Buying the Right Home for You
You’ve found a respectable Tudor in a picturesque neighborhood, with generously sized bedrooms, ample closet space and 2.5 baths. So why do you have a sense of unease—fear, even? After all, the right move can’t feel wrong, can it?
When homeowner Kate Rodenhizer thought about buying a home—and all of the changes it would entail—she felt nervous. “When I’m staring a big change in the face, I definitely get overwhelmed and start panicking, just thinking about all the steps involved and how much upheaval there’s going to be,” she explains. When she and her husband, Scott, started looking for a reasonably priced condo in New York City—no easy feat—the process seemed daunting. From mortgage pre-approvals to inspections to contracts to down payments, it was all a sea of unfamiliarity, which put her way out of her comfort zone.
Kate knew from experience that the reticence she felt was only a natural reaction to impending change. Behind it, she knew, was a world possibility. “Change is energizing, and it’s hopeful. I can’t think of one change that I’ve fretted over that I now wish didn’t happen,” she says.
According to the National Association of Realtors, there were roughly 6.5 million existing home purchases in 2006 at a median price of $222,000. It’s more than likely that a good percentage of these homebuyers felt anxiety similar to Kate’s when they thought about signing on the dotted line.
Buying a home is a huge decision—it’s most likely the biggest financial move you will make during your lifetime. It’s an anchor: It commits you not just to a mortgage payment, but to a living space, as well. If you appreciate feeling grounded and anchored, then it will be a comfortable move. But if you tend to get squeamish at the prospect of commitment, it can feel a bit scary and overwhelming. However, like most other life-changing financial decision, buying a home is a process that is much more doable when broken down into manageable chunks.
Remember that the first 30 days of buying a home can be very different for individuals or couples, as home buying can happen either at breakneck speed or over the course of several months. (It took Kate more than four months to go from making an offer to moving in.) There is no real timetable because the purchase ultimately hinges on many factors, such as the health of the housing market, home inspection results and whether the sellers are willing to make a deal.