Thursday, January 21, 2010

House Hunters

I've been watching "House Hunters" on HGTV lately. For those who don't watch it, the home buyers look at 3 homes, usually one is within their price range, one is usually well above their price range and the third is either slightly above or below the price range. First of all, "price range" is basically how much financing the buyer can get. It doesn't neccessarily mean what the buyer can afford. The viewer gets to watch the buyer look at each property and then in the end find out which home the buyer chooses.

What I've learned from watching this show is that people have an amazing ability to talk themselves into more than they need. I'm always silently telling the buyers to go for the lower priced property. In most cases, the cheaper property is fine but there might be a few areas that will need some attention such as new carpet or new cabinets. Inevitably the more expensive property is chosen. The buyers have committed themselves to a mortgage payment that they will barely be able to afford because they didn't like the carpet and wanted a place that was "move-in ready". I wonder how many of them really purchased a "bankruptcy ready" property?

I am a home owner and if I could magically go back in time and counsel my younger self, I would tell myself to not buy this house and instead focus on eliminating credit card debt. I bought too much house for just me but thankfully I have two roommates that help out with the mortgage. I CAN afford all of my bills without their help but my debt elimination would come to a slow crawl. I'm fortunate that I have two roommates that trust. They help me with my mortgage and they get to live pretty cheap. However, despite my current good fortune, I still think purchasing a home when I did was a poor decision. The thing is, purchasing this house is part of the process that got me to a point where I FINALLY realized that I needed to make a change in my spending habits. If I hadn't bought this house, I would be in a completely different place in my life. Perhaps I would still be renting, perhaps I would still be racking up credit card debt. Hindsight is 20/20 but only for the exact set of circumstances that occur. Hindsight should be about preparing for the future, not wallowing in regret. So although I feel that purchasing this house was a bad financial decision, I'm better off financially now, because of that decision.

For those people on "House Hunters"...I really do wish them the best. I hope they are happy in their new homes and are able to really enjoy their life without the constant worry of how they are going to afford their lifestyle.

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