jumping on the very first home you see is a likely recipe for buyer’s remorse.
Looking at at least five homes will give you more perspective and allow you to compare pros and cons of all the homes. Unless you have something to compare it to, you may not notice the things you don’t like about the first home.
Falling in love at first sight may also discourage you from keeping an open mind about the property. An open mind is critical to ending up with the home that’s right for you because you need to be able to look at the home as objectively as possible.
Trust Your Realtor®
There will always be ups and downs during the process of buying a home, but don’t let it cloud your judgment. The worst thing you can do is make a rash decision that either costs you the home you really wanted or leads you to buy something you didn’t want at all.
My job is to help you stay level-headed during the process of buying a home. I have a lot of real estate experience and have come across many sticky situations. As hard as it can be, try to listen to my advice before you emotionally react. That’s why I’m here.