A great obstacle to happiness is to expect too much happiness.
– Bernard de Fontenelle
We live in a world where 24 hours a day you can watch any number of television shows that tell the story of buying a fantastic home—all in a matter of 50 minutes! A lovely couple looks at three homes, picks one out, and is happy for life. But this constant stream of nicely packaged home buying experiences gives real-life homebuyers unrealistic expectations.
Going into the home buying experience with unrealistic expectations leads to frustrations, disappointments, and discouragement. It can create fights between you and your partner or family and anxiousness wondering whether you will ever find a home that’s right for you.
Here’s what you need to know to keep your expectations in check:
- Know what you can afford and be resolute in not looking at houses above your price range. Personal finance guru Dave Ramsey recommends that your total mortgage payment not be above 25% of your total take-home pay on a 15-year fixed rate mortgage. If the payment is any higher, you will struggle to make the payment or you won’t have enough cash flow to keep up the rest of your lifestyle. In this situation, your house would be a burden. Instead, let your home purchase be a joy by sticking to your price range.
- Know the home prices in the area you are looking. Once you have your price cap nailed down, know what kinds of houses are available in that price range. Doing a brief online search can give you a general idea. Pay attention to the sizes, age, locations of the homes in your price range so you can become familiar with your options. Once you have a general idea of what to expect, then you should contact a buyer’s agent. She can delve into the details of exactly what kind of home will meet your needs. Plus, a buyer’s agent knows what homes hit the market before the information is available online.
- There is no perfect home. All homes will have something you don’t like or something that needs a little work. Don’t hold your breath for perfection. It doesn’t exist.
- Know what you MUST have and what would be nice to have. Be ready to concede that you won’t get all of your wants. Be willing to compromise.
- Be patient in a hot market. Be ready to quickly make an offer if you like something you see, but at the same time, if your offer is not chosen, don’t lose hope. Houses move quickly in a hot market. Don’t get stuck in discouragement; keep looking.
- Home buying is an emotional time. Expect it to be emotionally taxing, but don’t let your emotions overrule what you have already decided is best for you.
- In a hot market, the houses sell for the listing price or greater. This is not the time to think you can offer lower. You may even need to offer above listing price. So how do you know what is best when making an offer? An experienced buyer’s agent can make sure you get a deal that is best for you in any market.
- Everyone’s home buying situation is different. Don’t expect your home buying experience to be the same as your mom’s, sister’s, friend’s, co-worker’s, neighbor’s, etc. Enjoy the journey. Embrace the uniqueness of your home buying experience.
Amy Shair, an award-winning realtor, has been guiding home buyers to the home that is right for them for over 20 years. She knows what to expect in the Triangle Area of North Carolina. Need a buyer’s agent? Contact her today.