Buying property is really exciting. An awesome project that holds fantastic investment potential but similarly this major financial commitment carries a number of challenges along the way.
Each step - from finding the right place to legal issues, financing to moving - holds the potential to create massive hurdles for the keen property buyer. But beyond the obvious, buying property, and even more so when you decide to renovate, can have tremendous effects on your relationship. In fact, property buying a property is very straining on a romantic relationship. The romance probably is one of the life aspects suffering the most.
Here a list of things that can go wrong; at least from personal experience. If you have experienced others, feel free to share them in the comments section.
1. Finding an apartment
This is probably the most fun phase, because it takes place early on when you are still fresh and excited. But the longer it drags on and the tighter your available budget, the more exhausting the searching process becomes. But as exhausting as it might be, it is essential to get a good idea of what is out there. In fact, the more you look, the better your insight into the property market and its potentials.
2. Securing a mortgage
Many things can go wrong at this stage. You can read about our Odyssey if you want to get a brief glimpse.
From personal experience: The most important thing is to choose your bank wisely. Your mortgage provider has the power to postpone the buying process and make an enjoyable investment a gruesome and wearing one. In fact, your mortgage provider might turn out to be more of a burden than a helping hand.
3. Giving notice
This is something we really miscalculated. With all of the delays due to the mortgage, we ended up without an apartment for a few weeks. With our three months notice period, we misjudged the mortgage provider’s delays and while not yet able to move into our new apartment, we already had to leave our old rental.
We stayed with my girlfriend’s family for a while until the new place was ready to be livable.
If we had to give any advice, it would be not quit your apartment you are currently living in before not exactly knowing when the other property is ready for you to move in. While easier said than done given long notice periods and tight property markets in places like Paris, London, Tokyo or New York, make sure to strike some deal with the landlord to have at least the option to stay for an extended period if needs be. This might no always be possible, but always consider it to have a contingency plan.
This is very much related to 3. If you have a gap between moving out of your old apartment and moving into the new one, you’ll end up having to move twice. This adds unnecessary stress to the already quite nerve-wrecking process of buying, renovating, and moving.
If you opt for a property in need of renovation, beware that costs are likely to always be a bit higher than anticipated. On top, your craftsmen will need to be surveyed and checked upon on a regular basis.
When doing some renovation yourself, you tend to underestimate the actual work. Even when you are close to finishing, something new always pops up extending the renovation phase and the time that your property is fully ready to be moved in and decorated.
6. Time and Money
All of the above can be costly. The longer it takes for all parties – bank, notary, seller, craftsmen – to do their job, the more costly buying a property gets. From lost time that can be used for other productive work to money that could be invested elsewhere. With every day your mortgage provider wastes, your money is sitting in some easily accessible account for the purchase. During all that time your money will be unproductive not earning you additional crew members to speed up your galleon of wealth. It will also not be put to good use in your property investment project while time runs by and your money sits still.
7. Trying to do too much
Allow yourself some slack. Be prepared and have a game plan. But some things will always go wrong or turn out unexpected. Eventually they sort themselves out, but they cause additional stress and hassle nonetheless.
Delegate things and make sure that those around you will do their bit. If you are renovating yourself, take a step back and bring in experts to help you. Your health and relationships will thank you for it.
8. Energy and Stress
All of the above will drain your energy and increase your stress to very unhealthy levels. Be sure to take time just for yourself. Don’t get fully absorbed and entrenched in these stressful processes.
Even if it feels difficult to let go, be courageous and step away from the project for a couple of days. When you come back afresh, it will be a much more enjoyable and successful journey.
9. Have a partner
If you are buying with someone else, make sure the other person is a real partner and that you are both on the same page with similar expectations in terms of how you want to handle the investment and potential renovation process and with regards to what to do with the actual property. Do you want to live in, flip, or rent the property? Do you want to spend a lot or little? Do you want a luxury or a standard property?
If things as simple as the interior design or what notary, tradesmen, or bank to work with look impossible to agree on, better leave it be. This is a major financial commitment and it is of utmost essence to have similar ideas of the journey. It will save you lots of trouble in the long run.
10. Protect your relationship
Related to 9: Minimize the potential of property related issues to undermine your relationship. You will most certainly argue and disagree on occassions, but it’s crucial that you recover from those moments.
Try to understand your partner’s view, but similarly expect the same for your needs. You are financially and emotionally investing big so protect the relationship for you to enjoy the fruits of your hard labor together.