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Jul
26

Our House

Our house is a very, very, very fine house with two cats in the yard, Life used to be so hard,
Now everything is easy …… (Crosby, Stills and Nash)

Recently, I overheard a conversation between a father and son. The son was think of buying a house, and they spent the entire conversation only on money issues. While money issues are obviously important, there are more issues. This made me think that while buying a house is a grueling process taking from days up to a few months, or maybe even years, numerous first-time buyers make mistakes that can be easily avoided. Here are a number of issues to think about:

• Letting your emotions control your decisions! Buying a house can be a long and frustrating process. These days, starter houses go quickly, and it’s common for first-time buyers to experience rejection on the first offers they make. In this kind of environment, it’s easy to fall in love with a house that’s out of your budget, or get caught up in the heat of a bidding war and end up paying more than you expected. “It’s OK to get excited when you think you’ve found your house, but you don’t want to put yourself in a bad spot,”

• Being Too Picky! Go ahead and put everything you can think of on your new house wish list, but don’t be so inflexible that you end up continuing to rent for significantly longer than you really want to. First-time buyers often have to compromise on something because their funds are limited. You may have to live on a busy street, accept outdated decor, make some repairs to the house, or forgo that extra bedroom. Of course, you can always choose to continue renting until you can afford everything on your list. You’ll just have to decide how important it is for you to become a house owner now rather than in a couple of years.

• Lacking Vision! Even if you can’t afford to replace the hideous wallpaper in the bathroom now, it might be worth it to live with the ugliness for a while in exchange for getting into a house you can afford. If the house otherwise meets your needs in terms of the big things that are difficult to change, such as location and size, don’t let physical imperfections turn you away. Besides, doing house upgrades yourself, even when you have to hire a contractor, is often cheaper than paying the increased house value to a seller who has already done the work for you.

• Being Swept Away! Minor upgrades and cosmetic fixes are inexpensive. If you’re on a budget, look for houses whose full potential has yet to be realized. Also, first-time buyers should always look for a house they can add value to, as this ensures a bump in equity to help you up the property ladder.

• Compromising on the Important Things! Don’t get a two-bedroom house when you know you’re planning to have kids and will want three bedrooms. By the same token, don’t buy a condo just because it’s cheaper when one of the main reasons you’re over apartment life is because you hate sharing walls with neighbors. It’s true that you’ll probably have to make some compromises to be able to afford your first house, but don’t make a compromise that will be a major strain.

• Not Thinking About the Future! It’s impossible to perfectly predict the future of your chosen neighborhood, but paying attention to the information that is available to you now can help you avoid unpleasant surprises down the road. What kind of development plans are in the works for your neighborhood in the future? Is your street likely to become a major street or a popular rush-hour shortcut? Will a highway be built in your backyard in five years? What are the zoning laws in your area? Is there is a lot of undeveloped land? What is likely to get built there? Have house values in the neighborhood been declining?

Once you have found your dream house, and you have avoided many of the first-time buyers mistakes, then it is time to call you attorney before you sign and contract obligations.