Throughout the search for your ideal home, you'll encounter a series of decisions. These will include, but will not be limited to:
(i) Do I want to continue renting, or am I ready and able to buy;
(ii) How much do I want to spend on a house;
(iii) Which bank should I use to obtain financing;
(iv) Should I work with a real estate broker, and if so, which company and which
(v) What neighborhood do I want to live in; and
(vi) Do I prefer a large one bedroom that's well within my budget, or would it be worth it to go for a two bedroom that's near the maximum of my budget.
Whether you're a first time home-buyer, or a seasoned real estate investor, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the amount and importance of the decisions that you're faced with when buying a home. In some ways, the process can resemble a choose-you-own-adventure book:
"If you think the Greenwich Village studio that allows you to walk to work each morning, but is slightly north of your budget is the best home for you, then flip to page 156, and find out what the next five to seven years of your life will hold."
Unfortunately, no amount of planning, prognosticating, or visits to the woman who reads palms and tells fortunes from the basement of that building where you pick up your laundry can exactly predict how your decisions will play out in the future. However, here's three sound decision-making principles to help guide you through the process:
(1) Do not ever make a decision when you feel rushed, or pressured to do so;
If you feel as though you're forced to make a home-buying decision in an intense, high-pressure, and uncomfortable situation, then more likely than not, it's a better idea to walk away for the time being.
With that said, given the state of the New York market, prospective purchasers are sometimes forced to make decisions within relatively short amounts of time.
The key here is not to confuse pressure and intensity with the amount of time available to make the decision. A decision that is made with a short turn-around, so long as it's carefully considered and adequately evaluated, does not necessarily have to be one that's hurried and rushed.
(2) Gather all of the knowledge and information that's available to you, before you make your decision.
While knowledge and information that you gather on your own can be helpful, these resources can be supplemented by speaking and meeting with professionals in the mortgage and real estate industries.
(3) Comprehensive pros v. cons lists and direct comparisons can sometimes make the difference.
While some live by running the numbers, comparing and contrasting the positives and negatives between home A versus home B, others feel more comfortable letting their gut, instincts, and intuition lead them through these decisions. While both approaches have their benefits, the best route could likely be a combination of these two.
If you're usually the type who sticks to the numbers and the charts, then perhaps you could spend a bit more time foraying into the instinct and intuition side of things; and if vice-versa for those who would never consider the pros v. cons list approach: why not try switching things up a bit?
While the home-buying process can be one fraught with difficult decisions, these principles, along with the partnership and help of trusted mortgage and real estate professionals, can make the process less stressful, and more enjoyable.