USE YOUR HEAD, NOT YOUR HEART.
We are often asked, what is the biggest mistake we see homebuyers make? The truth is, it is when we see a buyer making decisions based on emotion rather than facts. Your house will be your oasis. You will be living here for a longer length of time than people usually rent for. The bottom line is, you have to be happy with the decision you make because it will have a lasting impact on your life.
Before we ever step foot in a house that is for sale, we spend a lot of time helping our clients sift through the wants and needs in order to help them define the goals they have tied to homeownership. Why? Well, believe it or not, we know that for most buyers, emotions are going to play a part in your decision making. One of the first articles you received from us, (“Getting on the same page”), was specifically created to help define the needs and wants that you are looking for in your home (also, how to get on the same accord with your spouse/co-buyer, if necessary). The idea is to determine what your minimum essential criteria are prior to looking at homes and then move on from that starting point. If you need three bedrooms, why look at a home with five? When you start thinking about all of the possibilities a new home can offer, it is easy to get distracted with features that you hadn’t considered before and your emotions can make them appear more important they truly are.
A swimming pool is a great example. For instance, let’s say you are looking for a three bedroom, two bathroom house with an open floor plan, a large kitchen, and a spacious backyard for your dogs. If your agent isn’t focused on helping you reach your goals, he may take you to a four bedroom, three bathroom house without an open floor plan but containing a spectacular pool. You know the kids would love the pool, you imagine the summertime barbecues and suddenly you realize you just spent an extra twenty thousand dollars on a house that has more bedrooms and bathrooms than you need while you cook dinner in a kitchen the size of a closet.
Believe us, it happens. The chef in the family falls in love with the kitchen that has an island and a breakfast bar, dad discovers a room that would make an awesome man cave, and the kids stumble across the playground that the previous owners had in the back yard. In the blink of an eye, you are trying to purchase a house that meets none or very few of your needs.
On another note, many times we show our clients a house that they fall in love with and they start to unpack in their mind. They start to think about where the furniture is going to go, what color the walls are going to be painted, and just how to set up that office/guest room to keep everyone happy. The problem is, there is a long way to go before the ink is dry. Even after a contract is accepted, there are still places within the transaction that a deal can fall apart. We have seen plenty of clients be disappointed because they loved a house, but were outbid in a multiple offer situation. Facts, priorities and goals are your best friend when house hunting.
Remember to always try and stay unbiased when deciding on which property to buy. When you buy a home, it should be about meeting your personal and financial goals first. This is one case in which you will want to use your head more than your heart.