Finally I decided to make the big step of buying a home, I might be among the last of my friends and colleagues to do it. After being constantly discouraged by the market, I managed to find a place that made me sell my sole to the devil aka the bank. Since this is a pretty big decision, here are a few of the lessons that I’ve learned from my experience.
1. Never rush!
A few years back everybody around me was buying a house, they all encouraged me to do the same, to invest my money, to own a place. Well….. I am very happy I didn’t listen to them! Even if the market might’ve been lower a few years back, the fact that 3 years ago I decided to pack my bags and move to a different city would have never happen. Also the fact that right now I am not buying that house alone made a huge difference. Just because everyone is doing it doesn’t mean you should also.
2. Know your limits
When shopping for a house or an apartment it’s easy to lose focus. The pretty ones might steal your eyes and you might want to go a little bit higher just because of the “Instagram” ready look, but you have to know your limit! Especially if you depend on a bank for the money. Before you start searching do the math, find out exactly what is the price range and look ONLY in that range. Yes that 1 million dollar house looks amazing, but if you cannot afford it’s just wasted time.
3. Do the full math
Let’s say that you already know the price you are willing or able to pay, now it’s time to see the real costs. Even if the installment looks like something you can work with, try that for at least three consecutive months, see how that goes, is that something you are comfortable with? If not try to decrease the amount until you do, you need to still be able to enjoy life and afford stuff, that house will frustrate you really fast if all your money goes into it.
4. Try to see the big picture
By now you should know what is the price range and what you can afford to spend on a property, so it’s time to search. Either if you are depending on an agent or you are doing this yourself, make sure you look past the nice furniture! It might sound crazy but the most polished places I’ve seen were either very small or not well positioned.
In this area some little help might be needed, the best person would be someone who has nothing to gain from telling you what to look for ( a parent, someone with real estate experience etc.). You need to know what will bring you the most value for your money, also you need to know what you are willing to sacrifice. For me the most important things were the location and the size of the apartment, I wanted to be able to get around the city fast and but also have enough space for me, my boyfriend and my two cats. I had to sacrifice the neighborhood and the lack of parking space for a price that I could afford.
5. Don’t rush (again!)
Buying a place might take months and it should! You need to see what you don’t want in order to buy what you do want. Even if it’s frustrating AF to see a place and not get it, or have someone else take it right in front of you, you need to have patience, good things don’t happen overnight. I’ve seen people looking for years before actually making the purchase, so no worries, it will happen.
Buying a house was a huge step for me, even now that I am a few weeks before moving, I still cannot believe that I finally did it. Might not be the place I’ve always dreamed of, but it is definitely a great place to start and I already have a plan of reimbursing the money ahead of time so that I can get that one of my back.