I’ve begun the long arduous process of purchasing a home. Honestly as grueling as it’s been described it has truly been eye opening and dare I say it… FUN! No, combing Pinterest and Houzz for years and finally realizing that everything you’ve placed on your dream home board will remain a dream until you move up at least three tax brackets is not fun, but realizing that your home is not: its cost, the modern country kitchen or the amount of yard that you envision your little ones frolicking through merrily, but the matching of your resources and your needs, can make it not so bad. This especially when you are hoping to move from the apartment world to the home world. I’ve lived in apartments since I moved to NY and happily so. In a time where I was proud, happy and excited to pound the pavement, grass just seemed contrary to the achievement of my dreams. I needed time with the gritty city, and bodegas instead of bungalows to help me understand what real hard work was, and honestly what it was not.
Now having completed the toughest part of my home buying process with NACA I’m ready to grab the market buy it’s bullish horns and find myself a home. I don’t have everything about the process down pat, but honestly that’s another one of the home buying myths that they use to scare you out of the process. You dont have to know everything, but you do have to have a few solid things in order. I wont get into all of them here, but if you are the slightest bit interested here are a few things you should be at least vaguely familiar with.
- Credit Score and What’s on Your Report– Knowing what your score is and what is reporting is important for everyone, not just those looking to purchase a home. If nothing more than knowing the exact status of my credit report is achieved through out this journey, I will be happy. Take the time to print a copy of your report out and review it with whomever financial advise you trust. Is everything accurate? Anything reporting negatively?Late/judgement/not your account? Question everything and begin to fix anything that is not great. The sooner the better.
- What you can afford vs. What you want– Of course I want to start out with a five bedroom house, finished basement, three car garage, yard space and a nice deck but that ain’t a starter home at all. Starter homes and forever homes are two drastically different things with two drastically different prices. Make a list of everything you want in your home, spend time on realtor.com or zillow.com and look around, because what you want and what you can afford for most of us is two very different things. Apron sinks and dog showers and even footed bathes aside, what does the structure of your home have? Is it worth the investment, and how can it benefit you when it’s time to sell and buy that property with the pool.
- Remodeling/Rehabbing Takes Longer Thank A Commercial Break!– If your’e anything like me you’ve probably watched a few too many HGTV specials that make you think that buying a home and rehabbing it is a breeze. Not entirely true. Remodels take lots of money, lots of work, and just when you think you’ve got it all planned out, here comes a money wrench to ruin your plan. If the price is low, there’s probably tons of work that needs to be done, and we ain’t talkin’ old carpet and a coat of paint always. I can’t tell you how many properties I’ve fallen in love with that show only one picture and have no planned open house events scheduled. Decide your maximum budget and talk reno with your financial folks up front. Know someone who’s renovated recently. Take them out for a coffee and ask them allllll the questions your inquiring mind can come up with. It may scare you, but it will only help you!
- What your purpose in buying is– Initially I simply wanted to stop paying New York rent and start investing in something I would get to own for myself. But as I understood what that was beyond a mortgage payment amount, I started thinking a little differently, a little more with the future in mind, and with a little more business savvy. I’m glad I came to my own personal senses and realized that a one bedroom coop was just not what I really needed given my other goals. Take into account if you will be living alone, spouse, family members or otherwise. Will you be growing your family in the next few years? Will you be able to afford the mortgage if the shit hits the fan.
I learn something new about home buying everyday of this process but ultimately find it adventurous and exhilarating. You’ll smile, you’ll cry, but best of all you’ll learn so much about yourself that you will be happy you made the choice! Best of luck to anyone going through this process, and if you have let the thought cross your mind go after it and prepare yourself for when you are actually ready! It can’t hurt!