Is now the right time to make a major lifestyle change?
Questions To Answer Honestly
You’ve finally decided to buy your own home. Wow exciting!
You are ready to fulfill your dream of having a place to call your own. Or are you?
Buying property is one of the biggest financial decisions you'll ever make – but it’s also one of the biggest emotional ones (after all, it is said that death, divorce and moving are three of life’s most traumatic events). How will you know you are ready to face the emotional decisions involved in buying a home?
In the presence of knowledge, fear disappears. The best way to know if you are prepared is to learn about the process of home buying and the responsibilities of home ownership. The differences between renting and buying a home are great, and there is no one best choice for everyone. Before moving forward, here are some questions to consider.
- Do you have the necessary financial management skills?
- Are you ready to take on the responsibility of all the costs involved in home ownership, including mortgage payments, repairs, and maintenance?
- Are you willing to make any lifestyle sacrifices (i.e. cutting back on other expenses, facing a longer commute, having to serve on a condo board, etc.) that might apply to your decision to buy a property?
- Are you able to devote the time required for home maintenance?
If any of the answers cause butterflies in your stomach, you might want to wait and acquire the necessary education, skills and lifestyle changes so you can answer the questions to your satisfaction.
Consider Pros And Cons
If you are currently renting, you know there are pros and cons for both renting and buying. Take a moment to carefully consider those advantages and disadvantages. While many Realtors® will tell you that homeownership is always better than renting, that might not actually be the case; much depends on your needs, finances and other factors. Don’t let anyone persuade you one way or the other, but look honestly at your situation and evaluate it yourself.
If you are in a relationship, know that buying a home can affect your relationship as well as your wallet. A study from Norwich Union entitled “Moving Apart” reveals that the biggest problem with couples buying their first homes is that they aren't accounting for all the financial and emotional costs of buying – straining their relationships in the process. The study reveals that almost 100,000 first time buyers have experienced problems with their partner thanks to the emotional stress of buying a home. Lack of planning was listed as one of the top reasons for this.
Jamie knows that buying a home can put you on an emotional roller coaster, whether it’s your first or whether you already have a home to sell. Because people are often confused or ill informed about what's involved in the process, his first priority is to de-mystify the process every step of the way – and to facilitate communication between house-hunting couples so that everyone is on the same page.
Avoid The Four Emotion-Driven Home Buying Mistakes
Avoid getting a ‘house crush’
Of course your feelings will be involved; your home should touch your emotional core in some way. But if your dream home doesn’t fall within your budget or meet some of your other needs, you've got to retain your ability to be objective. That house love will eventually fade and then you will own something that doesn’t really meet your needs.
Don’t lose control of your purchase
If your real estate agent is overly assertive, and keeps trying to put you in a neighbourhood where she thinks you should be rather than in one that you like, you’re losing control of your purchase. Or maybe your parents are offering you a monetary gift towards your downpayment… along with giving you their two cents on everything. Remember, this is your decision!
Don’t be indecisive
Do you really want to buy a house? Or, do you want to start a business? Travel the world? Stay home with the kids? Buying a home means making some tough decisions about how your life is going to look. If you’re just being indecisive on making an offer because you fear a better house at a better price will come along, remember: though there is more than one right house for you, it’s not wise to miss out on wonderful opportunities in the endless hope that maybe you can one day do better.
Never underestimate the responsibilities of homeownership
Renting is easy: you write one cheque a month, which might even include utility bills. But owning a house is more complicated: you've got to pay your mortgage, taxes, and insurance; keep up with needed repairs to avoid causing serious long-term damage to your home; and get your lawn mowed, driveway plowed, and gutters cleaned - or learn to do these things yourself.
Buying a home is a wonderful thing. It may take some time to make sure you are ready first. Taking the time to think through your purchase, and paying attention to your feelings throughout the process, will help you honestly evaluate where you stand.