When I first walked into my condo I knew instantly that it was going to be my home. It was one of the first I saw on my house hunting trip. At the time I was finishing up my second year of business school and my course load included a real estate class. In this … Continue reading
When I first walked into my condo I knew instantly that it was going to be my home. It was one of the first I saw on my house hunting trip. At the time I was finishing up my second year of business school and my course load included a real estate class. In this class it was discussed that you should always look at a minimum of 10 other properties before making a purchase. The process of seeing 10 properties helps insure that you have really found the best property and also makes you more confident in the price. So I diligently dragged my very patient parents around the city to see many more condos. At the end of two days of looking, all the time worrying that someone else was going to buy ‘my’ condo, we determined that I had indeed found the best one. It had been love at first sight.
Fast forward 7 years and this condo that I bought for myself now has four people living in it. I never imagined I would live here this long. However, we are having a particularly hard time finding a house we want to buy. And partially I blame this condo; I love it so much I do not want to move. I keep waiting for love at first sight with a house, and it is just not happening.
Which has me wondering, do you need to love your house? And if you don’t love it right away can you learn to love it? We have been looking at a wonderful house the last two weeks. And while it meets all of our basic criteria and I like the house, I do not love it. I was discussing this with a friend and she said the following:
i think you can definitely grow to love it. my apartment wasn’t love at first sight, though logically it made sense…and now i love it.
Ok. So what about from about a financial perspective?
Love at first sight
Love at first sight can be expensive. It certainly was with my condo. I saw it and while I could afford it (this is was before I came to this conclusion on housing budgets) I went way over my initial budget. In the long run this has worked out ok, but there have been times of stress along the way. And now that it looks like we’ll be taking at least a 20% loss on our condo, it would be nice if the purchase price had been less. It’s hard to negotiate a good deal on a property you have fallen in love with!
Luckily with my condo the place I loved also met all my criteria such as location, number of bedrooms, and baths. However, this is not always the case if you go with emotions. If you fall in love with a house you love but that is not the best overall fit for you, you may find you need to move again soon.
A house that meets your criteria but that you don’t love
With this scenario you are technically making a more rational decision, which is likely good in the long run. In addition, you are more likely to stick to your budget if you find a practical housing choice. The biggest risk with a house that meets your criteria but that you do not love is that you will need to move again because you eventually want a house you love. On the other hand, you could learn to love the house.
So I guess the results are a bit inconclusive. Obviously finding a house you love right away that is within your budget and meets all your needs would be ideal. Finding a house you love but that is not the best fit or a house you don’t love but that meets your criteria could both lead you to another move, which is expensive.
Once bitten twice shy
I have to admit I am warming to the idea of learning to love a house. Especially a house that is a good fit from a practical perspective. However, after losing so much money on my condo purchase I am hesitant to buy a house where we might need to move agin in a few years. You can lose money on a house even if you stay in it for 20 years, but it’s a lot less painful to lose that money over the long term. While this house was not love at first sight, I’ll wait to at least start loving it before we put in an offer. In the meantime, I hope that no one else wants to buy this house. Or that an even better house comes on the market!