Let’s say you are contemplating buying your first home ever. So you made yourself your favorite tuna sandwich, with the homemade bread you get every Sunday at the local Farmers’ Market. There is something grounding and comforting about those hand-carved slices, the dark green lettuce that spills out from every side and the tall glass of ice-cold root beer to accompany your feast. You are ready to dive into a detailed Internet search.
Hold on. Do you know where to begin? You know how it goes: Click after click, you will spend hours traveling the great cyberspace of knowledge, finding ever so detailed information that pertains to you, at times, and to everyone else, more likely.
Just as you began this endeavor by grounding yourself with a hearty dish, you might ground your thoughts at a wholesome starting point by answering a first, essential question: How much am I willing to spend on housing?
The next question does not come from a link on a website. It comes from real life experience. Let’s say your current rent is $700 a month, utilities included, and this is what you are willing to spend on housing. Before you seek out information about mortgages and down payments, get an idea of what the costs might be should you begin to pay for utilities, property taxes, and such separately.
Now, take a delicious bite from your energy-charged sandwich and think backward. Subtract the expenses you have identified from your current rent payment. What is left will give you a good idea of how much mortgage you can afford. Most of all, what is left will give you a good starting point to ask another down-to-earth question: What changes am I willing to make in my spending habits so that I can make this work?
Buying a home is a bit like rethinking your diet. It requires you to identify what you value most and what it truly means to have everything you need. Sometimes, all that is required are a few new ingredients. For example, the utilities and communications providers for your future home may offer better value and prices than what you have currently.
In the end, you may end up making more changes than merely moving your stuff from one home to another. As one idea found on a web page may link you to another idea, and then another, so will your real life moving experience lead to the questions that demand you rethink your space. This, far more than any Internet search, will help you create a home that truly fits your style.