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How to Buy a Home and not a Headache

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We want to help you make your house a home and save you the pain, agony and headaches that can be associated with home ownership. We want to help you avoid buyer’s remorse altogether. Read on and this as your guide to buying a perfect home, not a headache!

The number one cause of home-related headaches is finances. It’s most important to get all your financial ducks in a row and really know where your finances stand before you even start the house hunting process. Meet with mortgage and financial specialists to figure out just what you can afford. Buying a house is not a straight-forward process. You’ll need to know how much to have on hand first for your deposit, and then what percentage of your mortgage you will need to put down in cash. You will also need to know how much cash to set aside for renovations and home improvements. You will also need to have a safe amount of emergency money in the bank for potential problems and disasters. In home-ownership, there is always something that needs to be fixed or replaced.

Your home will reflect your lifestyle in many ways. Are you single? Married? Do you have, or do you plan on starting a family in the near future? Are you athletic and outdoorsy, preferring to be near running trails and open fields or are you more culture-oriented, preferring museums, galleries and restaurants?

Hire a home inspector or engineer to take a thorough look at the property you intend on buying. A home inspection will be so thorough that it will inspect every element from foundation to the roof and everything in between like plumbing and electrical work, light switches and faucets. With this incredibly detailed report in hand you will have some idea of the issues you will be facing. You can determine at that point whether you want to go on with the purchase of the home or whether you would prefer to walk away. Things break in the home. Things break often. Be prepared to run to the hardware store often.  Also be prepared to call the professionals and do not be caught off-guard by the unexpected.

The key to home ownership is deciding what it is that you want – and making a decision that will not leave you feeling with regret. Perhaps you love the idea of owning a house but are daunted by the size, expense and maintenance. If this is the case you may well want to consider an apartment or condominium. When you purchase a condo or apartment there will be other factors to think about. While you’ll not be responsible for lawn management you will have dues that will cover the costs of all grounds and property management. You will have association fees as well and possibly certain rules to adhere by. If you plan on remodeling your condo, you will need to run it by the association for approval.

Scout of the neighborhood and the lay of the land before you put any offers on your home. Just as important as what’s inside your home is what is outside the home. While you can remodel and repaint the inside, you cannot change the outside – I do not mean your home’s facade, I mean the location of your home. Before you start house hunting you ought to scout out several neighborhoods. Do this in the evening and do this during the weekends. Will you be commuting? Will you need to be near a train station or highways? For commuters, it might behoove you to try out the commute from the possible new location. Are you better off living in or near a city? Or do you prefer the quiet of the countryside. If you have children you will want to put much thought into your neighborhood and school systems.

It’s what inside that matters. You should absolutely make a list of what it is that you must have in your home, include items that are important to you even though they may not necessarily be on the must have list.  You may see a home and decide that your priorities have shifted. Certain things like flooring and appliances are easily changed. Other things, like porches, fireplaces, number of bedrooms and bathrooms can always be added, but at a great expense. Look at as many homes as you can. The right one will speak to you!

Equally important is the outside of your home. Do you wish to have a lot of land or a small piece of property? The more property your home sits on, the more maintenance that will be required. You’ll need to take care of lawns, shrubs, trees and at least once a year, removal of the leaves that have been shed by the trees.  Outside maintenance is very can be very time consuming, depending on the size of your property, could take up a greater part of your weekend. If you’d rather not be bound to your yard, you will need to factor in the additional costs of property maintenance.

Last but not least in the case of home ownership, size does matter. Do not buy more house than you can afford. In addition to higher taxes, your utility costs – lighting, cooling and heating will go up dramatically. If you buy more home than you can handle it could end up swallowing you whole, consuming your life. You don’t want to be so house-poor that you have no money left over to enjoy the other things in life. You’ll also need to pay attention that you don’t buy too small. If you have a growing, or plan on growing your family in the near future, you will want to be sure there’s plenty of room to accommodate this growth.

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Now you’re ready to give your small living space a personal touch. Adding some color, texture and interest to your basics will keep your apartment from looking like a furniture showroom. Layer textiles such as pillows and throws on your seating. Choose 20- or 22-inch-square pillows that can double as floor cushions. Add wall canvases and decor in bold tones. Finally, the right area rug will warm up your space while adding color and pattern. Below are some of our favorite accent pieces.

West Elm Heath Sofa is small in scale without sacrificing classic styling. Ikea Ekero Armchair has a reversible back cushion and thin arms for the space challenged. Kyle Schuneman Monroe Apartment Size Sofa at apt2b.com has a classic, retro feel and fits in small spaces. Euro Style Calais Dining Chairs (set of 2) at 2bemod.com aren’t just for dining rooms; they can work in any space. CB2 Casbah Corner Chair can be used indoors or out, singularly in a corner or doubled up to create a loveseat with arms. The Casbah Armless Chair can be added to extend it into a chaise. Istikbal Twist Convertible Loveseat at wayfair.com comes in bright colors and converts to a sleeper. Euro Style Fenia Swivel Chair at amazon.com is small and versatile, thanks to the swivel mechanism. CB2 Flatiron Haze Apartment Sofa is sleek and streamlined at only 60 inches wide.

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