There’s not an ounce of doubt that today’s home buyers know how to prepare for the house hunting process—especially in a market where competition is tight. Very seldom will you find a home buyer who isn’t pre-approved, and most savvy buyers are sure to have everything else sorted out financially.
A well-informed buyer will have a fixed budget, a sizeable down payment at hand, and even extra money to use just in case the bidding war gets vicious.
However, there are a lot of minor inconveniences that most buyers fail to anticipate, and you’d be surprised how much people develop so much unnecessary stress over things that could have easily been prevented. Buying a house is an emotional process, and it’s difficult to keep your emotions in check at all times. But don’t worry--the following tips will help keep you sane throughout this crazy and exciting time:
1| Be on the same page about everything.
Whether you’re buying a house as newlyweds or as a family, be sure that you’re all on the same page about what you NEED and WANT in a home. It’s easy to say that you’ll know what you want when you see it, but this is actually a terrible idea when it comes to buying property.
You’ll be attending a lot of viewings, and will have to keep your enthusiasm at bay for each house you look at. If one family member gets overly excited about a house with five rooms, and you, on the other hand, have already decided on a house with just four--it won’t look good to the seller if you argue about it while you’re touring the house.
You can leave room for compromise, but be sure to discuss the non-negotiables before going on a house hunt.
2| Start your search online.
You can save yourself a lot of time and legwork when you start looking for your dream home online. In no way does this compare to looking at the actual homes in real life, but at least you can instantly narrow down your search to those that are within your price range. According to the NAR 2016 Profile of Buyers and Sellers, nearly a half of all home buyers bought a home that they first saw online. Looking at homes online can also be a way of minimizing arguments during the actual viewing!
3| Encourage healthy conversations.
Of course, no matter how much you try to come up with a criteria for the house you want, you’re still likely to come across some features that you could never have predicted prior to the viewing. The key is to be prepared to make unexpected decisions by knowing how to lead productive conversations.
For example, instead of flat out dismissing your spouse’s interest in a bigger-than-expected garage, find out if you can make this space work for you as well. If you like the color of the walls and the kids don’t, present a scenario in which you repaint their rooms in the color of their choosing. Be open to suggestions and make every discussion a productive one. Think in terms of possibilities instead of limitations--but be sure to think within your budget.
4| Let your agent do the talking on your behalf.
You were wise enough to hire a professional to help you navigate the home buying process. The only thing you need to do now is to trust him/her to represent you.
Real estate agents are trained communicators, and they’ll know how to voice out your concerns without offending the seller or putting your offer in jeopardy.
Buyers are encouraged to consult with their agents regarding technical matters of the sale, and it is the job of the agent to help buyers come up with a solid plan that would lead to a successful closing. Keep in mind, though, that you must always be in control of your own purchase. Don’t let your agent lead the way entirely. Your agent’s job is to guide you and present you with options, and not to take over the home buying process.
Do your own research, know what you want, and talk to your agent when you’ve set clear priorities. This way, you won’t end up with a house that your agent decided on for you.
5| Practice acceptance.
Be at peace with the possibility of you not getting the first home you fall in love with. When you find yourself caught in a bidding war for a house, learn to let go when you know that there’s no way you could win without breaking the bank. In such cases, it’s better to accept defeat and move on.
It may be hard to believe this when you’re still mourning the loss of your dream home, but trust us: There will always be a better house for you.