The first step in buying a Wilmington area home should always be creating a budget. If you’re buying with a loan, that means getting pre-approved. If you’re paying cash, that means determining how much money you can afford to spend. Both options include taking into consideration lifestyle and future events that may affect your finances. Once you have done this, you will have a price range in which to shop for homes and we highly suggest you stick to this price range.
Looking outside your price range can lead to remorse. It’s easy to fall in love with a home that’s above your price range, because that home usually has better features, a better location, better community amenities, etc. Even if you don’t necessarily fall in love with the better home, it’s a reminder of what you can’t have and you’ll end up turning down home after home, because none of them quite compare. There’s ALWAYS something better. But, frankly, “better” isn’t always better.
By setting a price range, you’re saying, “This is what I can afford for myself and/or my family without putting any extra undue strain on our finances.” Extra strain is what leads to missed payments and future financial hardships like foreclosure, bankruptcy, or being house poor (unable to afford to do anything else with your life, because all the money goes to a mortgage payment) – years of avoidable stress and pain.
Still, people look, and they often think they can snag that better home with a drastically low offer. It doesn’t work. Unless the better home borders your price range and is overpriced by fair market standards, chances of convincing a seller to accept a significant amount less than what they have their home listed at are very well nil. They’re more likely to get offended and strike down your offer without a counter or negotiation.
The best option is to stick to your budget and your core needs (that extra bedroom for the new baby or the wired workshop for all your tools). Then, remember that you can always save money to add features later on, like upgraded cabinets and countertops or an additional bonus room. Secure what’s important now. Besides, you don’t know how your tastes or desires may change in a few years.