Home Buying: Love for the House or Financial Security?

During your most recent home buying process, you most likely found yourself in one of two scenarios: (1) you fell in love with a house and bought it before having sold your existing home or (2) you sold your current house before buying, and then either bought another home or rented a home if you couldn’t find a home that was right for you. Buy and then sell OR sell and then buy – very different approaches to home buying with a variety of pros and cons….

The first scenario is really about falling in love with a particular house. You have to have it – no matter what. It’s irrelevant that you haven’t sold your existing home and that you may not sell it for months to come. The good news about this approach is that you have the home you love when you want it. The bad news is that you may very well find yourself in a precarious financial situation. What if it takes months and months for your home to sell, which means that you are carrying two homes instead of one? This can be a stressful, financial burden and can keep you up fretting a night or two to say the least. You can try to negotiate an extended closing to try to give yourself more time to sell before you ultimately buy. But there are some drawbacks to an extended closing too (i.e., mortgage commitment timeline, locking in a rate, etc.). And yet sometimes luck is on your side – you price your home competitively, and it sells relatively quickly. When you are in this kind of situation, more times than not, you are a “motivated” seller intent on doing what it takes to sell your existing property and move on with your life in your new home.

The second scenario is about financial security – making sure you have sold your home, and the money is in the bank before contemplating a home purchase. There are several advantages to following this path. First, having sold your home and knowing the price for which it sold, you know how much you can spend on your next property. You also don’t have the added stress of carrying two properties and the uncertainty about the final price and timing of your existing home sale. As referenced earlier, these kinds of unknowns can go round and round in your head night after night while you’re trying to sleep. As with everything, however, there are also cons to this approach. Once your house is sold, the inventory may not cooperate, and you may not be able to find the right home for you and your family. In fact, it could take months upon months until you do. And so it’s important that if you opt for the financial security route, you feel comfortable with the prospect of living in a rental or temporary housing. This generally means having to move twice and can cause some logistical issues, but on the bright side, your stress level will be lower and you will be having restful nights of sleep.

Where do you find yourself on this spectrum of home buying? Are you one who acts for the love a particular house or do you wait to act until the selling of your home is not a question mark but an exclamation point? When I bought my house in Weston, MA almost 12 years ago, I was a home buyer who acted for the love of a house. Luckily my current home at the time sold within a day, and so I was able to close on both homes on the same day. Phew…. Honestly, though, if I had to do it all over again, I would still act for the love of a house. And I see it happen with a majority of my clients too. The bottom line is that whichever path you choose, it all works out – one way or another, sooner or later. What are your thoughts and experiences on this aspect of the home buying process? I can’t wait to hear….

For more information on this or about the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns or if you are considering selling your home, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (www.lisacurlett.com, 781-267-2844 or lisa.curlett@compass.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.