How to go house hunting without going crazy
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How to go house hunting without going crazy

A family house hunting in hopes for a less stressful experience.

House hunting in the post-covid era can be pretty daunting with mortgage interest rates still fairly high despite coming down some in 2024 and inventory lagging behind demand. However, life events don’t wait for a convenient time for you. So, if you’re needing a home now and frustration is setting in, here’s how to house hunt without losing your mind.

Understand perfection isn’t attainable

There’s no such thing as a perfect house. At least on the market. Maybe you can buy a house and turn it into your perfect home. But you will always find a flaw if you look hard enough.

What you really need to ask yourself when touring a home is:

  • Can I live with the things I don’t like about this home or can I change them?
  • Does it check all the boxes for things I need out of a home?
  • Is it in the right area for my family?
  • Can I afford the monthly payments?

Be honest with yourself and notice when you’re unfairly judging a property. And be honest with yourself when you’re looking at homes that are near the top of your approval range (or above) because when that first payment is due you better be able to afford it. Speaking of affording the mortgage payments…

Do the math yourself to figure out what you can afford

Hope you paid attention in algebra class! In all seriousness, do not assume the loan amount you qualify for is what you can actually afford. Figure out what the monthly payment for that approval amount is and plug it into your monthly budget. Does it fit? Or will it leave you cash-strapped?

If you’re still struggling to figure out what you can afford, compare those monthly payments to your rent. Are you able to comfortably pay all your bills each month currently? Look at how much money you carry over (or don’t carry over) month-to-month. Can you comfortably afford a home with a mortgage payment that’s higher than your rent?

Don’t let the bank or your realtor talk you into buying a house you can’t afford.

Avoid desperation

We understand that when you’re looking for something you need, like a house, it can be disheartening when the journey to closing the deal seems to be dragging on. However, do not let that make you so desperate you buy a home you do not want or cannot afford.

Things oftentimes have a way of working out when you’re patient. Rushing into making an offer simply because the market is hot or inventory is low is a perfect formula for a disappointing home purchase. Take your time to make sure the house meets your important criteria and is worth the price you’re offering.

As long as your demands are realistic for your budget, you’ll eventually find the house that’s right for you. Houses hit the market every day even in the Bolivar, MO area.

Considerations for a fixer-upper

When inventory is low and you keep getting outbid on homes it can be tantalizing to imagine molding a fixer-upper into your “perfect” home. For some, this may be a realistic option.

While fixer-uppers tend to be cheaper to purchase in the beginning, if there are tons of things that need to be fixed it could become extremely expensive. Take a look at the average cost of the things you have identified need fixed. If you’re handy or you know a trusted contractor and you can afford the remodeling projects, this could be an option for you.

House hunting is all about being honest with yourself and your budget. If you need a realtor in the Bolivar and Missouri Ozarks area to bounce questions off of, don’t hesitate to contact us!

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