I’ve read many articles recently about buying a home. Most of these articles provide definitions, calculators and information about the process itself. That can be useful and beneficial, but may not be the best place to start your journey.
As the Architect of your own finances, consider how home-ownership fits into your personal portfolio. In my previous post “Becoming the Architect of Your Finances”, I shared that your personal portfolio is an ever-changing collection of Skills, Priorities, Interests, Community and Experiences. It is the unique SPICE that you add to relationships and decisions. Since this evolves over time, take a quick inventory of your personal portfolio to help clarify your next steps.
Skills – What types of skills do you have in maintaining a home? Do you enjoy cleaning, repairing, landscaping, and learning new skills needed to care for a home? Ask family or friends about some of the skills they’ve had to learn as a homeowner. Check out local hardware/home improvement stores for free workshops and online DIY videos.
Priorities – What is most important to you right now? How does your housing decision fit with your priorities and values? Think of how your living space impacts your health, social activities, finances, carbon footprint, flexibility and productivity. What changes could impact each of these areas in a positive way?
Interests – What do you really love doing for yourself? What type of living space would promote those interests? Do you want large windows to fill your rooms with light? Do you need privacy to practice music all hours of the night? Would you like to share a space or rent out a room? Is location more valuable than size or appearance? Start a list to use as a framework of what you really want.
Community– Identify people in your network that have the expertise or skills you may need. To save money, consider bartering with friends for tools/equipment you may need only occasionally. Look into possible discounts or special promotions you may qualify for based on existing relationships with your bank, insurance company or employer. What connections would you like to develop further and how will your housing promote that?
Experiences – This is what really makes a home. It should be your safe place, a sanctuary when you need to decompress. As you think about past experiences, use that to clarify what to look for and what to avoid. Imagine how your living space contributes to the experiences you want to have.
In every decision there are trade-offs. Take time upfront to consider what you are willing to give up in exchange for those things that really matter to you, at this point in your journey. Realize that your living space should reflect your individuality.