It is a very difficult question, whether to use your head or your heart when buying a house. If you are buying the house to flip it or for investment, then it’s just a numbers game and the only way your heart is involved is for love of the money you will profit from. If you are buying it for you or your family, then it’s a lot harder. You might love the house at first, and hate it later. You might overspend for that dream house, and eventually, lose it as you can’t keep up the payments. If you are going through some stress of buying a house you might want to find a psychologist. There are many ways it can go wrong if you don’t think things through, so here are a few things to think about.
Can you afford it?
This is really the most important thing and the biggest problem for the heart crowd. You need to make your budget before you go. Including any “stretches” you can make. Then stick to it. It doesn’t matter if it looks like your grandparents’ house when you were growing up, if you can’t afford it, you are just going to have a nightmare. Do the numbers before you go and stick to them or you might find yourself losing the house as you can’t make payments anyway.
What do you like or hate about it
Be honest and make a list of what you like about it and why, and what you don’t and why. Some things you might like might have nothing to do with the actual houses. “I love the way their furniture looked” has nothing to do with the house, you aren’t getting their furniture. Focus on what you are buying and why only. Write things down and explain them to someone that isn’t emotionally attached to the house.
Forget the changeable details
You love the color of the walls, and the plants look nice. None of that matters. Make a list of everything that you like, and strike off everything that is changeable. Paint can be repainted, carpet re-carpeted, etc. Obviously, some changeable things will stay, but remember, you are paying for the value of the house, not the prettiness. When you move in, it is your job to make it pretty and loved.
Imagine it empty and desolate
Remember, a ladder has more rungs to climb. You might want this to be the last house you ever buy and die there, but, in reality, especially if it’s your first house, you will buy it and less than 10 years later you will sell it and move up to another one. Make sure you can afford the one you have, and enjoy it, and remember that you can buy that mansion next time, or a few houses down the road.
Don’t skimp over details
Use your head, thinking “the place is great, and we can fix that crack in the foundation” is not going to get you where you want to be. If something isn’t right, or not what you want, don’t skim over it because it goes against what you want. This is the reality. Just like a relationship, “he will change” doesn’t work with humans, and it doesn’t work with houses. The amount of work you need to do to fix those things you skim over is usually exponential and might get you hating the house eventually.
Be brutally honest
You have to be honest with yourself. If someone tells you a reason why that house is not a good idea, don’t get mad at them and argue. You will only end up in tears months later when you realize they were right. Don’t use emotions to bulldoze over opinions you don’t like. Listen to them and be brutally honest with yourself. A house is a life decision and one of the largest you make, so treat it seriously.
It’s important to use both your head and heart when buying. If you only use your heart you will have a disaster. If you only use your head you might not have the satisfaction and love of where you live. Our advice is to use your heart to decide whether to do the numbers and then forget your heart and be brutal and use your head only. Pretend you are someone else, a friend, that doesn’t like the house and come up with all the reasons why it is a bad idea. You need to be honest with yourself. If your heart picks it, and your brain approves it, you are well on your way to a better life with a happy home. Then it’s time to go for it.