The other day, I was the only dad in a room full of dance moms, when a giant eight-legged you-know-what crawled across the floor.
As a husband and dad, I’ve accepted my role in this life as SPIDER HUNTER. But that little ball of mom-terror got me thinking about fear in general. And since October is the official sponsor of all things scary, I thought I’d tackle 4 common fears about home ownership.
Because buying a home shouldn’t have to be scary.
Fear #1: Being Able to Afford a Mortgage
What if you lose your job, or have a serious medical issue? Or perhaps you’re wondering what your expenses will be after you get married, have a baby, start traveling, or welcome new grandkids in your life. In this case, knowledge is power. By talking with a trusted mortgage broker, you can estimate your monthly payments at several price points. You can also estimate your future utility bills, such as water, trash and electricity.
You don’t want to be house-poor, so start a savings account to hold you over during an emergency. And make sure you have adequate insurance to major bills, like a car wreck or injury. Even if you do experience financial difficulty, your home isn’t likely to be taken away the first time you miss a payment. You may find that a mortgage doesn’t cost much more than rent, in many cases. And you’re building equity in your own home.
Create a basic budget, estimate your income and expenses, and make a game plan with your mortgage broker. I can hook you up, if you haven’t started the process yet.
Fear #2: Overwhelming Maintenance Costs
There are always costs associated with home ownership, but a well-maintained home should hold its value over time and build equity in the long run. The key is to avoid buying more house than you can afford to maintain.
When house hunting, pay attention to items that have been upgraded recently (e.g., new roof or water heater) and items that may need attention soon (an old furnace, rotting wood, or cracks in the foundation). A good home inspector will help you identify potential maintenance issues, so that you can know what to expect (and budget for). Remember that small issues (like a slow leak) turn into big issues (like a ceiling replacement) if you don’t address them in a timely manner.
Fear #3: Loss in Home Values
Houses can decline in value because of disasters, economic crises, physical deterioration, local crime, and other unpredictable circumstances. But you can take precautions, such as: researching the community, analyzing property values over time, talking to neighborhood residents, and staying informed about economic trends, such as major shifts in the housing market or job growth. And with the help of a good real estate agent and mortgage professional, you can avoid over-paying for your home.
Fear #4: Not Finding the Right House
If you’re worried about buying the wrong house, maybe it’s because you don’t know what you want. But you can overcome this fear by making a list of must-haves, nice-to-haves, and/or deal-breakers. Thousands of homes go on the market each year in our county, so don’t fall into the mental trap of thinking there’s only one perfect home out there for you.
Don’t be impulsive; be willing to walk away, let go, or keep looking, and you can avoid buyer’s remorse later. That’s why I love interviewing buyers about their needs—and fears—and helping them prioritize what matters most.
What things do you worry about? If you’re thinking about buying a home in Kitsap County, call or text me at 360-979-6411. Let’s get your questions answered and make a plan!