Buying a home is a major financial decision. There’s no doubt about it. You have to carefully consider your financial readiness, mitigate any potential loss in value if the housing market takes a turn, prepare for unexpected expenses (houses need care and feeding, too!) and, even after all that planning and preparation, homebuyers wake up in the middle of the night fearful they’ve made the wrong decision.
Let’s take a step back and really examine the most commonly expressed homebuying concerns, how to put them into perspective, and most importantly, how to put those fears to rest.
1. Fear #1 Loss in Property Value
No one wants to make a bad investment or feel like they’re owe more than their home is worth. Again and again, homeownership has proven to be one of the best ways to build financial wealth, but it’s a marathon and not a sprint. Market fluctuations aside, there are definite ways to mitigate any loss in property value.
Determining value is a complicated beast with lots of contributing factors, but where you decide to buy is completely within your control.
Choosing a home in an area of historically low crime, an abundance of cultural and lifestyle amenities and close proximity to public schools tends to tip the scale in your favor.
2. Fear #2 Maintenance Costs
You’ll never completely eliminate maintenance costs from the homeownership equation, but you can certainly minimize them!
Just like a used car has more potential for things to go clunk, an aging home might need repairs sooner than later. Systems in the home — heating, cooling, electrical, plumbing — will eventually require replacement. The good news is that a home inspection report will bring these to your attention BEFORE you buy and you can negotiate with the seller to take on the repairs, if immediately necessary, to keep the transaction moving forward.
Small repairs, if ignored, can become big headaches and major expenditures. Fix them early and you’ll save money in the long-run.
Of course, buying 100% new construction drastically reduces the likelihood of a major repair.
3. Fear #3 Buyer's Remorse
Buying a home is a big deal and rushing ahead to make a purchase can have lasting financial and personal implications.
If you want to avoid buyer’s remorse, go low-tech and write a list of everything your soon-to-be home must have — the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, size of lot and the like. These are non-negotiable. If a prospective home doesn’t fit the list of must haves, keep looking but a little compromise isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
4. Fear #4 Mortgage Payments
Plan, plan and plan some more.
When you’re meeting with one of our mortgage specialists, you’re going to get a very realistic look at just how much home you can afford within your current set of financial circumstances. Sound financial planning is a must. No one wants to get hit with an significant change in circumstances that impacts the ability to fulfill a monthly mortgage obligation, but setting up an emergency fund will help ensure that you’ll be able to make good on your debt — and that helps everyone sleep better at night.