You’ve found the house. The location is perfect and the curb appeal ideal. Even the price is well within your range.
But those cabinets! The cabinets are… yellow! How could you ever start a life in a new home with the absolutely irreparable, wholly permanent and eternally intractable problem that is cabinet color?
If you’re rolling your eyes at the thought of walking away because of lemon-colored cupboards, you should be. Color is obviously an easy fix for a new home (as are weird cabinets, for that matter), but you’d be surprised by how many potential homeowners let trivial matters derail their entire process. Instead, asking yourself the right questions and doing some simple budgeting ahead of time can turn deal breakers into dealmakers.
What Can You Live With?
Avoid headaches before they start by deciding in advance what is really important. Are decades-old cabinets a no-go for you, or can you get creative and turn them into a way to negotiate the cost down?
What else can be addressed after a purchase? Obviously, you shouldn’t overlook structural damages, but things like appliances, colors, and landscaping can all be changed at a reasonable cost. Smart negotiators can use the eventual work they’ll have to put into the house to bring their cost down and their sweat equity up.
Are You Leaving Room For Growth?
Many first-time homebuyers consider how their family might grow in the next ten to twenty years. But many don’t consider how much their finances can grow in the next 12 to 24 months, if they play their cards right.
If you’re pre-approved for $500k, consider looking for a $300k home and use savings for upgrades and repairs. And if you’re a first-time homebuyer, take advantage of the minimal down payment required for an FHA loan and have extra cash on hand to take care of the most immediate needs.
Have You Considered Everything? Really?
Many homebuyers enter the process with a mostly complete list in their head of everything they want to change and everything they’re happy to fix later—or so they think. Once they actually get professional estimates, however, their budget is often blown.
It’s the difference between “How much do I think it costs to update kitchen cabinets?” and “The cabinets I like cost this much, and Acme Cabinets will do them for this much money.”
Writing everything down ahead of time and assigning real price quotes to them can make an enormous difference when negotiating, and can even help drive down your final closing cost. Without taking this step, you’re just asking for surprises later.
Buying a home on a budget isn’t impossible, but it can come with its own set of pitfalls. Having a trusted advisor at your side who’s been there before can do wonders for a first time buyer. Reach out today and start hunting for your dream home with confidence.