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Our Buying a Home Experts

Kelly S. Jones

Kelly S. Jones

Certified Feng Shui, Chinese Astrology and Akashic Record...

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Melanie Mannarino

Melanie Mannarino

Deputy executive editor of REDBOOK

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Brian Yui

Brian Yui

CEO and founder of HouseRebate.com

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Buying the Right Home for You

Even for production or semi-custom—where there are set floor plans to pick from—a homebuyer makes choices. Often, you can contract to purchase a spec home, or one that is being built by contractors for future sale. The earlier in the process you get involved, the more choices you’ll have. For example, your contractor might include Formica countertops in a spec home, but you may be able to upgrade to marble if you are early enough along in the process and don’t mind paying for an upgrade. However, a common glitch when it comes to this is building delays. “Always pad the date they tell you by at least a month,” Smith advises.

Keep Perspective

During your first 30 days of buying a home, you may find yourself rehashing all the “what ifs,” as if you’re trying to talk yourself out of this major life change. “What if the kids hate the new schools?” “What if the house needs major repairs?” “What if owning a home isn’t what I thought?”

Committing to a big-ticket purchase is one surefire panic inducer. “I was really scared about making a 30-year commitment to a bank. I was 34 at the time—it was practically as long as I had been alive,” says Kate. “I finally realized you can’t get too hung up on that number. We’d likely only live here five to seven years, anyway, so why let this arbitrary 30 number keep me up at night?”

Second-guessing change is natural and is simply a product of our fears. The best way to combat this negative is to focus on the positive, because buying a home can be an incredibly fulfilling and fun process. “It’s fun to be able to decide, ‘Yes, I will paint the walls peacock,’ ” says Jill de las Alas, who owns a home in Indianapolis with her husband, Rob.

Imagining the lasting memories you will create in your new home can keep you positive, as well. “Our house is special because for 70 years, people have been cooking, talking, making music and raising their children here, just like we’re doing,” says Jill. “I love that we conceived our children here, and we brought them home from the hospital to this house.”

When you have your eye on a resale property, remember that others before you appreciated the home’s potential and made loving memories there, as well. As Jill quips, “If 70 year’s worth of families could make it work with our home’s tiny closets and quirky bathrooms, we can too.”

Posted: 10/3/07
roughrider

I have found the home that I would like to purchase. It is a For Sale By Owner. I am working to pay off back taxes with the help of a tax attorney, but my credit score is around 550. The owners want to move quickly to help family out of town. They are asking a good price. Some lenders will not help me without the 3.5% to 5% down. Owners are giving equity along with some closing cost help. Any ideas to help me purchase?