House Hunting 2016: Ways To Maintain Your Sanity

If you’re looking to purchase a home, here are some helpful tips to keep you from going nuts
House Hunting 2016 Ways to Maintain Your Sanity

Even though we absolutely loved Victoria (and Vancouver Island in general), we had talked about moving for a couple years. This is just a better location for us all around in terms of family and friends and not spending a bazillion dollars on the ferry each year, so when a position became available over here for my wife, she applied and we started scouring MLS for places to live.

Big mistake.

One of the worst things you can do when you’re going to be moving is to start searching before you’re ready to purchase, but ultimately you’re just going to end up heartbroken. Your “perfect home” is going to be there, smiling at you, waiting for you to come and buy it, only you’re still five months away from moving and then another three months away from getting pre-approved on your mortgage and there is no way that cute house with the vaulted ceiling and open concept living area is still going to be on the market in October.

It was gone by May, but we still talk about it whenever we’re coming out of a crappy open house or monstrosity of a viewing.

“Remember that cute little house we saw when we first started looking?”

Of course I do. It was perfect. And then it was gone. And I’m still sad.

Fight the temptation and don’t start looking until you’re ready to hit the pavement and actually have the potential to put in offers because this isn’t like window shopping where you can walk by a storefront, see something you like, but know you don’t need it or are tight on cash for right now. This is you searching for a forever home – or a home for the next few years – and there are a completely different set of emotions involved. Passing on that cardigan is easy, but seeing something that feels like it is right for you and your family and then watching it sail off the market can be challenging because more than you envision yourself rocking that new apparel, you picture life in that living space and if the picture looks good, seeing it fade away stings, even when you had no chance of making that dream a reality.

Which brings me to my second “save yourself the heartache” suggestion: don’t look outside your price range.

Like at all.

Not even “just to see” because invariably, you’re going to see something that catches your eye and then the rationalization starts.

You start telling yourself that if you just cut back on XYZ, you’ll have the extra money to cover the slight increase in mortgage payment, where “slight” actually means “more significant than you would normally consider slight.” You convince yourself that spending a little more makes sense because this is going to be your forever home and while it will mean having zero money to do anything else for the next seven years, it’ll be worth it in the end because this place will be perfect and you’ll never have to move again. You’ll need more money. You’ll probably move again. You probably won’t cut back on XYZ either, so spare yourself the torture of seeing pretty things you can’t afford.

Lastly – and I mentioned this last week – stop watching House Hunters, Fixer Upper and everything else on HGTV because it’s just going to make you angry seeing a three bed, three bath detached house in South Florida that doesn’t need a lick of work go for 40 percent of your budget.

Spare yourself: don’t look until you’re ready, stay within your budget and stop watching HGTV.

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