LeBron James will be making a very important life decision soon — he might have already made it by the time you read this blog. A lot of us probably can’t relate to LeBron opting to walk away from $20 million that the Miami Heat offered him, but there is no denying the fact that the next team he chooses to play for will define him. LeBron is making a decision that many of us 20-somethings reading this struggle with. What makes you loyal to your company or your position? What will it take for you to leave or at least begin looking for other opportunities? These are all important questions. This got me thinking about another important life decision that LeBron will be making. Ultimately, he will be deciding where he will be living. LeBron does have homes in both Miami and Cleveland, but the point is that wherever he decides to remain or “take his talents to” will be the place he calls home 90 percent of the year.
The decision on where we live is a life decision that is pretty encumbering. There are so many factors to think about: apartment, single family home or condo? Which part of the city? One bedroom? Two bathrooms? Roommates? An article in Forbes magazine titled “10 Valuable Career Lessons To Learn From LeBron James” hints at 10 things we can learn from LeBron’s “Decision,” when he left Cleveland for sunny South Beach. We all know about its aftermath, but there are valuable lessons to learn from it.
In this edition of The Mortgage Story by Victor B.R., I take those 10 strategies and explain how they can help you with your decision on buying a home. Not everyone is ready to buy a house, so it’s important to note that when I mention home, I am referring to a condo, house, apartment, etc. That decision may not be in the foreseeable future for some, but it will be a decision that can define your life when the time comes. There is nothing black or white about these scenarios. Our decisions are influenced by professional goals, personal goals and dreams that we establish early in life. These 10 strategies should help.
1) Define your brand…then own it- Know who you are. If you are a city slicker, love the suburbs or the country — own it! Nothing is worse than buying a home in an area that doesn’t fit your needs from a social and emotional standpoint. LeBron James defined himself as the King of Basketball and rolled with it. If you like the country, live in the country. If you love the loud noises of city nightlife, go for it. If you want two kids and a white picket fence, get yourself a minivan and buy that home.
2) Assign your own value- Know the value of home ownership, and make sure you are ready for it. If owning a home has no value to you now, don’t feel obligated to buy a home; continue to rent. Buying a home should be something of value to you. If it’s not, nothing good will come out of the ownership. It will just become a burden that you carry.
3) Continue honing your craft- If owning a home is something that you want to do in the next few years, start your research now! Continue that research until you are ready to get serious about it. Zillow — while not the best estimator — is a great place to start.
4) Position yourself to have options- If home ownership is a goal of yours, it is important to put yourself in a position to make that goal attainable. Think about what you want your first home to look like, and research how much it will cost. Start saving money, apply for jobs in the city you want to live in, and figure out where getting married or having children falls in your hierarchy of needs. It is important to have your goals parallel with your decisions.
5) Always keep your options open- Don’t just settle on a house, condo, loft, trailer, mobile home, new construction, etc. The choice is yours, but it is important that you look at everything when considering which option is best for you.
6) Be willing to compromise to get what you want- Your first home might not be your dream home, but that is ok. On average, people are in their first home seven or eight years. Families get bigger, people get job offers, they want to be in better school districts, etc. Unlike the baby boomers, your first home won’t be your last. It’s ok if it doesn’t have everything. You’ll get more in the next home, but even then, you’ll compromise.
7) Never play your hand before you’re ready to make a move- This is simple one: Make sure you get pre-approved before you actually go house shopping. If you want to avoid heartache, make sure you can actually be financed for the home you want to buy. Nothing is worse than finding a home you are in love with and discovering at the last minute that you cannot afford it. Talk to your mortgage banker, Victor Brown-Roberson, to get pre-approved.
8) Negotiate from a place of authority- When you are ready to buy a home, it will behoove you to have a reputable real estate agent. Contrary to popular belief, acquiring a real estate agent to help you find a home costs you nothing — it’s free! But don’t go fishing online. Ask your friends who have bought homes, or ask your mortgage banker, Victor Brown-Roberson.
9) Leverage your brand- You spent the time finding a good real estate agent, you know what kind of home you want, you have options, and you have a pre-approval. Act as such: Play the part, but as a buyer, don’t show the seller all your cards. You have aligned yourself with enforcements — let the seller sell you on buying.
10) Don’t burn bridges- The professionals you ask for help are there to guide you. Treat them as professionals, but also remember that they are doing their jobs, and they are doing the best they can. There might come a time when you need these people again, and word spreads fast.
When LeBron decided to leave Cleveland, it was a calculated decision. He was aware that money was being left on the table, but he wanted a ring — and he got two. This next decision will be a calculated one, too, but LeBron has put himself in a solid position by knowing his goals and following a plan. Eventually, you will be ready to buy home, and you owe it yourself to make sure “The Decision” is a well-calculated plan.
Thanks for reading,
The Mortgage Story By Victor Brown-Roberson
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