Buying a home is one of the most exciting and stressful milestones in life. It’s hard work, especially for first-time buyers. It can create pressure on your relationship as a couple, but it’s important to remember that you are doing it for your future. Learn how to navigate the housing market ahead of time and be prepared to cope with the stress to help ease this experience.
Tips On How to Navigate the Housing Market
Get pre-approved first
Before you start your search, you need to know your budget. When calculating costs, USA Today advises you set aside money for closing costs, moving costs, new purchases and potential renovations, in addition to your monthly mortgage payment.
Get pre-approved for a loan ahead of time. This not only helps get your paperwork in order so you are ready to make an offer when the time comes, but it also lets you see how much a lender will be willing to give you to properly set your budget. Mortgage pre-approval is free and nonbinding, so be sure to shop around.
Once your budget is set, you have to stick with it. This will keep you from being disappointed and limit fights.
Take Time to Plan
Once the paperwork is in order, take time as a couple to plan and prioritize. You probably have different ideas on what’s necessary for a home and should be ready to compromise according to HGTV. This includes the size, design, and layout of the home. Remember to keep the neighborhood in mind, too. Do you want good schools? Short commutes? Low property tax?
It’s a good idea for each of you to make a wishlist of what you’re looking for then set them side by side to rate features and come up with a single list. This will get you on the same page early on and help keep your emotions in check while shopping around.
Before you get out there, research the market to help set your expectations. People are often surprised at what they can afford, so be ready for a reality check. Your money might not stretch as far as you think.
The Stresses of the Search
Hiring agent to assist you removes a huge weight. If you’re nervous about the costs, don’t be. Buyer’s representation is free as the seller covers their commission. An agent is an expert in the process, who is familiar with the market and knows the red flags you may miss, can speed up your search and guide you through the closing paperwork. The right agent keeps your interests in mind.
That being said, be prepared to spend time searching. The average buyers spend six to eight weeks before they find the right home. It can be frustrating. Set aside time to destress and enjoy each other’s company. Plan a date night or watch TV together.
When you do finally find your perfect home, be ready to act fast—this is where having your paperwork done ahead of time comes in. Real estate is a fast moving market and it’s easy to miss out. If your offer is accepted, don’t go out and celebrate just yet. There is still room for negotiations and be sure to hire an inspector to make sure the house is in good shape.
Moving into Your New Home
Now that you’ve successfully bought your perfect home, it’s time to move in. While this comes with its own set of stresses, remind yourselves you’re almost at the end of the road.
Creating a moving checklist is a great way to keep yourself organized and minimize arguments. Be sure to sit down and assign tasks and don’t shy from asking for help. Friends and family can assist with packing, child care, food prep, and chores. There’s no need to do it alone. You can thank everyone later with a housewarming party.
The entire process of purchasing a home can be incredibly overwhelming. Being prepared for this daunting task by creating a plan to tackle it helps ease the anxiety. Remember to be patient, prioritize your health and relationship, and step away every now again.