House hunting can be an emotionally and physically exhausting. So what’s the secret to keeping your excitement at bay and coming out on top like a cool cat?

The personal journey to buying a home can be very emotional. We are inherently attached to our homes in a way that we aren’t with any other possession because a home is a sanctuary that protects us from the harshness of the outside world, a place for families to grow and friends to come together and where memories are made and cherished. We can also take pride in feathering our nests to display our taste and unique individuality.

But sometimes the same inherent emotional attachment can blind us to many of the important, practical decisions that we need to consider along the way, exposing us to the risk of making unwise financial decisions. So how can we keep our emotions in check when house hunting?


Avoid the snags when house hunting


Buying a home is a time-consuming and exhausting process and most people get very overwhelmed with it.  And there are generally a lot of emotions involved such as fear of missing out or you might love some aspects of the property so much that you might completely overlook or downplay other aspects of the house that doesn’t work for your needs and you might regret later.

Letting your heart rule without being prudent and true to your practical side has the potential to land you in a lot of financial worries. You can easily end up buying a property that can be rather a burden for you. When you buy a $2 million property, your repayment will be approximate $9,500 every month (Based on 4% interest rate, 30 years term). With only 1% interest rate rise your monthly home loan repayment will see another addition of approximately $1200. So it can be hard to maintain your lifestyle.

Another common emotional mistake is being frustrated with many months of unsuccessful house-hunting and ending up the wrong home thinking it to be good enough simply by focusing more on the house hunting stress and not your usual self. So take your time and enjoy the house hunting process with these following tips.


Create your own home-buying brief


Writing your own brief or property checklist is a great place to start. Then you can look at what you have to pay to achieve those items in your property and calculate your budget.

You can remove your emotion from house hunting by creating a checklist of the key features that you think is a must-have for your home. Try to have a very good idea of what you’re looking for in a home. Top of the list is where you actually want to live or are prepared to live. Look at things like your journey to work, where your friends are and where your key social activities are.

Savvy buyers’ must-have features should also include things that they are not prepared to compromise on like the number of bedrooms, a sunny aspect or a garden for their children and pets, as well as things like proximity to transport, schools and other amenities.

With your not negotiable features sorted, your checklist can also include your desirable ones that are kind of nice to have but are not deal breakers. These could include things like having an extra toilet in the house, a study or a swimming pool.


Keep the big picture in mind


When you spend every weekend driving to places and inspecting properties and missing out at auctions, it can be easy to get distracted by the details and lose focus on the bigger picture. A bigger backyard to build a granny flat or your man cave would be awesome but how important is it? If you don’t like the area or simply can’t afford the loan repayments?

Try to look beyond the aesthetics. Buy for location, buy for lifestyle and upgrade for improvement. You can always replace the grubby tiles in the bathroom or install new flooring. But you can’t move the house if it’s in the wrong area or can’t change the layout so easily if you don’t like it.



Follow your checklist religiously during house hunting


Putting your needs, must-haves and nice-to-haves on paper and carrying a checklist with you to house inspections is a good way to keep your emotion in check on the house-hunting trail.

You might want to consider these following items in your list:

  1. Is the house price well within your budget?

  2. Are important amenities close by?

  3. Is reliable public transport close by?

  4. Is the property in the ‘right’ school catchment area?

  5. Are friends and family close by?

  6. What will your commute to work be like and time spent commuting?

  7. Is the building structural integrity sound?

  8. Does the house have the right number of rooms and space to suit your needs?

  9. Does the house have a good natural light?

  10. Are you prepared to renovate? And can you afford to do so?

  11. Is off-street parking available?

  12. How much are the ongoing strata fees and have you accounted for it?


One day it will all come together


Keeping your heart and your head on the same page should be a lot easier with the discipline of your home buying checklist, and essentially it will help you avoid the mistake of settling for something that’s not quite right. While you’ll still need to put in the effort, the day will come soon enough when you find the property that ticks off all the ‘must haves’ on your home buying checklist without breaking your bank. And hopefully one or two of the ‘nice to haves’. With a helping hand from your local mortgage broker, you’ll be home before you know it.

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