Buying a House Doesn’t Have to be Scary

Eyes peeking through window blinds

Buying a home for the first time can stir up a lot of fears and anxieties, some of them rational, and some unrealistic. For instance, you probably don’t need to worry about a hurricane destroying your home if you live in Eastern Iowa, but sometimes there’s no controlling the imagination.

Let’s name, confront, and debunk some of those fears.

I can’t afford a house.

For many renters, only an extra $100 spent per month can translate to home ownership and the accumulation of equity. But before you get to that point, there’s the obstacle of the dreaded DOWN PAYMENT. Spooky.

The good news is there are many government and private programs that are designed to lower down payments and make the dream of home ownership a reality. VA loans are a great tool for veterans and active duty members of the Armed Forces, Rural Development Loans are a valuable program for home buyers outside of major urban areas, and these are just two of the abundant opportunities for purchasers exploring the housing market.

An experienced realtor can direct you to trustworthy and experienced loan officers for consultation, and there are also online mortgage calculators to provide estimates on how much home ownership may cost you. In short, the best way to alleviate this fear is by doing thorough research.

What if the property loses value?

Sometimes the economy tanks – 2008, we don’t miss you! – or a natural disaster strikes. Sometimes the State decides to build a maximum security prison next door. None of these scenarios are good for the real estate business.

A decline in property value can occur even without these major events, as a neighborhood slowly loses its luster.

Research can help alleviate this fear. When you view a property, an expert realtor will be knowledgeable about comparable sales in that area and current sales trends. They will be able to reasonably speculate about that home’s ability to retain its value over time.

As for the prison-next-door scenario, you can ask the city planning office to disclose the zoning of your prospective neighborhood, and any future adjustments that can be expected.

What if I buy a money pit?

Tom Hanks is usually a great role model, but no one wants to be left laughing like a maniac as a “dream house” suddenly crumbles into oblivion around their feet, like in the movie “The Money Pit.”

You should not even begin to consider purchasing a home until you have hired a reputable home inspector. The inspector is trained to do the necessary research to prove that your home is a sound purchase.

Hmmm… “research.” There might be a pattern here.

Will I overspend?

The “asking price” for a home is the beginning point of a negotiation. Negotiating on your behalf is where many realtors earn their commissions, and then some.

The only person who can overspend on a home is you. Before you tour your first property, you should have a detailed examination of your financial situation, understanding what you can comfortably spend on a home. 

Only AFTER the budget has been set, should you start looking. If you find “the perfect home” first, and then start tweaking your budget accordingly, you can quickly fall into a dangerous hole. Collecting information first is the key to every step of the buying process.

I’m scared I’ll be locked into a house forever.

This fear of the forever often translates to an attitude of “maybe I should just rent.” Of course, renting doesn’t build equity, and is often only marginally less expensive than a mortgage. You don’t have to take our word for it. There are several rent vs. buy calculators available online

There can also be the lingering fear of purchasing “the wrong house.” The best way to avoid this negative feeling is to do a thorough search of all the available homes in your desired area and price range.

In other words, do your research.

The scariest things in the world are always the unknowns. Doing research, both independently and with the help of trained professionals, can make the process of buying a new home one of confident discovery and joy, rather than a source of anxiety. You must assemble your team and gather all the information you can. 

If you’re looking for an Iowa realtor that is knowledgeable and trustworthy, Jessica & Sarah can guide you happily toward a home that makes you feel comfortable and secure. Contact them today!

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