Many people seek a glimpse of their future by looking at houses, both online and in person. Whether landscapes, cozy rooms, colors, textures, proximity to work, potential for activity, or other features, our home is the center of our world.
A Home is More Than a House
When we look at houses in pictures or fancy model homes, we are actually looking at other peoples’ ideas of home. The images can captivate and inspire emotion and feelings that we want to preserve; climb into. Creating spaces that extend these feelings for a lifetime is the goal – and it requires a lifetime of acquiring and installing features, fixtures, and furniture to achieve it.
If you have unlimited time and financial resources, then you will receive immediate satisfaction from your home-making experience. If not, here are a few activities to enjoy before you start your search for a new residence:
- Make a list of all of the items you will need to buy (and the approximate cost) when you close on your new home. Include such items as lawn maintenance equipment, silverware, dishes, furniture, bathroom gear, pictures and wall ornamentation, shelving, etc.
- Create a simple household budget and include a line item “Home Maintenance” of $200/mo. (download sample)
- Make note of how much money you are currently setting aside for savings based on your current level of expenses.
- Draw a line chart of how your income is projected to increase over the next 5 years. (Be conservative)
- Calculate how much you are willing to pay for “rent”.
Once you have all of those items, you’ll have a good idea of what home prices you should consider. If you start looking at the low end of your range, you’ll have a better chance of avoiding the mistake of over-buying. Lenders don’t consider a person’s quality of life, only whether they will be “able” to make the mortgage payment. This should be a concern to every buyer, and inspire a series of conversations with trusted advisors before making any real decisions.
Expectations can lead to disappointment if we rely too much on our emotions to make big decisions like a home purchase. Our brains are very good at rationalizing and we will literally convince ourselves that “we can handle it”, leading to a short honeymoon and an agonizing list of monthly expenses. Avoid stalling your dream in your first few steps by having several conversations with a certified Home Loan Advisor™. Our advisors are skilled at helping you understand both what you can and what you should do when considering a house purchase. There is no cost to these consultations, and we often spend several hours with a person before they start working with a real estate agent.