This spring will mark the 10th anniversary of owning our own home. While I’ve grown to love my house, there are several things that I would have done differently if given the chance. Here is a list of five things I would advise myself to consider if I could go back in time.
You’ve saved the down payment, you know how many bedrooms you want, and you’ve been pre-approved by the bank. What are you waiting for? Doing your due diligence may take a lot of time, but remember this is something you will probably live in for 30 years or more. You don’t want to end up with a house you don’t like, or needs more home improvements than you’re prepared to make.
Don’t Get Pushed
It’s bad enough that you’ll have to reign in your own impulses when it comes to buying a home but outside forces may be just as strong in pushing you to buy. We initially invited close relatives to help us look for a home but they soon took over and were pushing my wife and me towards homes that were almost unlivable just to save some money. Well- meaning relatives may think they have your best interests in mind, but make sure they are YOUR best interests.
Do It Yourself?
Those home improvement shows on public television sure make fixing up your home look easy, don’t they? Paint schemes and wallpaper are one thing but it’s quite another to tear everything down to the studs and start over. Think about how much sweat equity you really want to put into a house to make it your own.
Listen to Other Homeowners
Often times we’re too close and emotionally involved in the situation to make a level headed decision. Step back and solicit opinions from friends and family about the properties you’re looking at. Many times the advice you get from people who’ve done it before can be a great reality check in making your decision.
Use Home Equity for the Home
Shortly after we moved in to our house, our roof started leaking and we weren’t able to tap into our home equity to have it replaced. Why? Because we used our equity to pay off some bills to try and lighten our monthly financial burden. Don’t use your equity to pay bills or take a vacation, save it for home improvements and unexpected home repairs.
Owning a house is a great feeling. Taking your time and choosing the house that best fits your needs and personality will make it a home.