3. MANAGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS
Many frustrations in life happen when something goes differently than what we expected. The same holds in Real Estate. When you begin your home search, think about your lifestyle- what you have and need now, and what you’ll want and need in your next home. And when will that be? How long do you plan to live in the home you are considering purchasing…and what possible life changes can occur….and will this home still be a good fit?
A prime example- you are newly married and don’t have any kids (yet), so that 3 bedroom 1 bathroom home seems perfect! But then you end up having a family member move in with you for a few months, and that single bathroom seems a bit small. And now you are pregnant, with twins! That’s not to say that a 3 bedroom 1 bathroom home isn’t something you should ever buy, it’s saying that you need to manage your expectations of that space. While it might work great right now, there will likely be a point in the future in which you’ll want to either add that 2nd bathroom, or consider upsizing into a larger home that will better suit your family’s needs. If you only plan to live in that home for 4-5 years, to use as a stepping stone to get into a larger home….that’s great! But not having that forethought can make for a very frustrating experience down the road.
Another example- you have been looking online for a while, searching for the perfect home. You find it, you call a Realtor to see the home, and you instantly fall in love. BUT, you haven’t met with a lender yet, so you don’t know if you can really even afford the home. But it’s PERFECT!!! You have to have it! You had an expectation that you could find a home online and go see it and buy it. The reality is, without loan pre-approval, you can’t even make an offer on the place! Loan pre-approval is really THE FIRST STEP in finding the home of your dreams.
4. READ THE FINE PRINT
Before you make an offer on a home, read the fine print. Er, do your due diligence.
For example- if the home you are considering is within a Homeowners Association, are you aware of the Conditions, Covenants and Restrictions? What color can you paint your house? What color can you NOT paint your house? Can you park a trailer in your driveway? Do they restrict where you can store your trash can? Can you convert part of your garage to a laundry room or office? Will the HOA allow you to rent out your home if you need to relocate due to your job (but don’t quite want to sell your home)?
What are the HOA dues and what do they include? How will that impact your monthly payment?
You also need to read the fine print on your mortgage- can you pay it off early? Will your payments go up if the rate goes up? Will you need to pay Mortgage Insurance? This is all part of managing your expectations as well!