For me, buying a house always sounded better in theory than in practice. We’ve been in our current home for almost 16 years, and I’m comfortable on our street, in our neighborhood, and in the city of Cincinnati in general. It’s the longest I’ve ever lived in one place, and I’m not in any hurry to move again.
The process of buying a house can be fun if you take your time and know what you’re looking for. But it’s almost impossible to avoid stress when so many variables are at play simultaneously. Is the house you want actually in decent shape? Is the neighborhood or town a good fit? If you have kids, how are the schools? Can you really afford to pay the asking price? Are interest rates rising or falling? How many other people are looking at the same house? Will they outbid you? Do you have deadline pressures because of a job relocation? Are you buying and selling homes at the same time?
On top of everything, of course, is the voice in your head—maybe it’s your mother or father, maybe it’s your friend who just went through the same process, maybe it’s the writer of a recent New York Times article—reminding you that buying a house is the largest single purchase you’ll make in your entire life. The subtext isn’t subtle: Don’t screw it up.
There are a plenty of people in Cincinnati, of course, who think buying and selling houses is a total blast. They’re real estate agents, home builders, renovation experts, architects, staging consultants, bankers, carpenters, and others who operate in that world every day. Their primary job is to help us not screw up.
I think you’ll find this month’s “Where to Live Next” cover package helpful as well. We identify a number of neighborhoods and suburbs you should investigate if you’re starting the home-buying process, or know someone who is—areas that might be a little under the general public’s radar and where the ever-elusive “deals” can still be found. Whether you enjoy the home-buying process or, like me, endure it, we wish you good luck and happy hunting.