If only I had a pool…
When you first think about buying a house, whether it be your first one ever, or your next one….it is exciting. It can make you downright giddy thinking of all the cool things your future home will have. Thoughts will go though your head like, “If I had a pool in my backyard I would swim every single day and in the best shape ever and SO tan.” And if you are a millennial, “I could take the sickest snaps by the pool and my story would have the chillest vibe.” You may dream of the kitchen and all of the home cooked meals you will make, or the yard for all of gardening you will do.
I hear you. Imagining the wonderful things a different house will bring to my life is STILL one of my favorite past times. I tend to think my “if only house” would bring happiness every single day…because if I lived there no way could I have a bad day.
Choose the RIGHT home for you
You know what never enters my little daydreams? Cleaning that house. I also don’t think about changing the kid’s schools, my commute to the office, the closest Trader Joe’s, not knowing which neighbor can be trusted to watch my cat when I go out of town… or the mortgage payment plus that crazy high HOA payment, plus the extra property tax in this neighborhood. This isn’t the fun stuff that rolls through your head when you imagine your next home.
Buying a house is a wonderful thing. Choosing the place you will call home, celebrate holidays, birthday parties, and burned dinners. So do it right, don’t make these 3 mistakes when buying your next home.
Mistake #1 : Not getting a pre-approval FIRST
Real estate agents are not trying to be annoying by saying to get a pre-approval FIRST. Really, don’t go into the model homes, scroll the pretty houses online, or even start imagining your furniture in your best friend’s new house until you do this! This part is the part when most people’s insecurities lie…their credit is less than perfect, they don’t have enough credit…do they count student loan debt? I get it. And I don’t know the answers as your real estate agent, so call a lender, preferably one of the people I suggest. I only suggest people that past clients love, who communicate well, and who have proven to me that they do what they say they are they are going to do. WHY? Why do I insist you call the lender first? Because nothing sucks more than falling in love with a house to find out you can’t afford it, or you will be house poor if you buy it. Nothing will look as good as that house you can’t afford. That house will also continue to get even better in your imagination until you just lie on the floor of the 38th house we are touring and cry. Ugly cry, with boogers and stuff. Gross. Don’t do it. It isn’t cute…and you’ll NEVER get over that house that got away. Know how much you can spend before you start scrolling!
Mistake #2: Buying too far out
Think about your commute. Seriously. Don’t blow off the extra 20 minutes you, or your spouse, will have to spend in the car if you buy further out. WHY? Because it DOES matter. It matters more to my past clients than they thought it would. This is one thing I hear again and again from past buyers, “It’s just too far out. ” I read a list once that gave a short commute to work the number 4 spot in the top 10 things to KEEP you happy. So if you have a 10 minute commute, that won’t make you happy every day…but if you have a 30 minute one, it might make you miserable every day. Those minutes are time away from your family, your pet, or your couch. If you decompress on your drive home, and meditate on your way in…then you are the lucky one. But be sure your friends will still come to your parties, and the inconvenience of driving 20 minutes to go to the movies or to dinner won’t be a big deal for you and your family. Once you know the geographical circle you want to stay within, you are almost ready!
Mistake #3: Compromise
Lastly, think about what you like to do on the weekends or your free time. Buy some place that you will be close to whatever you love, or have room to do what you love. You can’t grow your house or your land later. Make sure your garage has room for your workshop, or the ice rink is close by so Suzie can continue her lessons without you spending your life in the car. WHY? Make things easy for yourself …because it is the little things like this that feel like huge things when you don’t have them, or the effort starts to outweigh the benefit of keeping them in your life. Trust me. Don’t compromise on too much just for the extra bedroom…kids spend zero time in their rooms until they are teens anyway! Get the 3rd car garage for your workshop, or make sure you have space for a garden…buy the house with ugly tile that is closer to the ice rink and has a 3 car garage, even if you have to live with that tile for a while. You can live with kind of ugly if you get your garden and don’t have to live in your car! Also, think of who or what you don’t want to be too close to as well…if the in-laws are just down the road and will be popping by uninvited all the time, are you going to be ok with that? What if your house backs up to a baseball field, one that hosts late games, and EARLY games? We are going for day-to-day happy here, you are buying your happy place! What makes your soul happy? Compromise on the other stuff. Shiny and new and in BFE might not always be the right choice, or the townhouse in town with no yard might always disappoint you when you can’t find what you want at the Farmer’s market.
We daydream about our new home because in some way we feel it will suit our needs better and make us happier. Your home is a piece of who you are and who you want to be, where you want to raise your family or hang out with your cat. It can be your best investment, a virtual bank for your future. It will also hold memories, good and bad, and no matter how long you stay there, it will be your HOME for a while, and home is a pretty wonderful place.