Everyone will tell you what you need to buy your first home:
- good credit
- steady income
- plenty of savings.
Is that all? Or do some first home buyers have character traits that will make them more successful than others?
In ten years of holding home buyers’ hands, I’ve definitely seen that some buyers have a better experience than others. And it’s not usually money or credit that makes the difference.
Character Traits of Successful Home Buyers
The list could be longer. But these traits make the biggest difference.
As someone who teaches home buyer classes, a curious learner makes my heart swoon. But it’s also a great trait to make you a better home buyer.
Why? Because curious people dig deeper to figure things out. They browse online for down payment help. They figure out whether they should apply for a 30 year or 15 year mortgage. They ask about every closing cost. And sometimes they even find charges they shouldn’t be paying at all.
Impatient people make bad decisions.
They don’t take home buyer classes. They visit only one mortgage lender. They buy the first house they’re interested in.
A little patience can save you thousands and make you happier in the long-term.
Not Easily Bored
I won’t lie to you. Disclosures and mortgages make dull reading.
In truth, most people don’t even try to read them.
But if you can put your boredom aside and read all the home buying paperwork that crosses your eyes, you won’t make big mistakes. Like one easily bored home buyer who didn’t realize she had gotten an adjustable rate mortgage until five years after closing. True story.
If you’re buying a house in the spring in a busy market you might find it hard to get anyone to return your calls.
It’s time to put on your persistence panties.
When you need an answer you’ll have to follow up. And follow up again.
And you’ll persist yourself right into a house you’ll love.
I’ll never forget meeting the couple who couldn’t compromise on anything.
They were only interested in houses in one neighborhood. The house had to be in perfect condition. And it had to cost less than $200,000.
It took two years of being disappointed but they finally learned to bend. I wonder how much better their experience would have been if they were flexible from the beginning.
I hear the same thing every few months: “My real estate agent is making me nuts. She…” Fill in the blank—never answers my texts, keeps showing me houses I can’t afford, is always late for showings, or whatever.
My response? “Have you told her how upset you are?”
“Oh, no. I’m thinking of just finding someone else.”
How do you expect someone to do a good job for you if you don’t talk to them? Remember, as a home buyer, you’re the boss. And you need to tell the people working for you what you want them to do.
A Good Sense of Humor
Whether you’re buying a house, getting married, giving birth, or having a root canal, a sense of humor makes everything easier.
Sometimes you just have to laugh.
Let’s face it, real estate listings are just hilarious. And after touring the twentieth house that looks nothing like the pictures you’d better laugh. Because if you don’t, you’ll just cry.
Work On Your Self
When you’re doing something stressful it’s a good idea to work on yourself and not just your finances.
I joke in my classes that home buyers should take up yoga or meditation before they get too far into the process. But being stressed out is no joke.
So while you’re doing all the financial things that every tells you will make you a successful home buyer, don’t forget to work on the character traits that you’ll need just as much.