For most people, the home buying process ranks high among life’s greatest headaches. According to research from real estate services provider Reali, 40% of first-time buyers described the experience as one of their most stressful. And that’s of all time.
What makes buying and selling a property so challenging? Typically, the process involves a lot of moving parts and different professionals. From mortgage lenders to home inspectors, you encounter tons of experts. It can be hard to keep it all straight.
Another issue relates to worries about money. Unless you can pay for a house with cash, you will need to find another source of capital. For most people, this means waiting to get approval for a loan. Though digitization has sped up this process, it hasn’t taken away its inherent frustrations… like finding out you don’t qualify for a super-low interest rate.
Finally, you may lie awake at night wondering if you’ve made the right choice. The threat of buyer’s remorse is a powerful motivator on the psyche. The last thing you want is to commit your finances to a place that you don’t love.
In other words, your anxieties are hardly unprecedented. However, you can put a few strategies in place to keep them from ruining your sleep.
1. Hire an independent expert to check out the home before signing any contracts.
Unless you waive the standard inspection during your home buying, you’ll get a bit of feedback on the status of your house. Nevertheless, you might want to hire an independent, licensed handyperson to give you feedback, too. The handyperson’s insight will help you understand if you’ll need to make improvements.
For instance, let’s say that you’re about to buy a home. The inspector says everything looks good. The handyperson conducts a deeper dive and suggests that you might want to add some weather stripping to lower your heating and cooling costs. Accordingly, you check out a trusted site like Angi and find out that you probably won’t need to pay more than $760 for weatherstripping. With this information, you can decide if you want to weatherstrip or not immediately after you take possession of the property.
2. Look for a real estate agent who puts you at ease.
You don’t have to settle when it comes to choosing a real estate agent. In fact, Realtor.com notes that there are more than 106,000 real estate brokers in the United States. This means that there’s no shortage of agents for you to work with. Consequently, you should feel free to take your time to find one who seems like a good fit.
What attributes should you look for in an agent? You want one who listens to you and shows you properties that make sense for your needs and budget. You also want an individual who’s patient and explains every step of the process. Remember that you might be working with your agent for months to find a home. The last thing you want is to dislike or distrust the agent in charge of helping you submit and negotiate offers. Instead, you want to find a partner whose only goal is to make sure you’re pleased with your next home.
3. Keep a cool head when it comes to bidding wars.
You found it: The house you’ve dreamed about your whole life. The only problem? It’s $25,000 over your budget. Yet you can’t stop thinking about how much you love the property. Is changing your hard-line budget limit really such a big deal?
The answer, of course, is that moving the needle too high can be dangerous financially. Chances are good that you set your budget limit for a reason. It wasn’t arbitrary. Adding $50 or $100 more to your monthly loan payments will mean less disposable income in the future. Bottom line? If you get outbid, you get outbid. Paying too much for your home could leave you in a beautiful house that you can’t afford to maintain.
4. Be willing to make some concessions.
Being too picky as a home buyer can backfire. Certainly, you will have some non-negotiables, like a two-story property with at least two full bathrooms or a sizable backyard. Just don’t allow yourself to fall into the trap of trying to find the “perfect” house.
Unless you’re going to work with an architect and home builder to construct a house to your exact specifications, expect to make some concessions. Maybe the kitchen isn’t as big as you hoped. Perhaps you’ll have to invest in an outdoor patio installation somewhere down the road. As long as you can check off major “must-haves,” be open to accepting something less than flawless. Frequently, updates like new paint, appliances, and flooring can transform a property for a modest amount of money.
Purchasing your first home will always give you a tiny bit of heartburn, it’s true. Nonetheless, the more you’re prepared for the process, the less stress you’ll feel along the way. Before you know it, you’ll be hanging a wreath on your door and welcoming loved ones into your new house.