Whether you’re becoming a homeowner for the first time or just looking for a new house, there’s something so appealing about imagining living in a new place.
The truth is buying a home can be one of the life’s most stressful events, especially in today’s hot atmosphere. While there is no way to make it entirely anxiety-free event, there are things you can do during the house hunting and buying process that will minimise your stress.
Determine your priorities
Before you even start looking for a home, identify your top 3-5 top priorities. These are items that you probably won’t want to compromise on. It might be the number of bedrooms, the distance from work, the type of neighbourhood, etc. If you’re co-investing with someone else, make sure your list of priorities matches.
Before you start looking for your dream home, you need to understand your price range, or you’re bound for disappointment. Getting “pre-qualified” or “pre-approved” is the process of working with your bank or mortgage lender to determine how much you can afford. Beware – these terms are not interchangeable! In today’s market, where buyers often have to act fast to get the home they want, getting pre-approved is the better option.
Start your search online
Urban home buyers start their home search online, and most buyers bought the home they had found online. By searching property sites or typing on search engines, you’ll get an idea of what kind of homes are for sale in your price range and desired location. There are also many online sources to help you learn more about a potential neighbourhood.
Work with a professional
If you want to reduce your stress during the home buying process, take some time to research potential real estate agents. A few qualities to look for – someone who has an online presence (indicating that they’re serious about the business); who is responsive and able to communicate via whatever medium you prefer (text, email, phone, etc.); who knows the area that you’re looking to live in; and who is on YOUR side (e.g., transparent). Buying a home is a complicated process, especially for a first time home buyer. Working with a competent professional will make the process go much smoother.
Make a checklist
Remember the list of priorities you created in the beginning? Here’s where you get to be more detailed. While some people will be happy if their primary desires are met, others have a list in mind of what their ideal house contains. Make a checklist of these desired features. As you look at houses online and start to visit in person, make a copy of your list for each home and tick off how many items that home fulfills. This is particularly useful if you visit several homes in one day as they will all start to blend after a while.
Keep an open mind
No matter your wish list, or even your main priorities, keep an open mind during the house hunt. On the other hand, don’t let anyone take you for granted, nor you compromise and regret it later. If you really need three bedrooms, don’t settle for two and think you’ll “figure it out” later. This is where you’ll have to trust your gut.
Be ready to move quickly
When you find a house that may be “the one,” there are several things you’ll need to do very quickly so you don’t lose the deal. If you decide to move forward, talk to your agent about making an offer and be sure he/she understands the urgency. Once the offer is made, respond immediately to any requests the agent has. Make sure you have all the paperwork handy that they’ll be needed to complete your loan.
Expect a rejection
When you finally reach the point of making an offer, you may be ready to celebrate! But don’t pop the champagne just yet. The seller still has to accept your offer and, in what has been deemed one of the hottest housing markets in a decade, the seller may have multiple offers to choose from. As you wait to hear back, it can reduce your anxiety to have a plan in place in case the seller counteroffers.
Hope for the best
If your offer on a home is accepted, congratulations! You can celebrate now – a little. There are still steps left in the home buying process – passing the home inspection and appraisal, getting a loan commitment, final walkthrough, and closing. Reducing stress during this phase is a matter of responding to any requests made to you as quickly and thoroughly as possible.