The home buying process can be daunting, especially if you are a first-time buyer. No matter what stage of this process you are at, uncertainty can quickly creep in at any time:
- ”Did I plan out my budget correctly?”
- “Is now the right to time buy?”
- “Is this a neighborhood I want to live in for a long period?”
- “Will this house fit all my needs and wants?”
With the impact of pandemic buying, the stressors that come with finding a house have only been amplified by soaring prices, limited inventory of homes, and frantic transactions that leave buyers opting to waive their protective contingencies.
A recent survey conducted by Ally Financial found that more than half of adults feel anxious about facing the homebuying process. “Homes are a huge investment so that the purchasing process can feel daunting, especially for first-time buyers,” said Glenn Brunker, president of Ally Home. “From navigating fluctuations in home prices and mortgage rates to submitting an offer, there is a lot to juggle.”
Since your home is likely the largest single purchase that you may ever make in your lifetime, it is understandable to have doubts along the way and question if you are doing everything right. Even if you are a repeat homebuyer, navigating the home buying process remains a challenging undertaking.
Another study by OJO Labs analyzed the fear associated with buying a home for both first-time and repeat homebuyers. Participants were asked to quantify their level of fear on a scale of 1-100 that they experience with their homebuying experience. First-time homebuyers had a higher average score of 52.9, while repeat buyers cited a lower score of 50.7. Both surveys confirm a level of fear and anxiety that comes with the territory of buying a home.
However, when participants in the study were asked to rank the specific details about the home buying process, the difference between first-time and repeat buyers began to develop. First-time homebuyers were more concerned about personal finance: not affording their mortgage and taking on more debt. The number one fear for this group was the fear of missing out on better options available on the market.
For repeat homebuyers, their homebuying fears were connected more with the economic perspective of the market. Factors such as home prices continuing to increase and inventory continuing to decrease were at the top of their list of fears. With the study taking place during the height of pandemic buying, the frenzy of the seller’s market made a sizable impact on the outlook of repeat buyers.
To battle the fear of the unknown, start with the things you can understand and prepare yourself before facing the market. There’s only so much to do to control outside factors of the market, but getting yourself prepared to recognize when the moments right can be fruitful. Having a clear idea of your budget and expenses can help you figure out what mortgages you can afford and how to account for the additional cost of homeownership. With those factors in order, you can better determine which properties you come across are suitable.
Once you have found the right home, another critical step to avoid buyer’s remorse is getting your home inspection conducted by a professional. The home inspection report will provide you with a deeper understanding of the condition of the home and its various systems and give you insight into what homeownership will require of you. The information gained from the home inspection gives you a better foundation to decide whether the home is suitable for you and your needs.
Don’t worry; you are not alone if you feel nervous and overwhelmed as you begin your home buying process! The real estate market usually cools down during the Fall and Winter months. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), many buyers temporarily pause their house-hunting until the following year. Take this downtime to do your research and preparations to alleviate your homebuying fear. Once the market picks up again next year, you’ll be ready to find the perfect home!