The Realities of the Home Buying Process - Peter Thomson (Associate)
February 7, 2014
The first few weeks of the home-buying process happens quickly for first-time buyers, filled with excitement and anxiety as the home ownership dream turns in to a reality. Once the right home is found, buyers and their realtor start the negotiation process with the seller, and after a sleepless night or two, end with a signed offer of purchase and sale (hopefully).
Now it’s time for the reality check. It turns out that the contract which was signed is filled with terms and conditions which needed to be met yesterday. The congratulatory calls from relatives quickly turn to frantic calls to mortgage specialists and realtors, reaffirming details of their agreement. Home Inspectors and Property Insurers also enter the fray, raising issues with items never contemplated, such as outdated electrical panels or faulty plumbing lines . The emotional roller coaster now begins to descend as the underlying responsibilities about to be inherited for the rest of life, both financial and otherwise, suddenly enter the picture.
At the risk of being a buzzkill, I feel that our society puts an unfair emphasis on these first few days of the home purchasing process, which often leaves first-time buyers misguided and ill-informed. When viewers tune in to their favourite show to watch a buyer purchase their first home, they’re flooded with images of granite countertops and gleaming hardwood floors, with the buyer’s only decision being whether they choose the home with the walk-in closet or the one with a backyard pool. A more accurate depiction of the transaction might include a meeting at the lawyer’s office when young couples sign off on thirty pages of lender conditions and then present a cheque containing their life savings which barely covers closing costs (although somehow I don’t think TV networks would go for this.)
A first home should be celebrated for the milestone that it is. However I feel that the key to a successful transaction begins with a change in mindset from viewing a new home as a glorified consumer purchase to the more realistic approach of celebrating it as a change in lifestyle that it really is. Although the author admittedly misses the days of carefree living as a renter on occasion (usually when I find a property tax bill in my mailbox), I’ve found that the duties and responsibilities of home ownership has helped me become more effective at managing other major aspects of my life, which I feel is one of the true hidden gems of home ownership.
Note: The views and opinions expressed by the author are his own and don't necessarily reflect the views of the firm