So you have a dream about getting that mansion or dream home? It’s a good dream and dreams sometimes come true, but don’t let it blind you to the realities of the real world. You can have a dream home, but sometimes you have to make compromises and sacrifices, and also have the patience of a saint. Sometimes we can step into a house and find that it’s exactly what we want, we love it, but the costs are a little too high. We think we can sacrifice a little and it will be ok, but in doing that, you are opening the door to a nightmare. You will be far happier if you aren’t struggling to make the mortgage each month, and definitely a lot happier if they don’t foreclose on you as you can’t afford it. So here are a few things to think about before you buy that dream home.
Know what everything costs. Everything you are going to be spending, whether it is for appraisals, or for repairs. Know the exact numbers. Not knowing that something will cost 10 times more than you thought can be a large shock.
Make sure that you make a serious and accurate budget. One made with your head and not your heart. Make sure there is room in the budget for emergencies and expenses you did not expect. Make sure you can afford that dream house before you buy it.
Work in major repairs to your budget. Show things such as replacing the roof, or water heater, these all need to be amortized over time. Your roof might only need replacing every 20 years, but it’s such a huge expense that you should factor it in the monthly budget.
Before you even start looking at dream homes, have a loan pre-approved, and budget so you know that is exactly what you are willing to spend and no more. Do not let it get out of control for money.
The loan you can handle
Make sure that the loan is one you can handle. Don’t fudge the numbers and think you can do it if you live off noodles. Make it one that you can pay without pain. There are always going to be emergencies and extra money needed, so make sure that you don’t lose your dream house from one of those happening and not being able to afford the mortgage.
Understand why you are buying the house. Is it where you are going to live the rest of your life? Or is it where you are going to live for a few years until you can move to a bigger place. If it is your dream house, we will assume that is where you are staying. Make sure there is enough room for guests, family, babies, and anything else you might need in the future. Don’t think of now, think of future.
Head over heart
You can use your heart to see the houses and see what you love, but after that, you need to use your head like a penny-pinching accountant that loves nothing. The only way you are going to be happy is if you do the deal dispassionately. Don’t bend the rules as you love the place. Just make any place that you move into the one you love with the money you save not making a bad decision.
The house may be a dream house, but make sure the location is a dream location. It’s all very nice having a dream house, but if it’s in the middle of the desert and 2 hours’ drive from the market, it might not be such a great dream after a few years. If your looking to purchase property abroad make sure your have people on the ground to help!
One thing we have seen is people picking a dream house that is far away from family and friends. There is nothing wrong with this, as you can always make new friends, but if you want to keep the old ones, it is something to think about. If you are too far away, friends will visit you less and less. Just think of people you know that moved too far from you, how often do you see them anymore?
No matter what, get a full appraisal of your dream house. It might look like a Scottish castle on the outside, but the inside might have the same plumbing as when it was built a hundred years ago. Know what the real value of the house is, know what it’s worth. There is nothing wrong with paying more than market value if you are going to live there your whole life, but if you are going to be selling it, make sure you get the best price you can.
Make sure you buy the house with a reputable real estate agent. That’s not to say that your aunt’s cousin can’t do the deal, but make sure you also have a seasoned real estate agent on the team. They can steer you away from problems you might not have even known about.
Don’t take any shortcuts. Do you want to move in next week? Yeah, not going to happen if you are smart. Never sign an “as is” clause to speed up escrow unless your full appraisal is pretty solid. There are many things that can go wrong if you try and take shortcuts, so take the time. A few weeks now for the place you are going to stay decades just makes sense.
We have learned that it’s not so much the house that makes a dream home, as the people in it. A house is just a framework of a roof and walls. Of course, there are different layouts that we love or hate, based on our personality, but overall, just remember it’s you that is going to make it a dream home. You can change whatever you want to make it work. It is better to live within your budget and have a happier life than dream home you can’t afford.