August 24, 2017. By Ashley Agnew:

Taking the plunge from leasing or renting to purchasing a home is a defining time in one’s life.  The experience has the full thrill of being on a rollercoaster, with climbs of excitement and dips of anxiety.

The line is long just to board this ride, as you spend countless hours budgeting and make years of sacrifice to save for a healthy down payment.  If purchasing with a spouse, you may have also spent hours upon hours both fantastically constructing your perfect abode as well as discussing which compromises will need to be made.  How many bedrooms will your home need? Will the cost of your dream home include an extended commute to work? After your family is raised, will you retire in this home? With the big decisions made, it is time to put the discipline of your budget and strength of your compromises to the test as you begin the actual home search.

When taking part in open houses or showings, it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of the purchasing journey, overlooking key issues that may exist beyond the appealing aesthetics of the property.  Though it may be challenging, keep an open mind and look past the beautiful staging of the house to make sure that problems such as water damage, foundation issues, or improper ventilation aren’t present.  From showing to showing, swap off playing “devil’s advocate” vs. “salesman” with your spouse.  The role play can be fun and can help you make sure your rose-colored glasses are at a fair hue.  Once you settle in on a home, the exciting climb slowly approaches the top of the first hill as your first dip of anxiety comes quickly when you put an official offer on your first choice.

It is natural to feel simultaneous emotions at this time.  It is wonderful to imagine all the memories that could soon be made in your dream home, yet in the back of your mind there is a slight lingering remorse that you can’t quite verbalize.  Your relationship with the large amount of money that you are about to spend is an interesting one- it is not just made up of a weekly withdrawal from your paycheck; it is comprised of wedding gifts from loved ones, the car you didn’t buy, the residencies and internships you suffered through, and the opportunity to pay off lingering debts.  On top of this, your bank account is at now its best, but threatened by one word… “accepted”.  During this time, be honest and open with yourself and your spouse, recognizing it is ok to be scared for more reasons than just the fact that you will soon have the responsibilities of a homeowner.  Be real about your feelings, keeping in mind that you deserve to reach the goals that you work so hard for.

Once your offer is accepted, there are many moving parts before you are in the clear from your free fall.  The amount of paperwork and coordination necessary to complete the purchase is often underestimated.  Be sure to notify your financial advisor and banking representative that you are putting an offer in on a home so that they may assist with any necessary documents. Do not be discouraged if at the very moment you think you have submitted every signature and statement needed, the closing attorney asks for yet another rendition.  The mortgage company will also ask for statements confirming assets and income at the beginning of the process, and continue to request updated statements throughout at two additional stages.  Your advisors and bankers will be a big help during this time while you try to juggle your daily work and personal schedules. Exhausted from the exhilaration and the stress of it all, when your closing is complete you can breathe a sigh of relief and begin planning your move.

The stressors of home purchasing are very real but the process can be eased.  Here are a few survival tips to get you safely through the ride:

  • Be confident with your budget
    • Engage a professional financial planner. The money spent on a formal financial plan is a great investment to ensure that you don’t over commit to an unrealistic payment. A planner can also be a great help with walking you through the terms of your mortgage, and what loan options are best suited to support your other long term goals such as financing children’s education, home repairs, and personal retirement planning.
  • Research your destination
    • Looking in a certain town because you like the school system and safety ratings? Explore the social aspect too! During such a hectic time what better way to have a guilt-free date night than by checking out the best restaurant in your destination town? You will need this time away, and after all it is for the good of research.
  • Use a great realtor
    • A great realtor can make or break your experience. You will want to be matched with someone who truly understands your needs and respects your financial parameters.  Ask your trusted advisors for referrals. This article may be helpful during your interview process: 7 Tips for Hiring a Great Real Estate Agent.
  • Keep a journal
    • Journaling can be therapeutic during any stressful time, but during the home purchasing process reflecting can be a powerful tool to keep your confidence in line. While you are in constant communication with your realtor and other professionals all whilst juggling your everyday life, it can feel like you are barely treading water. Tracking your daily accomplishments and looking back at how successfully you tackled your “to-do” list can be very rewarding.  This can also be a place to brainstorm all of your decorating ideas and memories you’d like to make in your new home. In short, journaling can help keep your eye on the prize!

We have helped many of our clients through the home purchasing process and are able to assist as early as the question “should I rent or buy?” pops into your mind.  If you are a Centerpoint client considering a home purchase, do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding the process.