First-time Home Owners: Should You Buy a House You Don't Love?
You found a house! You want to shout how much you love it from the rooftops. The only problem is you don't really feel that way about the house. It's fine. So, should you still buy it?
Unfortunately, there aren't any hard and fast rules. It all depends on what you don't love and your ability to fix it. So, ask yourself these questions.
What don't you like about it?
There are some things you can dislike about a house that are a major problem.
For example, if it has one bathroom and there are four of you. But if your major concerns are with the paint color and the fact that it doesn't have hardwood floors, then you're looking at more of a cosmetic issue that you can probably fix over the next few years (or the next few weeks if you're talking about paint).
Take an inventory of everything you like and dislike about the house so you can see the big picture.
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How bad is it?
Be honest. How bad is the problem, really?
We've seen people go both ways on this question. Some are so eager to get into their first home that they're willing to spin mold damage as a cosmetic issue or a bad neighborhood as getting in the ground floor of and up-and-coming area.
On the flip side, we've seen people suffering from intense buyer's remorse because the tile in the bathroom is Pepto-Bismol pink. You should talk to someone you know and trust who's owned a home for a number of years.
Can you fix it?
Just because something is fixable, doesn't necessarily mean you can fix it. There are plenty of tasks you can DIY to turn your first home into your forever home, but then there are plenty you'll need a professional to address. And if you need a professional that means you'll need a budget for it.
How's the location?
A bad location is something you can't fix and a good one is something that might make a not so great house a whole lot better. Is your home in a good school district? Is it near the gym, your favorite restaurant, or that park you love?
Is your timeline pressing?
Is your rental lease up at the end of the month and you'll literally be homeless if you don't buy a house today? Or are you staying with your parents and just can't wait to get out?
The first scenario is a tight timeline with very real consequences--and one that justifies being in like with your new home instead of in love. The second, while stressful in its own way, isn't a situation that should force you into buying something you don't love.
So, should you still buy it? If the things you don't love are things you can change, it might be worth it.