Sunday, November 13, 2011

What HGTV Doesn't Tell You About Buying a House

1.  Even the “fun” part is stressful. Peeking in other people's homes is fun from the comfort of your couch, but when you're actually looking for your home, every free second is spent stressing out about pros and cons, researching neighborhoods, worrying about somebody else snatching up the homes and trying to get a hold of your real estate agent. On top of that, 80% of the homes you see will likely be instantly ruled out for one reason or another so it just turns into long Sundays riding around in a Jaguar with spotty air conditioning. In summary: expect to lose sleep.

2. You are not in control, even in a buyer's market. Once you have submitted an offer, the seller knows that you are emotionally invested and they will use any strategy they can to get more money out of you. Our sellers missed their response deadline because they were using that time to contact other possible buyers to send us into competition. Jerks.

3. It makes you a bad employee. The process is time-sensitive so you will need to take time during normal work hours to sign/send documents, research homes and loans, or call your realtor/lender/insurance agent. On top of that, you will need time off from work for an inspection, closing, gathering permits, final walkthrough, etc. You will also likely need to utilize work resources for scanning, copies, printing, internet, conference calls, etc.  After the hours my employer lost, I’m not sure that buying a home actually stimulates the economy.

4. It’s one giant audit. Be ready to explain every deposit into every bank account, why your mom’s name is on the joint checking account you opened when you were 14, why the address on your driver's license doesn't match your actual current address, etc. You should get a “free” credit report out of the deal though!

5. There's a lot behind the scenes. On tv, you simply choose a house, negotiate, do an inspection and sign some papers. Behind the scenes, there’s also earnest money to deliver, bank statements, pay stubs, and asset statements to compile, insurance quotes to gather and consider, permits to find and review, multiple loans to apply for and compare, closing papers to read, money to transfer, cashier’s checks to get...

6.  When it’s all over, you celebrate with a long weekend of hard labor. Moving sucks. You'll also discover small things like the fact that you now need to buy a ladder just so you can change a light bulb.

In the end though, you get to do whatever you want! It's a pretty great feeling, probably based mostly on that "American dream" thing, but you also get a new sense of "home" switching from renting and knowing that you will likely be there for many years to come. Happy Homeownership!

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