Thursday, May 17, 2012

...Buying a Home

At work, as in life, you’ll have to make some very important decisions. Only none of them will come as close to home as literally buying one.

The anxiety felt with any risky investment is unmatched with the feeling when it’s your name on the check - and not your company’s.

So maybe the next time you’re faced with making high level business decisions, you could look at some Home Buying Tips to help you through them.  

The Ten Things I Learned Buying a Home

1. Define a target and goal
When buying a home each of us place a great deal importance on different things, starting with the location, to the school, to the finishes in every room. Before beginning a home search, you probably take a minute (or twenty) to write down the things you’re looking for - which, ultimately, should help your search. In your office environment, you need to be clear what it is you want before going to get it- simply put, it’s having a clear target and goals.

2. Aligning with others
Buying a home may sometimes bind you into the ultimate partnership. Although many might buy their first home as a “sole proprietor” straight out of college, most probably sign up as a team with their spouse or significant other. Gaining alignment with that other investor will be crucial to keep the partnership strong. At work, maintain your business relationships healthy through alignment, setting those clear goals, and working collaboratively towards them. 

3. Search for advice to broaden your perspective
After you’ve set your goals and aligned with your partner, you might want to run the idea by others who’ve gone through similar situations - like friends and family who’ve bought a home and had to run the same investment exercise. Ask around for their help to broaden your perspective. In work, there are endless options of business support you can count on for advice and perspective – your peer, your mentors, your boss, and theirs. Remember in most cases, they probably have faced similar decisions to those you need to make.   

4. Consider alternatives
Focusing in on a home too quickly can potentially leave out better options. Although you should be focused and selective on what you are pursuing, don’t leave aside alternative options by deciding too soon. By staying single-minded you have pre-chosen the path. Home buying is just one solution to the situation better defined as “needing a place to live”. If you take a step back and consider renting or building your options just grew. Consider broader alternatives when deciding at work. It’s not whether you should do A or B, it’s whether you’re looking at the right alphabet altogether.

5. Be selective
Now, the opposite of considering alternatives is being selective. Many times you’ll be tempted to make decisions that go against your original goal – like buying a home bigger than what you truly need. So after considering your alternatives, narrow down the options to those that best match your goal and lock in on your dream home. At work, you can spend too much time deviating around big ideas that take you down different paths. Always come back to your main goal and check before you decide. But make sure you decide.

6. Ask for help from the experts
Unless you are in the real estate field, buying homes probably isn’t your expertise. For a time, you’ll have to maintain your current job, your personal life, and balance an additional project – an expensive one too. You shouldn’t expect to know it all, so rely on those who do: the realtors whose job it is. In your business environment don’t be shy – or cheap – to ask for help. It can come in many ways, from bosses and peers to some of the fanciest and most expensive business consultants.

7. Revisit your decisions
By now you should be convinced that buying a home is an important – and risky – decision so make sure it’s the right one. Don’t be too quick to decide and take your time visiting over and over again; asking once and another time, until you are certain you are ready to go. At work, ask yourself, and ask others, over and over again until you have all the information you need to make the final decision.

8. Make others work for your business
Unless you have a lot of money sitting around, you’ll need to work with a bank for that large home investment. It’s a great opportunity to shop around for the best terms and rates and have them match and beat each other for a result that benefits you. It’s a simple call away to ask that second bank “can you beat what I got elsewhere?” You probably have multiple suppliers and vendor at work; shop around for better rates and terms that improve your business too. 

9. Practice negotiating strategies
No matter how many courses and trainings you take in negotiations or how many years you work in sales you can never be too good at it – particularly with the inevitable buyer’s remorse that comes with such a large personal investment. Have a clear negotiating plan when you kick off the process in that first purchase offer, and like in chess, anticipate your opponent’s every move. In the office, practice as much as you can negotiating, from the less risk co-worker favors to the bolder managerial requests like salaries and promotions.

10. Takes some risks
And finally, you need to make that final decision - enough of exploring alternatives, gaining alignment, and reconsidering your moves, now it’s time to buy. At this stage, you should be ready to take the risk. Hopefully, you’ve learned in life that nothing is perfect, so you have to make the best of it. Decisions need to be made to keep a successful business running, if you’ve done your proper homework, you should be ready to make it. So go ahead!

Unless you have a personal business, you never truly feel the same level of stress and risk when making business decisions as when making personal ones, particularly when it’s a costly one.

Ironically, I’m writing tips on home buying when I haven’t been that successful myself but that’s not to say that the home-buying process hasn’t taught me some valuable lessons along the way.

The day will come, where I continue these blogs from my home, sweet, home.