Best Home-Hunting Advice: Don’t Fall in Love with the House

A lot of people treat home buying like dating. They find the right match. They have an ‘ideal’ in mind. And they fall in love at first sight. While it’s indeed important to land on a house that fits your lifestyle and ticks off all the boxes on your wish list, it might be a little problematic if you let ‘falling in love’ rule your decisions. Your emotions aren’t exactly the most trustworthy guide when it comes to big, expensive life choices. Contrary to what your loved ones and friends say, don’t ever follow your heart when buying your next home. Use your head — ask yourself these questions to weigh your decisions more rationally:

Am I making the right compromises?

Compromises are inevitable when buying a home, precisely because there’s no one house that would satisfy all your needs and wishes. There’s a property that has all the amenities you want, but it comes with a hefty price tag. There’s one that’s under budget, yet it doesn’t have the open floor plan or the big kitchen your huge family needs. And then there’s that one where you just feel good as soon as you enter the front door, but it just doesn’t match your family’s personality and lifestyle. Before you accept that hefty price tag or that lack of huge space, ask yourself why you’re making such sacrifices. Is it worth jumping into compromises, compared to sticking to your original wishlist? Be honest with yourself. If there’s a real need that’s being addressed right there, then go ahead with the compromises. If it’s just to satisfy your temporary wants, don’t do it. The rule of thumb here is, if it puts your budget on the line, then it’s not worth the compromise. If you still haven’t done your budgeting homework, start now by looking at the mortgage rate Utah companies offer.

What do I “love” about this house?

There’s a reason you love the house you saw, and it’s important to write that down in your notes when you go to open houses. Not only because there’s a high chance you won’t remember it later, but more so because you’ll be forced to actually pinpoint what exactly it is you’re fixated on. When you unpack that later, you might realize that it was just the smell of the real estate agent’s baked cookies that gave you a warm, fuzzy feeling about the home. Or perhaps the familiarity of the furniture arrangement that’s quite a bit similar to your current house. Don’t be pulled (or fooled) by the professional home staging or the scents, sights, and sounds that agents use to make the space homier. Strip these down, imagine the bare home, as it is, and decide if you still love it. If you do, then perhaps the house is worth considering in your options. If you don’t, then it’s probably just the baked cookies (not exactly a good enough reason to buy a hundred-thousand-dollar home).

couple outside home with sold sign

What do I dislike about this house?

In the same manner that you pinpoint what you admire about the property, make sure to identify your red flags too. Too many times, people get caught up with the positive features of a home that they overlook the negatives. Much like in dating, right? You wear rose-colored glasses on your first dinner, avoiding the fact that your date just revealed that they don’t like kids and dogs, things that are important to you. When you do decide to pursue this relationship, chances are, kids and dogs will be the topic of many fights down the road, and possibly the break-up. So, as early as now, take note of the deal breakers — in dating and in house hunting. For the latter, ask yourself: is it in a bad neighborhood? Does it have water damage in the basement? Are crimes prevalent in the area? By seeing the cons, you’ll be able to break the illusion of a perfect home and keep your heart guarded.

Don’t Fall in Love

Again, it’s not in your best interests to let emotions guide your home buying decisions. Take the most helpful advice: don’t fall in love when searching for your next house.

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