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I’ve learned that no matter how much you love a home, it all comes down to money.

I’m proud of myself for creating a budget and sticking to it. In fact, I would highly recommend that as step one when deciding you’re ready to purchase a home. My parameters were simply “less than or equal to what I’m paying in rent.” That helped my lender (and me) figure out how much I was comfortable affording.

With that being said, the house from my previous post that I needed is over budget. I tried to make myself comfortable with how the monthly payments added up but I couldn’t ignore the fact that I wasn’t okay with it. My realtor, who is amazing, said, “You have to love the house AND the price.” Preach. Which brings me to another lesson I’ve learned: House Hunters is a misleading representation of the home buying process. (It’s still my favorite show, though.)

I swear, in every episode the realtor takes the couple to at least one house where the buyers state, “WOAH, that’s way over budget.” And then the realtor says, “Yeah but there’s wiggle room.” And then the buyers walk in ready to hate it, and they end  up loving it! And all of a sudden, it’s like, what budget? (This is similar to the phenomenon on Say Yes to the Dress when Randy always says, “A woman should never try on a dress over her budget” and then when the women do it anyway, that’s the dress they want and somehow Kleinfeld’s always makes it work.) I just think that’s wrong of the realtors to bring them to a house that is soooo over budget. I mean, if it’s like $5,000 over budget, yeah I can see the wiggle room. $10,000 is pushing it. But sometimes they bring them places that are $20,000 or $100,000 over budget and sometimes that’s the one the buyers choose. Sigh.

Long story short, the house from the last post is out of the running because of money. Wu-Tang had it right when they said “Cash Rules Everything Around Me.” As much as I loved the house, the most important thing to me is how much my monthly payments are. I still want to be able to afford trips and vacations and the necessary upgrades to make the house my own. And in all honesty, I see all the homes I like as blank canvases that inspire me. Yesterday, I found an even happier medium and it’s the first one I didn’t hesitate when asked, “Are you ready to make an offer.”

Yes, I believe I’m ready.

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