Couples: Don't Buy a Home Emotionally
Ok, so buying a home is stressful and it's fun at the same time. It's exciting and I can tell you that as Realtor, I get to see buyers' goals from different perspectives. Maybe she wants the high end designer kitchen and he wants the perfect man cave, den or home office. Here's where the two of you really need to dance together to the same beat.
Let's just say for the sake of argument this sweet young buyer couple looked at a baker's dozen homes, and one seems to appeal to both of them more than the others. It has the cherry hardwood cabinets, and high end stainless appliances that she wants, and the extra bedroom would actually be perfect for the home office and they both fall in love with the home based on these two features. Well, think it through kids. Here's where they will need to decide what features they can both be flexible on, or be willing to trim down the expectations in harmony.
Look at this way, if you were a single professional and money wasn't an obstacle for you, and you didn't have to worry about school districts and other considerations about more exact location you could conceivably "have it all". But when you're a couple you both have your own items high on your list, some you may share and other items may not be as important to you as it is to your other half. You're going to half to meet each other halfway or find a happy compromise somewhere. If you don't, even the items you agree upon may not end up being part of the final picture.
The first step in getting as close to your dream home as possible is to get clear about which items you are willing to compromise on and which items you must have. Once that’s done, follow these tips to avoid veering from the plan.
Keep the Emotions Out of The Home Buying Process.
Le'ts say that the extra bedroom is indeed perfect for conversion into that den he wants so much, but one wall is exposed to your neighbor's outdoor party patio and they have four teenagers. Will that den be perfect now? But "Honey" she says, "the kitchen is what we always dreamed of, just look at it!". You see where this is going? You both have to be happy about your selection because you'll both have to live with it. Keep this in mind when you're oggling that whirlpool attached master bath, or that double stainless Thermador or Ge Cafe oven. Don't sell out for just this or that feature... and realize it's the home you're going to share for a very long time. Perhaps if it's not perfect, consider the cost of making it perfect, can it be rearranged or changed to suit.
Buying a Home Emotionally Can Cost You.
Your lender just handed you the happy news that you're pre-approved for $300,000! Well before you find a home and whip out the check book to issue a down payment, sit down and calmly look at the true monthly cost. Just because your lender gave you a "green light" for this amount doesn't mean you should spend that much. Yeah, I know, as a Realtor I'd get a bigger paycheck if YOU spent more, but my job is to save you money and protect your interests, right?
Instead, look at what is comfortably affordable, and I strongly suggest only spending 80% of what you're approved for. That's a good solid rule of thumb to help protect your finances over the years to come. Give yourself the ability to pay extra on the principal and build equity faster, but too, save money and collect 6-9 months worth of bill paying power because no one can see the future. In addition to maintenance that many new buyers forget to consider, what about illness or lay-offs? You just don't know, and while you're excited about what spending every penny of that pre-approval will get you, it could also cost you more than you're prepared to when it comes to the unexpected, and could even cost you everything.
I'd hate to see that happen to you, and this is why many refer clients to my business partner and I. You're not just a paycheck to us.
Location, Location, Location; Keep a View in Perspective.
This is one aspect of buying a home (as a couple or family) to never compromise on. If the location doesn't have a pretty view, it never will, and it's key to remember this old saying; "You can forever fence yourself in, but you cannot fence yourself out". Location is going to be important for the whole family, so, better be sure!