Buying a house is a big deal #710

#710 in a series of true experiences in real estate

From the start, some buyers are excited and bubbly. They can hardly wait to get out there and find what will become home. Other people are more serious. They look at buying as a project.

Because the buying of a house is big. Buying a house means being responsible – both for money and for choices. A lot of a buyer’s future life will be shaped by what he chooses and how much he pays.

The money part of buying has sub-parts, some of which are apparent: What is affordable? What can I buy, make the payments on, and still have money for food (and maybe even a vacation)?

There are less obvious parts: Should I lock in my loan? Will prices hold or will I pay too much if I buy now?

Selecting can be difficult, too. Almost every buyer is disappointed by what he can buy. It doesn’t seem to matter whether he is looking for a $700,000 house or one for $1.5M, the houses he can afford are too small or too needy, they have no yard or view or privacy – or something.

Because of this, almost everyone reaches for the highest possible price. Everyone wants to get the best they can.

As the price goes up, money worries get bigger and are easily extended to repairs and to wishes. How long do roofs last? When my roof leaks, where will I get the money to fix it? If we redo the kitchen counter tops and buy a new dishwasher, how much will it cost?

For many first-time buyers, there are parents to worry about, especially when they have loaned or given money to their kids so they can buy. Getting parents who live in an area where $250,000 buys 4 bedrooms and acreage to believe Bay Area prices can be a trick. And buyers often feel the need to impress their parents with their good taste and business acumen.

Every buyer wants to make a smart investment, to buy in a neighborhood that other people find appealing, a place that is safe to come home to at night, where walking in the evening is pleasant. Everyone worries about quiet and good neighbors. In other words, buyers hope that the house they buy will be a good place to live and will also be worth more when they want to sell.

Sooner or later, looking at houses results in concentrating on a particular one. “I may not buy it,” says the buyer, “but this one is worth looking at more closely.”

Now generic worries become case specific. “Does the sun hit the kitchen in the morning? Is the room off the bedroom cold in winter? Is the foundation strong? What about the water pressure in this house?”

“How much – altogether – will it cost in down payment and closing costs? How much every month to live here – including utilities and insurance?”

We’ve known a couple of people who became so paralyzed by their fears once they were concentrating on a specific house, so frightened that they wouldn’t be able to make it all come out right, that they stopped dead.

Even though they thought that buying a house was what they wanted very much, and even though this particular house fits most of their dreams, they did not buy it, because they couldn’t.

Well, now that we’ve got you worried, what should you do? Are you going to be paralyzed?

Probably not. But what if you are? Then you won’t buy a house.

If you want a house of your own, if you have enough money, chances are good that you’ll make it happen. You’ll get past your buying worries and enjoy the relief. “At least it’s done. Right or wrong, I bought it.”

The house you buy won’t be perfect, but you’ll make it work. You’ll repair the porch, or you won’t. You’ll learn to cook on an electric stove, or you’ll manage to get a gas one.

You will do what every good-thinking homeowner does. You will find your favorite parts and be glad. You will go out and buy a metal rack for your pots and pans, and you’ll start cooking.

Your little kitchen will be crowded when friends are standing around watching and talking, which will be fine, cozy and good.

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