Yes, Buying a Home is Stressful (Too)
Relocating can come with a wave of emotion, beyond the general stress of getting your finances in order and taking the time to find the right home. The stresses of moving may hit in different stages based on your needs and current situation, and a lot of that stress can come specifically from buying.
It’s no secret that selling your home can come with its stressors, but buying a home is stressful too, especially in a seller’s market. Although getting the right home might take a little more time and effort given the current market, there are some things you can do to make the process a little easier.
You’re Not Alone
First of all, understand that everyone feels this way. Buying a home is a big decision, and not one to take lightly. There are plenty of things to consider and a hefty financial investment. Knowing you aren’t the only one experiencing the specific type of stress that comes with moving might bring some comfort. In fact, in a survey by Study Finds, two in five people considered it “the most stressful event in modern life.”
It’s important to remember that in a seller’s market, when homes are being snatched up quickly, the stakes—and stress—are even higher. And though it may not seem like it at the time, staying calm and taking your time will pay off in the long run.
A Seller’s Market
Put simply, a seller’s market is when there is low supply and high demand. We’re seeing this in a lot of products right now, but especially properties. With a shortage of homes for sale, it makes it harder to buy a house because they are selling as soon as they hit the market. This means that there is a lot of competition. A buyer might need to pay more than they planned for a house they really want, or compromise on something that might not be their “dream house.”
The best way to buy in a seller’s market is to have a solid plan in place before you start looking and to be prepared that things might move quickly. If the first house you like goes fast, don’t panic, this is normal in a seller’s market.
Making a Plan
Finding a “dream home” is stressful in and of itself because it can leave one wondering if that’s really possible. Is there really a “perfect home” for everybody? Oftentimes, it takes a little thinking outside the box to find what is really right for you or your family. There might not be an ideal home right away, but keeping an open mind about how to transform a space or make adjustments can be crucial to finding your fit. Remember to be flexible when coming up with a plan and realize that though each home might not be perfect, you still have an opportunity to make a purchase that is a good decision.
That said, it’s helpful to figure out what your deal breakers are. Or, on the flip-side, what are you willing to compromise on? Whether it’s the neighborhood, a looser budget, or certain physical aspects of your new home, being able to compromise is going to make your experience a bit easier. Do you absolutely need 3 bedrooms, a pool, 2-car garage, certain fixtures and appliances, or do you just want them? Putting some thought into this ahead of time can make a big difference in what you’re willing to consider and open up your options.
Flexibility and compromise can be a huge advantage when it comes to buying in this kind of market. Beyond physical aspects of houses, the more you can be flexible on timing, the less stressful it will be. With timelines that are out of your control, like waiting to hear back on an offer, be patient during times of uncertainty.
Setting a Budget
Falling in love with a house you simply can’t afford can be devastating and looking all over the place can often leave you overwhelmed with a sense of defeat. Many buyers find themselves outside of their original budget pretty quickly. That’s why making a strict plan on how much you are willing and able to spend will come in handy.
In some cases, stretching your budget on a house might be necessary to get what you really want and be careful of buying at the top of your budget. Although a lot of people may be waiving contingencies, a house is not going to come without added costs.
Inspections will end up uncovering things that need to be fixed - and therefore will cost money beyond the sales price. It’s better to factor in these costs ahead of time because although waiving contingencies might get your offer accepted, it could put you in a world of hurt if you’re stuck in a money pit you paid top dollar for.
Setting a budget is one of the most important parts of buying a home but what’s even more important–staying within that budget. Staying well within your budget allows you to change and fix up the house to make it yours. Teaming up with an agent can alleviate some of that stress of finding places that fit within your price range and your needs.
Getting Finances In Order
One way to get ahead of the game is to get all of your finances in order before you even start the process of looking. That way, when the perfect house comes along, you’ll be prepared and have every reason to make an offer right away.
So what do we mean when we’re talking about finances? First of all, in addition to saving for a down payment, check on the state of your credit. If your credit is less than perfect, work on upping your score. Every point will count when looking for a lender. Start by looking into the credit score requirements needed to see what you should aim for.
Getting pre-approved for a home loan can prepare you to make an offer as soon as you’re ready. In order to get pre-approved, you’ll need to formally submit financial documentation to a mortgage lender to provide an estimate of the loan amount and interest rate you’ll receive. This gets factored into your budget in order to better understand what you can afford. It also lets sellers know you’re serious about your offer.
Teaming Up With An Agent
With all this stress, why add more by doing it alone? Dealing with all of the moving parts that go into buying a home gets overwhelming fast, so teaming up with an agent sooner rather than later can end up having a big role in your experience.
When you’re working with an agent, they can often let you know about homes that are about to be listed, giving you an advantage over the competition. This advantage can make all the difference when you’re in a seller’s market.
From searching for homes to negotiating with sellers, an agent has the experience and knowledge of the market that can be really valuable to your overall buying process. Finding the right agent you can trust can turn your experience from stressful to exciting.
Buying For The First Time
Being a new buyer is already a lot to take in, there’s a lot to learn about such a big life event and investment. But there are pros to being a new buyer, the flexibility of timing and not having to worry about selling are a huge asset for first-timers.
For some people with the flexibility of timing, it might even be smart to consider waiting until the market settles down. Depending on your living situation, use being a new buyer to your advantage when it comes to making offers.
Dealing With Displacement
In most cases, buying a house also means selling a house. With this market, houses are selling quickly and at high prices, which is good if you’ve got a house to sell! However, this does mean that if you sell a house too quickly into the process of moving, you might need to figure out where to stay when looking for a house.
To avoid the added stress of finding a temporary place to live, have measures in place in case your house sells quicker than you thought it would. Or, start the buying process before you list so that you don’t have to deal with displacement for too long of a period.
Making Time For You
Yes, buying a home is stressful, so at the end of the day, make sure to be kind to yourself. This process as a whole can be daunting at first and emotionally draining throughout. It’s important to find ways to rest and do some self-care while you go through it. Whether it be taking a break from scrolling through listings, comforting yourself after a loss, or just reminding yourself to be patient throughout the process, taking care of yourself is crucial.
Overall, focus on the things you can control, like getting pre-approved, and be flexible with the things you can’t. And contact an agent. The realtors at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties are prepared to take some of the stress out of the process so you can focus on the excitement of buying a new home.
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