If you are looking for an adrenaline fuelled emotional roller coaster ride that lasts months, without any guarantee of the outcome, then you might be ready to buy a house! Congratulations – you are officially about to become a grown up. Buying a house is more often than not an extremely emotional decision. It’s one of life’s great achievements, like getting married, having babies, or going overseas and at some stage most of the people in your life will do it. It is one of the key moments in your life that sets you on the path to financial independence and also teaches you a thing or two about cash flow – fast.
The emotional journey of buying a house is mapped out by a number of things. It marks a significant transition in your life and this should not be undervalued. You will experience the usual emotions of letting go of the past and being excited about the future. The decision to buy a house is especially emotional for first home buyers, young couples, newlyweds, expectant parents and singles moving out of home into their first property. The good news is that once you’ve done it, like most things, it gets easier the next time round.
If you want specific strategies around how to take the emotion out when buying a property, look no further. There are some common traps for young players that are easy to avoid if you navigate the process of buying your first home from a well informed and prepared place.
Keep Your Expectations in Check
The most important thing you can do for your own sanity is keep your expectations in check. Dreaming about your ‘new home’ as opposed to ‘the property’ sets many a novice up for disappointment, as they drift off into fantasies of picket fences and garden parties in properties way beyond their budget. Know how much you have to spend, what you intend to do with the property in the first few years and then the specifics such as number of bedrooms and location, BEFORE you start to look. This will keep you on track and help you stay focused on your goals.
Start Taking a Mature and Strategic Approach to Your Finances
There are so many levels of financial anxiety ahead of you, so start to put good habits in place immediately. You will endlessly crunch numbers trying to find extra money you just don’t have, along with trying to match the money you do have with the property that is way out of your league. Knowing the route of every dollar that comes into and out of your life may seem a little over the top but it can be incredibly empowering once it becomes routine – as well as financially rewarding! You could start by just listing everything you spend money on in a week and see how much the incidentals add up to, then scale back where possible. Write yourself a realistic and workable budget from this, that includes everything from coffees to insurance and all the bills in between - then stick to it. Allocating a set amount of cash each week and physically taking that out of the bank is a great trick too – you can see all the money you have right there in your hand and once it’s gone you’re back at home with TV and toast, till your next week’s budget kicks in. Your main focus should be to have enough cash behind you to cover the upcoming and ongoing expenses, as well as little in reserve for extra costs like unexpected repairs.
Know the Clichés and Make Them Your Mantra!
Life is a series of peaks and troughs. What you lose on the swings you pick up on the roundabouts. Life gives us equal measures of light and shade. All of these clichés will apply in one way or another as you shop for a house. Chanting one or two of them to yourself as you walk away from the dream house you just missed out on at auction will reinforce your commitment to continue. The search for a house to buy is tumultuous to say the least. It’s an agonising process of looking, anticipating, hoping and then disappointment. Over and over again. But as was mentioned earlier, the first time is always the most challenging and it will be so much easier next time.
Buying a house marks a shift in personal and lifestyle choices, which requires a level of maturity that you may not have wanted to adopt previously. You’ll start thinking through whether you’re ready for this new set of responsibilities and whether you can afford to do this. Once you start talking to an agent, you’ll feel even more nervous about this new foreign world you are entering, with its own language and set of complicated rules and rituals (that’s why you need a great agent). The key is to stay calm and focused and let the experts guide you. Talk to people you know who have bought a house, ask your agent lots of questions – that’s part of their job. The more informed you are, the easier it is for them to help you achieve your property investment goals and help you to make practical decisions around buying your first house.