Buying a home can be a very emotional process but allowing those emotions to get the better of you can cause you to make any number of mistakes. Since buying a home has many far-reaching implications, from where you will live, to considering employment, travel time and school catchment areas, it’s important to ensure your emotions don’t cloud your rational decision making.
There are seven common emotional mistakes people can make when buying a home. Avoiding these pitfalls will help you find the best ‘home-sweet-home’.
Mistake 1: Falling in love with a house you can ill afford
You’ve fallen in love with a home. You start dreaming about how wonderful life would be if only you could live there: be it, the tree-lined street, the luxurious bathrooms, the spacious kitchen with professional-grade appliances, the incredible view etc. However, if you can’t afford that particular house, you’re just hurting yourself. To avoid the temptation to get in over your head financially, or the disappointment of feeling like you’re settling for less than you deserve, it’s best to clarify your finances before starting your search.
Mistake 2: Assuming There’s Nothing Better Out There
Even when you have a long list of ‘must-haves’ there are probably several homes out there which could meet your needs. If there are snags with the home you’ve decided you like – such as major repair issues, an inflexible asking price or a difficult conveyancing process – consider moving on. Being open to new possibilities may save you from making rash decisions you might later regret.
Mistake 3: Being Desperate
When you’ve been looking for a while, and you do not see anything you like — or worse, you’re missing out on the houses you do want – it’s easy to get desperate and then rush in. Remember, the transaction expenses to get rid of it will be costly. You’ll also deal with the inconvenience of moving yet again. If you decide not to move but to try to make the best of what you have, remember that alterations and renovations are expensive, time-consuming and stressful. If you have time on your side, it’s OK to wait until something that suits you comes along. As long as your demands are realistic for your budget, you are bound to find something you love.
Mistake 4: Overlooking Important Flaws
For any of the reasons already mentioned, you might be tempted to ignore major problems with the house that will be difficult, expensive or impossible to change. Carefully consider your options before you make a commitment and consider waiting until something better comes along. New houses come on the market every day.
Mistake 5: Overestimating Your Handyman Skills
Don’t buy a fixer-upper that’s more than you can handle in terms of time, money or ability. For example, if you think you can do the work yourself then realize you can’t once you get started, any repairs or upgrades you were planning to make will probably cost twice as much, once you factor in the work – and that may not be in your budget. Not to mention the costs involved to fix anything you may have started and the fees to replace the materials you have wasted. Honestly evaluate your abilities, your budget and how soon you need to move before purchasing a property that isn’t move-in ready.
Mistake 6: Rushing to Put in an Offer
In a hot market, it may be necessary to pull the trigger very quickly if you find a home you like. However, you must balance the need to make a quick decision with the need to make sure the home will be right for you. Don’t neglect important steps like making sure the neighbourhood feels safe at night as well as during the day and investigating possible noise issues like a nearby train. Ideally, you’ll be able to take at least a night to sleep on the decision. How well you sleep that night and how you feel about the home in the morning will tell you a lot about whether the decision you’re about to make is the right one. Taking the time to consider the decision also gives you a chance to research and offer an appropriate price.
Mistake 7: Dragging Your Feet
It’s a tough balancing act to make sure you make a careful decision, but don’t take too long to make it. Losing out on a property that you were almost ready to make an offer on because someone beat you to it can be heart-breaking. It can also have economic consequences. Let’s say you are self-employed. Perhaps for you more than anyone else, time is money. The more time and energy you have to take out of your normal activities to search for a house, the less time and energy you have available to work.
The Bottom Line
It’s natural for emotion to come into play in the home-buying process. Buying a house is a big decision, but this is exactly why you need to ensure you are making rational choices, rather than getting wrapped up in the notion of a dream home. In short, when it comes to buying a new home, slow down, overcome your emotions and, ultimately, make a home-purchase decision that’s good for both your feelings and your finances.