A recent study conducted in the US found that 33% of the home buyers surveyed admitted that the process of buying a home reduced them to tears on more than one occasion. 38% said that they found the process to be one of the most stressful things that had ever been through, with that figure rising by 10% among first time homebuyers. And, based on what we’ve seen, the same is often true of Canadian homebuyers. And home buying stress sucks.
Whether this is far from your first time buying a home or you are one of those green first timers there is no doubt that buying a home comes along with a certain amount of stress that’s hard to avoid. It’s a process that involves a lot of strong emotions and the purchase itself is one of the biggest most people will ever make. If you are not buying a home alone there are usually disagreements to be solved and compromises to be made.
And even if the process appears to be going smoothly, it only takes one mishap to kill the deal. Your financing could fall through at the last minute, another buyer could come in with a higher offer, a home inspection could reveal hidden problems, or the appraisal could come in below the sale price, affecting your mortgage terms. That’s a lot of “coulds.”
No matter how hard you try, some stressors involved with of buying a house are simply beyond your control. However, there are ways you can minimize the home buying stress involved. Here’s a look at some of them.
Figure Out What You Want
Good real estate professionals are a lot of things, but we aren’t mind readers. If you do not figure out at the start of your home search just what you are looking for we are all going to spend a lot of time going to homes that just don’t meet your needs. However, if you can offer guidance and be a bit more specific about what your home ‘wants’ are we can be a huge help.
What would we like to know, in order to help you find that perfect home fast? As many of the following as possible would be great:
Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
- One-level or multi-level
- Type of exterior (wood, brick, or vinyl)
- Noise level in the community
- Practicality of the floor plan
- Desired square footage
- Type of housing (condo, townhouse, or single-family home)
- Distance from places of worship
- Distance to shopping and expressways
- Distance to work
- Age of the home
- Amount of maintenance required
- School districts
Try to Be Flexible
Even if you make that checklist we have to tell you that there really is no such thing as perfect house, unless you want to build it yourself on a piece of land that’s perfect, which is rare.
This will mean that you do have to be somewhat flexible. We certainly don’t suggest that you compromise on major requirements, but understand that it’s unlikely you’re going to find that carbon copy home of the one you’ve imagined.
Prioritize your wants and determine which features you can live without. Perhaps you want, ideally, a home with a big master suite, a remodeled kitchen, a laundry room, four bedrooms, a foyer, and a pool. The chances are a property meeting those exact specs is not something you’ll find very easily, but you can probably get most of it. Decide what’s most important to you and your family, and be reasonable with your requirements.
Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage Loan
Financing a property can lead to some serious headaches. You may feel that qualifying for a home loan shouldn’t be too difficult, but after careful review of your credit and income a lender may think otherwise.
It’s always best to get pre-approved for a mortgage before bidding on houses. If you were to fall in love with a property only to learn you’re ineligible for financing, it could leave you with a pretty sour feeling. Save yourself a lot of heartache and stress by putting all the financial pieces in place from the get-go. Plus, some sellers and agents choose – wisely – to work only with buyers who have been pre-approved by a mortgage lender.
Listen to Us (Please)
Yes, you can educate yourself on the basic home buying process, but unless you have a background in real estate, chances are that your real estate agent knows a lot more than you. You chose this person to help you find a house, thus it only makes sense that you listen to the advice you’re given. In other words, once you provide the destination, let your agent help get you there.
If, for example, your real estate agent recommends adding certain contingencies (conditions that have to be fulfilled before completion of the sale) to an offer, such as a requirement that the seller make a certain repair, or that the house meets a satisfactory home inspection, heed the advice – it can save you a lot of money, labor, and stress.
We’ll also usually discourage things like low-ball offers, because we know that this could potentially offend a buyer and ruin your chances of getting the property. Rather than fight your agent, trust that we know the industry. Remember, we don’t get paid until a sale closes, thus we have no reason to sabotage a deal.
Save Enough Cash
This is by far one of the most expensive transactions you’re ever going to make, so be sure you understand the cost of buying a house before taking the leap. You’re financing a large sum of money, and because of closing costs and other mortgage-related expenses such as earnest money deposits, home appraisals, and home inspections, if you run out of money mid-deal, you may have to pull out.
Yes, you can expect some stress when buying a house, but don’t lose sight of the fact that this is supposed to be an exciting time – not an occasion to lose sleep and have panic attacks and burst into tears – all of which were mentioned in that study we referenced at the start. By taking the time to figure out what you want, making the right financial preparations and working with a real estate agent you like and trust you can keep that stress to a minimum.