Photo: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty Images

4 of 5
Be Smart
Don't go in over your head all the while praying that conditions you can't control will adapt perfectly to your needs. Your mortgage or renovation budget should not be based on the hope that at some vague, blissful moment down the road you'll have a higher income so you can pay off a loan, or you'll be able to sell at a huge profit because real estate values have soared.

There is simply no guarantee that's how things will work out. A scheme that requires holding your breath for the financial planets to align in your favor can become a disaster.