First off, I have to admit that I’d really like to have a “dream” home at some point in the future. Now, that ideal home wouldn’t be as lavish as many that might be seen on certain real estate reality shows, or what we might cook up in our minds. It would be a bit more modest yet still really nice, and probably very expensive. To the point of being well beyond my current budget.
Keeping that last sentence in mind, it brings up the question of how to save money when buying a dream home. After all, if a dream home offers many nice features and attributes, there’s a good chance it won’t be cheap. So, how can it be done?
Well, here is my suggestion on how to do it. It’s simple, and can be easily applied.
Don’t do it!
That’s right, don’t buy a dream home!
Forget about buying that dream home unless you’re wealthy to the point of having your current and future needs taken care of from a financial perspective. Note the word “needs”. We all have to distinguish between wants and needs, and this is a great time to do it.
Now, having a place to live is a need. One look at the personal finance hierarchy of needs can tell us that having shelter is a base-level need. We can’t live out in the wild!
However, if we live in a place that’s comfortable enough, safe, and within our budget – isn’t that meeting a need? I think so. Does having all upgraded features, living in a posh upscale neighborhood, or feeling awesome about how we have “made it” really fit the classification of being needs? Nah, I don’t think so. Do you?
Now, to be sure, we all value different things and have different needs. Depending on where one lives, it can be understandable to focus on buying a house in a good school district.
Or, perhaps you might really want to have a manageable commute. It’s realistic to consider the high cost of having a long commute to work. Some of those costs extend beyond the realm of money.
Anyway, all of that being said, we still have our own practical limits in terms of how much we should spend on a home. Nevertheless, we hear a number of comments that take a different approach
- “It’s good to stretch for the house you want”
- “I deserve my dream home”
- “Buying a home is different, because home is where the heart is”
These are paraphrased, but along the lines of actual comments I’ve heard.
The thing is, as the aforementioned hierarchy of needs puts into perspective, don’t we have other things that we need before having an aspirational home? You know, expenses such as:
- Medical Care
One might also include emergency funds and offering at least some help to kids and their college expenses. In terms of tradeoffs, it seems to be worth considering: am I shortchanging saving for actual needs, and instead allocating that money to a nicer house that I don’t need but simply want?
So there you go. The best way to approach getting a dream house is to ignore the impulse to actually get one. Rather, get a home that fits your budget and comfortably meets your needs. It will make for a happier life!
How do you feel about the idea of buying a dream house vs. one that’s just good enough and within budget?
Please feel free to share this post with anyone you know who is considering buying a home