Buying a home in the Berkshires is indisputably exciting. Living in Western Massachusetts is healthy decision offering fresh clean air, the mountains and plenty of outdoor activities for the active lifestyle. The possibilities buying a home brings, the new memories to be made, the feeling of independence and freedom that come along with being a homeowner are no doubt enticing. However, buying a home in the Berkshires is also a big decision to make. It takes time, energy, research, and patience to find the one that’s right for you. It’s important to be realistic and practical when buying a house. That sensibility begins before you even start to draw up your “wants and needs” lists. It starts when deciding when the right time is to begin the house-buying process. What better way to identify the “right” time than by highlighting the “wrong” times or reasons to become a new home owner? So, let’s get to it:
- When you’re planning to move soon. Buying Lenox or Stockbridge real estate is most cost-effective when the owner plans on staying put for at least a few years. If you’re uncertain of your future and cannot commit to one location for a few years, buying a home may not be the smartest move.
- Your finances are not where they need to be. Whether it be debt, an uncertain job situation, or less-than-sturdy savings account, buying real estate or a home is an expensive endeavor. If you have the money for the down payment on a Berkshires home, have comfortable savings, and are aware of the upfront costs and following upkeep expenses involved with owning a house, then you’re on the right path to buying a Williamstown home. Anything less than a reliable and sturdy financial situation may lead to some financial distress further down the road. This distress can be avoided by being fiscally smart and prepared.
- But everyone else is doing it…Peer pressure can extend beyond high school walls. You see friends and family members buying a Berkshire home or a second home in the Berkshires and planning to settle down and you want to follow suit. Great! If that’s what you want, go for it (responsibly). But if you’re doing it because you feel like that’s what is expected of you, for the image, or merely just to “fit in”, pump the brakes. Everyone moves at their own speed and what’s right for someone may not be right for someone else. Trust your gut and put you first. Pay attention to what you really want regardless of expectations or what seems to be expected of you. High school is a thing of the past so don’t let a high school mentality derail your path.
- Bad credit. Buying a Great Barrington house can be difficult regardless of your credit score. However, the better your credit, the better your chances for a loan or mortgage. Credit takes time to build so it’s never too early to start improving your score.
- Home inspection isn’t a priority. It is a big gamble to buy a Berkshires home without it being inspected beforehand. Unless the paint is still wet on a brand-new home, the history of a Berkshire house is a relative mystery. Don’t skimp on an inspector.
Who knows what lurks within the walls or how well the foundation has held up? Do yourself a favor and account for a home inspection in your home-buying budget.
- You don’t know what you want! This seems like a no-brainer but don’t buy a home in the Berkshires if you don’t know what you want. Maybe from the sidewalk, houses don’t always look as different as they really are. Make two lists: needs and wants. Do you need to be close to schools? Do you want an office space? There is no “need” or “want” too big or small to make it on the list. If you view homes with a “oh we can install/fix that later…” attitude, your price tag is going to skyrocket. Why not prepare your expectations to make the viewing process easier even if that means taking a little longer to find the perfect fit? As we said before, buying a house takes time, energy, and plenty of deliberation.
When it comes down to it, do you know what you want and can you afford it? Plan to spend a lot of time, energy, patience, and money when buying a home in the Berkshires whether it is a second home or your primary residence. It’s important to not let your excitement overshadow your pragmatism. Being cautious and prepared is essential when buying a house. Your future home-owning self will be glad you were.
Caldwell, Miriam. “5 Reasons You Should Buy a House and 5 Reasons You Shouldn't.” The Balance, 29 June 2017, www.thebalance.com/should-you-buy-house-2385721.
Striepe, Becky. “10 Reasons Not to Buy a House.” 10 Reasons Not to Buy a House, HowStuffWorks, 8 Mar. 2011, home.howstuffworks.com/real-estate/buying-home/10-reasons-not-to-buy- house10.htm.