The house isn’t haunted, but you are terrified.

It happens to everyone. You are enthusiastic, thrilled, overjoyed- you are going to buy a house! You become increasingly excited, dreaming about where it will be, how it will look, and about having cookouts with those awesome new neighbors. After tons of research on neighborhoods, mortgage rates, schools, agents, you begin to look in earnest. Then, one day, you find it. It’s perfect! (It’s perfect for you anyway, because at this point you have come to terms with perfection being elusive, and with compromise being a given. It doesn’t matter how much money you have. Really. Everyone compromises somewhere.)

Then comes the negotiation. You do well (with the help of your totally amazing agent, of course). You are actually getting a great deal! The road was long. You kissed a lot of frogs. Didn’t move quickly enough and lost a good one (or two).  But now, finally, you have a contract and you are just about to pee yourself (and maybe you do, just a little). You are sooooo excited!

Then it hits you.

What in the world did you just do? You are committing to how much a month? For how long? And what about that house down the block that you thought was just dripping with charm? Maybe that’s not “character”, maybe it’s neglect, or worse! What if the people that own it are having hard times and they are building a meth lab? Suddenly, every monster that has ever been under your bed has crept out to whisper stories of doom in your ear. Then your friends, with the best intentions, start sharing horror stories that would make the bravest buyer pale with fear. You are shaking in your shoes, and now the little bit of incontinence that you experienced before has reappeared for a totally different reason.

Do not fear.

I am here to tell you that you are not alone. First home or dream home, this is absolutely normal. Stomach weakness, clammy hands and outright shaking are common experiences. I have yet to meet someone who, during the process of buying a house, has not panicked at least one time during the transaction. It makes sense! This is a huge decision. It is one of the biggest investments most people make in their lifetime. It may not seem like it now, but it will all be okay. I don’t think I have ever had someone come up and tell me that they were sorry they had bought their house. Think about it, the decisions that led you to where you are were made with logic and forethought. Not to say that no home purchase has ever gone wrong. Of course they have! But usually the people involved have a good idea of what they are up against when they are going in. And those horror stories your friends told you -there was a piece of key information missing that would have explained why things happened the way they did.

With that said, you should also know that things will go wrong before you close, and it will still be okay. Appraisals don’t come in as expected; inspection reports show things that you weren’t aware of; emotions run high, the stress is intense;  and then, somehow, things come together. This is due, in great part, to your agent. While the world seems to be falling apart and your head feels like it is exploding, your agent has written your contract, negotiated the price and terms, is making sure deposits are timely, is attending inspections, requesting quotes, negotiating repairs, getting information to the appraiser, keeping the lender on schedule, negotiating repairs, and, well, keeping your head from actually exploding. (By the way, in case it isn’t obvious, you need an agent.)

It seems impossible, but this too shall pass. Before you know it, you will have closed, the monsters will be gone, and the fear will be a distant memory.

Then all you will have to do is unpack.

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