When that rent check leaves your bank account every month, you feel a little lighter in the wallet and a bit emptier inside. Each month, that money goes into your landlord’s pocket, pays down their principal, helps them increase their net worth and you get what? A roof over your head that hasn’t been updated since the Reagan administration and neighbors that don’t seem to realize that 2 am is not the time to crank up their favorite music.
No, you’ve had it! It’s time to buy your own house and have some control over your living space.
Spend Some Time Soul-Searching Before You Pre-Qualify
Anyone who tells you that buying and owning a house isn’t a deeply emotional experience is someone who has never done it. People become strangely attached to their homes, experiencing deep heartbreak when a contract falls through at the last minute while feeling almost rapturous when they finally close the deal and sign on the dotted line. There’s a huge emotional and social component to homeownership, but no one ever talks about it.
What even drives us to buy? Two main things: an urge to increase our social standing and a hope to give ourselves some kind of financial security. Theoretically, right? At the end of the day, that’s what it amounts to. In some economies one or both of those may be on pretty shaky ground, but they’re always beneath it all. Before you get there, let’s do a reality check.
Reality Check: Are You Really Ready?
You’re qualified, you’re flush with cash, but you may or may not be really ready to buy a home. After all, these are untested waters for you. It’s not as if no one has gone this way before, plenty have and even lived to tell the tale. But for you to really get off on a good foot, you should dig deep and make sure you have these items in check:
Wanderlust. Think of buying a house a little like getting a tattoo. It’s not a thing that’s easily undone. Even if you just walk away, you have a foreclosure hanging over your head for years and years, your credit’s damaged, you could even owe some balance from the sale of that house (depending on the local laws). If you have wanderlust left in you, get it out now. Go live in Nepal while you can, because once you buy, you’re going to have to live in it for a while. That’s not to say you can’t visit Nepal, but you can’t stay around for months on end once you have a mortgage that has to be paid.
Emotional Maturity. Living in a neighborhood with people you can’t easily move away from also requires a bit of emotional maturity. The guy across the street may drive you nuts because he loves bright, annoying Christmas lights. Don’t punch him in the face, just hang some blinds. In addition, learn to tame your inner worrier. All houses have problems, every single one, even the brand new ones. So when you notice that the air conditioner’s condensation line is backed up, take a deep breath and get to flushing it or call in a pro. In short, don’t panic, there’s a solution to everything.
Career Security. All jokes aside, it’s really very important that your career is fairly secure before you jump into a mortgage that’s 30 years long. If you hate what you do or you’re not really sure you want to do it over the long term, you may not want to commit to a mortgage just yet. Maybe wait until you get that first year under your belt and see if what you learned in class is anything like what the field really is in practice. If you would need to return to school or move out of state to find a new opportunity, it could be very difficult while trying to maintain a mortgage.
Relationship Security. Is your relationship really sure enough to be buying a house with that person? This is on the level of having a child with someone, it’s a huge financial commitment and one that could obliterate you for years and years if things soured quickly. Whether you’re married or not, make sure this person is one you can count on for the rest of the term of that loan, as romantic as that notion may be. You’re in this mortgage together, make sure it’s an equal partnership.
These are really important parts of your life to examine before you decide to buy a house. It also helps to be a good saver and a little handy (or at least brave enough to try to fix the small stuff). Not every problem will be one you can handle on your own, but you should at least be able to stabilize your issue so it doesn’t get worse before you call the experts in!
If you’re thinking about buying, call us today! We’ll get you on your way to becoming a homeowner!
Conrad Smith – Owner
Your Real Estate Consultant
REALTOR®, BOLD, EcoBroker, CNE, CHRE, ILHM, KW Luxury
Professional Denver Real Estate for the Urban at Heart