I’ve been working with homeowners for many years and I discovered long ago that eager buyers set themselves up to fail by taking the wrong approach in their excitement of making what is often the largest purchase of their lives.

Whether I’m advising couples, divorced women, single men or anyone else across all demographics, the majority of these home buyers start house-hunting with the amount of money in mind that has been determined with their pre-approval. It’s a mistake and can lead to serious financial issues.

The question I start with is a simple one: What do you need to live happily and comfortably over the next several years? That change of mindset–focusing on their needs rather than what the bank tells them they can afford–makes a huge difference.

Let’s face it: in many ways, we are a nation of impulse buyers. Why buy a Toyota when you can buy a Lexus, right? I’ll tell you why. Because you can’t afford it. You only think you can.

First-time homebuyers often find themselves in serious debt when they learn of unexpected costs to maintain their homes in addition to their monthly mortgage payment, property taxes, utility bills and more. Then suddenly one winter they have ice dams and roof repairs and mold remediation. The typical homebuyer thinks of a dream home, not a nightmare scenario that stretches their budget to the limit and beyond.

When buyers work with me they have a professional who helps them make practical decisions that will serve them well over the life of the mortgage. Consider me the reality check you never asked for, but really need. You can’t put a price on good advice, but you can always afford it. I’m happy to help.

Ready to buy a new home or refinance the one you own? Please get in touch and I’ll be happy to answer your questions and help guide you through the process. I look forward to speaking with you.