WRITTEN BY JAYMI NACIRI
The kitchen makes your stomach do that roller coaster thing and the master bath is so pretty it should be on the cover of How to seduce a homebuyer magazine. It’s hard to ignore the pretty stuff when you’re home shopping. The trick is not getting distracted by the pretty stuff and ignoring the important stuff. You can take yourself out of the house hookup land and help avoid falling for the wrong home by asking yourself these questions during your home search.
Is it a keeper?
If you’re looking for a long-term relationship with your home, you should have some non-negotiables. Perhaps you would never consider marrying someone who was rude to service people or didn’t share your political views. When it comes to your forever home (or at least your “for the foreseeable future home”), making a list of absolute must-haves can help you stay on track. They’ll probably include location, price, and home size, but getting even more specific (perhaps you need to be in a certain school district but are willing to compromise on the type of architecture) is even better.
Is there any substance behind your emotional attachment
You walk into a restaurant to meet your date, and before you even sit down, you’re a goner. Is it the eyes, the smell? Some cosmic thing at work? Love at first sight? Who knows.
You walk into a house that seems like nothing special, and before you’re even passed through the hallway, you’re a goner. What’s at play here? Is it some reminder of a home from your childhood, maybe? Who knows. But now you’ve got it bad, and you have to have that house. Time to get real with yourself, because falling for a person – or a home – and going on emotions alone typically doesn’t end well.
“Buying a home is a very emotional process, but if you allow those emotions to get the best of you, you may fall prey to a number of common home buyer mistakes,” said Investopedia. “Since buying a home has many far-reaching implications – ranging from where you will live to how hard it will be to make ends meet – it’s important to keep your emotions in check and make the most rational decision possible.”
Is it too much of a project?
We’ve all heard of the project person – you know, a guy or girl that could be great with just a little (or more than a little) work. A project house could be even more alluring. Seriously, who doesn’t love the idea of a fixer-upper these days? But, you need to know your limits, says Bob Vila.
“Don’t overestimate your abilities. Determine if the house you like needs work,” they said. “Then assess whether you’re really capable of doing it.” It’s also a good idea to properly estimate the post-renovation potential with help from your real estate agent. “Make sure that if you can’t do the work, you get estimates before you buy the house so you know what you’re getting into. If the cost of the house plus the renovations will put the home’s value significantly above others in the neighborhood, it’s probably not the best investment – or you may need to scale back the renovations.”
What are its friends like?
You can tell a lot about someone by their friends, and the same is true of homes. If the home you’re looking at is fixed up and well-taken-care-of, but the rest of the neighborhood is eh, that could be reason to walk away. “Before making an offer on that picture-perfect home, take a look at the surrounding houses. If they’re all in disrepair – or just obviously less nice than the one you’re considering – you might be buying the most expensive house in the neighborhood,” said Realtor.com. Their three reasons include: 1) “When it comes time to sell, unloading the priciest home on the block will be a challenge. 2 ) A home is an investment – and the best investments have the most room for improvement. Ideally, you’ll be adding to the home during your ownership, building equity in hopes of a payoff when you (eventually) sell. 3) You can’t bet on the neighborhood to improve.”
What are they not telling you?
Yes, there are seller disclosures, but they’re only going to tell you so much. Have you checked out the neighborhood in terms of crime statistics, sexual offenders nearby, and any big plans for the neighborhood or surrounding area that could affect your home value or lifestyle? Just like you might Google someone you meet on Tinder (Come on, we all do it!), do the same with any home you are considering.
Are they dating someone else?
It’s human nature to want someone who is wanted by someone else. Seeing a lot of interest in a particular home may affect you similarly, and you may find yourself pressing for a home because it’s in high demand. Are you just trying to “win,” or do you really want the house?
Conversely, a home that’s seemingly unpopular because it’s been on the market for a while can have the opposite effect on us. Don’t let a good one get away just because it hasn’t already been snapped up by someone else. In either case, refer to your list of must-haves to remind yourself of those things that are really important to you before making a move.
Does it have good character?
This is obviously important when looking for a relationship partner. But, to many people, it’s also an important factor when buying a home. You can get waylaid by a great figure or physique just like you can a huge backyard or a gourmet kitchen and ignore something that was key on your must-have list. As it relates to your home, you can always add crown molding or vintage fixtures. But new construction may never have the feel of an older home, if that’s what you’re into.