How to Buy a House: A Step-by-Step Guide to Financial Ruin and Emotional Turmoil

How to Buy a House

Ah, buying a house. It’s the ultimate adulting milestone, isn’t it? Forget marriage, kids, or landing that dream job; nothing says “I have my life together” like a mountain of insurmountable debt tied to a physical location that you can’t escape without a lawyer. So, let’s get you on the fast track to property ownership, shall we? Buckle up, future homeowner — you’re in for a wild ride.

Step 1: Make Sure You’re Financially Unstable

First off, let’s get this out of the way: stability is boring. You don’t want a savings account bursting at the seams or a reliable income. Those things are for people who like predictability and financial health — yawn. Instead, make sure you’re teetering on the edge of financial ruin. It’ll make the process of buying a house far more exciting.

Step 2: Obsess Over House-Hunting Shows

Watch an unreasonable amount of HGTV. Fill your head with unrealistic expectations of what you can afford and what renovation actually involves. Remember: Every good homeowner knows how to identify a load-bearing wall, even if they don’t know what “load-bearing” means.

Step 3: Pick a Real Estate Agent Based on Their Instagram

We all know the mark of a great real estate agent is not their experience or customer reviews but their Instagram feed. If they don’t have at least one photo with a sold sign or using the hashtag #LivingTheDream, are they even in real estate? Extra points if they have a picture of themselves holding a giant key. It’s like a rite of passage.

Step 4: Don’t Set a Budget

Budgets are for quitters. You’re in it to win it. Go house hunting without any idea of what you can actually afford. Take it from me, the thrill of falling in love with a house that’s way out of your price range and then desperately trying to rearrange your life to make it work is incomparable. Will you succeed? Probably not. But hey, it’s about the journey, not the destination.

Step 5: Prioritize Superficial Features

Granite countertops? A must. Vintage, distressed wood flooring that’s terribly impractical? You absolutely need it. Don’t worry about things like “a good foundation” or “quality schools in the area.” Focus on what really matters: that the place is Instagrammable.

Step 6: Ignore Your Future Needs

A single-bedroom condo is perfect for you, your partner, your two cats, a dog, and the family you plan on having in the next two years. Why think about tomorrow when today is already a mess? Trust me, kids love sleeping in laundry rooms and pantries. Builds character.

Step 7: Treat the Open House Like a Casual Visit

When attending open houses, make sure to gloss over important details like cracks in the foundation or water damage. Instead, spend your time discussing the awful wallpaper in the guest bathroom. I mean, who picks that pattern anyway?

Step 8: Embrace the Art of the Lowball Offer

You’ve found the house of your dreams, or, well, the house you think you can afford without selling a kidney. Now’s the time to offend the seller with an offer so low it makes Scrooge look like a philanthropist. Sure, you might risk losing the house to someone more serious, but think about the bragging rights if your ludicrous offer gets accepted! Worst-case scenario: you’ll be blacklisted by every real estate agent in town. No biggie.

Step 9: Freak Out Over the Home Inspection

Ah, the home inspection — a rite of passage where you discover your dream house is actually a glorified cardboard box with cute shutters. Prepare yourself for discovering that the “minor fixes” the real estate agent mentioned are on par with patching up the Hoover Dam with duct tape. Don’t worry; you can always negotiate or, you know, cry.

Step 10: Discover Your Inner Lawyer During Contract Review

Contracts are for the detail-oriented, and you, future homeowner, are a big-picture kind of person. Skip over the boring parts, like contingencies, and head straight for the part where you see how many zeroes are at the end of your future debt. Keep a bottle of champagne — or antacids — handy.

Step 11: Experience the Joy of Paperwork

Thought you were done after signing your life away? Ha! Get ready to provide documents you didn’t even know existed. Birth certificates, tax returns, your third-grade report card — they want it all. And you’ll happily oblige because you’re just steps away from that sweet, sweet mountain of debt.

Step 12: Wallow in Buyer’s Remorse

Once your offer is accepted, you’ll probably feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. This will last precisely 37 seconds, replaced swiftly by gut-wrenching anxiety. Did you make the right decision? Could you have found a better place if you’d just looked a little longer? Too late now, buddy. Welcome to the rest of your life.

Step 13: Close the Deal and Celebrate, Sort of

You made it to closing day! As you initial and sign documents you don’t fully understand, you’ll start to question all your life choices leading up to this moment. When you finally get the keys, you won’t know whether to jump for joy or fall to your knees and weep. Do both. It confuses the neighbors.

Step 14: Move In and Discover New Problems

Congratulations, the house is yours! Now you get to discover all the issues that somehow slipped past the inspection, the walk-through, and your own common sense. It’s okay; you were going to renovate anyway, right? And by “renovate,” I mean put potted plants over the holes in the wall and call it “boho chic.”

Step 15: Become an Unwilling DIY Expert

In an effort to save money, you’ll soon find yourself deep into the world of DIY home improvement. How hard could it be? The answer is very hard, but you won’t realize that until you’re $300 deep in supplies from Home Depot and your living room looks like a failed Pinterest project.

Congratulations! You are now a certified, bonafide homeowner, complete with a mortgage you can’t afford, a house you only kind of like, and an ever-growing list of things to fix. But hey, you’ve got that property tax bill to look forward to. Isn’t adulthood fun?