Hello Home Buyer,
Congratulations for taking the first step towards Home Ownership! Buying a home is one of life’s most important financial decisions, it is a beautiful thing, but it comes with a lot of stress. Not only is it a huge financial commitment, but it’s also difficult on our emotions, psychology and cognition. We want to buy a home that comes with a reasonable price tag, has all the unique features we like and is located in a safe and nurturing environment. It doesn’t seem like too much to ask for, right? But, there is more to the home buying process than we think, and more introspection should take place before making the decision to buy a home.
To begin, when buying a home it is pivotal that we act in a financially responsible manner and are clear that the choices we make today fundamentally shape our future. With that being said, when one is purchasing a home, one should be able to see how it affects future financial transactions. First, we must take financial responsibility. Securing a home loan is one thing, but its important that we know how assets support us through retirement and where a home fits in the overall scheme of things. I am not a Financial Advisor, however, I work alongside a team of knowledgable Finance experts who can expound on the significance of the financial aspect in purchasing a home.
To further complicate matters, when starting a home search we don’t just choose a home to buy, we fall in love with that one home we believe is everything that we want. Now, this “falling in love” could be an illusion or it could undoubtedly be the dream home you’ve always wanted and will eventually purchase. For example, during the initial visit of a house we often get love struck within the first 15 seconds of walking into the property. Thus, we convince ourselves that the home feels perfect and start imagining our furniture and home decor designs.
This “love at first sight” is an emotional response to seeing something that is appealing to us. However, thinking only with our emotions should be avoided because it can lead to regretting the decision once the home is already purchased. Think of it like impulse shopping, you go splurging in a store, only to get home and find that the clothes/shoes are not so flattering so you return all the items the next day. However, buying a home is not that simple, and once you buy a house its not as easy as bringing a receipt to the seller to get a refund.
I encourage home buyers to shop around, even if they think they have found their dream home, for the following 4 reasons:
1. You might find similar features in another home– with a lower asking price.
2. You will learn more about each homes resale value. By learning the neighborhoods, and gauging the homes you can see which homes are over developed in the area. Which is useful information when it comes time for you to sale the home in the future.
3. You will catch the red flags before you rush in. Think of buying a home as a marathon not a race, rushing to the closing table you are likely to miss maintenance issues in a home and more. But, like in a marathon, when making a big decision such as buying a home you need extreme focus, strategy, energy and awareness.
4. You won’t wonder if “the grass is greener” around the corner. Surveying your options will also help prevent buyers remorse. Instead of feeling like you made a mistake, you can go into closing confident that you made the best decision.
Emotions are typically the first stop in the decision-making process, but they aren’t the last stop. Logic comes in when rationalizing the decision that you want to make. Together, emotions and logic pair to become a decision-making powerhouse when shopping for a home.
To add to the expected financial and emotional stress when buying a home, the one thing we often over look is the psychological process of buying. The whole home buying process forces us to separate what we think we want from what we really want. And let’s face it, most of us don’t really know what we want! We think we are only concerned with the price, aesthetics, location and resale value, but there is more to it on a deeper level. In fact, it’s not just about the home. When we’re considering purchasing a home, we are not only buying the house, we are also buying into a lifestyle. When buying a home we must understand the psychology of a home buyer, to prevent unnecessary stress and know why we want what we want.
There are 7 things that home buyers consider during the home buying process:
1. Emotions – The navigation source we use that leads us to “why” we want the house. We can’t quantify it, or describe it, but we can “feel” it.
2. A Home that tells a story – We want to know what the walls would say about a home, if they could talk! Hearing stories from previous owners can help prospective buyers relate and form an emotional attachment to a home.
3. The Perceived Value – Buyers are motivated by wanting to ‘win’ the battle against the seller by getting as much value as possible. Added value is a top priority to any shopper, the goal is to get the most bang for your buck.
4. The Vision of an Ideal Lifestyle – Home buyers are not just buying a home, they are buying into the lifestyle that comes with the home. The community, the parks, the local shops, restaurants, schools, etc.
5. Cultural Superstitions – (If one subscribes to the idea of superstitions), something as simple as a certain house number could be a sign of bad luck and cause a buyer to deem a property uninhabitable.
6. First Impressions – Many buyers say it is all about location and price, but looks are a major factor as well. If a home is staged, green friendly and has tech features, some may be more inclined to purchase rather than seeing an empty home with no furniture or no “bells and whistles.”
7. Social Proof – The Real Estate business is built on relationships and trust. Home buyers want to know that they are dealing with a reliable Realtor. So, they want to see results, client testimonials, and professional qualities in the Realtor they will be working with.
We readily and unconciously become invested psychologically in a property before we’ve reached a rational decision. Knowing the psychology behind your feelings can help create a better, less stressful and more calibrated home buying experience.
Shopping for a home is also, cognitively challenging. At some point the inspections, the appraisal and the price negotiation impose cold rigor on the hot process of home buying. You don’t know what the seller is thinking, or if you’re getting shafted in the process. Tensions rise, uncertainty and doubt creep in and defenses are cognitively elevated. To have your finances take a major blow with a big down deposit, your emotions all over the place, being psychologically stressed and on top of all that have dissonance during the home buying process is too stressful to go through alone. It is wise to employ a licensed Real Estate Agent, to help guide you through the process, keeping your best interest in mind at all times (see Figure 1 below).
Nonetheless, buying a home no matter how strenuous, and exhausting it can be, is still one of the greatest satisfactions in life. There is nothing like being able to have a place to call your own, and be able to create lasting memories in with your family.
Home buyers, I am so excited for you and your journey to home ownership and I look forward to assisting you each step of the way!