Falling in love with a house
Did you watch the Royal Wedding? I guess I can't say it was un-American not to watch, but I can definitely say that it was un-romantic not to watch. Will and Kate represented the best part about being in love – glowing, relaxed and comfortable with each other, exactly like the way you should feel when you've finally found the home you're in love with.
Unfortunately, falling in love with a house can be just as emotional and expensive as falling in love with flesh and blood. You may walk away from a property thinking, "If I can't have this house I can't go on." Sound familiar? Well, believe me, not only can you go on, you have lots to go on to.
There's never been any time in the history of the modern real estate market where there is so much inventory available. This is a buying environment where you would be best advised not to fall in love or even have a school girl crush.
What you do have to do is get out there and take a look at everything even remotely in your price range and in the area you're interested in. And when I say remotely in your price range, give yourself a wide margin. Although asking prices appear to be bottoming out, there are, unfortunately, too many homeowners who for financial reasons must sell as quickly as possible leaving the door opened just a little wider than others.
Scour the Internet like you were looking for your college boyfriend. www.realtor.com has anything that's on local multiple listing services, www.trulia.com has some interesting if not always accurate pricing information, and every real estate company's website has its properties listed, as well as multiple listing properties available. Find one of these sites that you're comfortable with and check it frequently. You can even program trulia.com to send you an e-mail when new properties in specific zip codes come on the market.
Internet searches do not, however, take the place of personal visits to available properties. The internet is a great way to triage properties that fit your criteria, but until you get out and really beat the bushes on foot, you can't make an informed decision.
Sometimes when there's too much to choose from, it's easy to forget your priorities. You may have only wanted a three-bedroom house with updated bathrooms, but for a little more you can get the five-bedroom with 10 shower heads in the master bath. Ask yourself can you really afford the little more, and more importantly, do you really need it? Remember the orange five-inch pumps that were on sale.
And when you finally do find the one that you fall in love with, don't overlook the boring legal side of the transaction. Mortgage contingencies, home inspection, surveys and title insurance may not be sexy, but neither is pumping gas even though we all need to do it.
An important thing to never forget is that whether your price range is $200,000 or $2 million, there are no perfect houses. And even though Will and Kate may look like the ideal couple, I bet if you look under their eaves, you'll find some chipped paint. Live with it or don't take those final vows.