Buying a Home? Beware These Compromises

Without a doubt, compromise is an important part of the home-buying process. In fact, you are almost guaranteed to come up empty-handed unless you are willing to forego some of those items on your dream house checklist. Unfortunately, there is a fine line between making reasonable compromises and living with regret. No matter how frustrated you might become during the search for a new home, the following are some compromises that aren't worth making.

1. Settling on inferior schools

This one applies mostly to home buyers who have or are planning on having children, but it can also affect homeowners without kids. First, the obvious: if you value education, buying a home outside your preferred school district could become a source of regret for years to come. However, even if you have no children, homes in better school districts tend to appreciate faster than those in worse districts. A key factor to keep in mind is that it's not all about distance; sometimes, school district boundaries are not as straightforward as you would imagine. You should be sure to double-check the district lines before closing.

2. Ignoring the floor plan

Yes, any home can be renovated to fit an owner's vision, but do you have the time, patience, and finances to support those renovations? Taking out a wall to make an open kitchen is probably doable, but major changes such as adding or moving rooms are easier said than done. Instead, limit yourself to looking at homes that fit your general layout and size needs, then work from there.

3. Blowing your budget

This one might seem obvious, but it's worth repeating: stick to your budget! If you begin your home search and find nothing within your price range, then the safest option is to bide your time until your finances change or a home becomes available. Resist the temptation to stretch your budget on more house than you can afford; the money might not seem like a big deal at first, but it can have massive financial consequences down the road.

4. Hating your commute

Some people like driving, and others hate it; you know which one you are. Regardless, be sure to actually drive the route from a potential house to your job before considering a compromise. Ignoring an increase in your commute sets yourself up for a huge quality of life reduction. If you currently commute 30 minutes to your job twice a day and already dislike it, raising that time is likely to make you miserable. Sure, you've found a great house that's an hour from your job, but will owning it make up for the 2 hours a day you spend in traffic?