The Psychology Of Homebuying

The Psychology Of Homebuying


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When buyers start looking for homes, the stress level goes up. Yes, it’s true buying a home is a big financial and emotional decision. Worries about money and heightened emotions are certainly enough to elevate stress. But, those aren’t the only reasons blood pressure rises, tempers fray, and friendships (or marriages) become unraveled. Much of what causes human beings to act like savage animals when they buy a home comes under the category of psychology. Knowing why we’re behaving differently and what to do about it, can keep the stress levels manageable.

 We’re always anxious about the unknown, so we worry, we fret, we let fear freeze us into indecision. Not knowing what’s going to happen makes us block future plans. But, give us facts, figures, and a process, and we can envision a bright, positive future. Our anxiety level drops, and we start looking at the unknown as an exciting adventure. Then, we get into the action and start accomplishing things. This may be a stressful time for you, but you’ll need to move past your stress and focus on your goal: buying a home.

 According to the NAR, buyers take, on average, 12 weeks to find a home. But, that’s like saying the average family in the United States consists of one and one half children. Sometimes, a buyer can look at three homes, and decide one of those homes just exactly suits his purpose. Other times, a buyer can look for years.

Don’t look forever. A big mistake I see buyers make is to look for too long. If you can’t find a home to purchase within six months, you’re probably trying to find the “perfect” property. You’re the type of buyer who has made a four page list of all the features you must have.

 You’re the kind of buyer who tells the agent, “I’ll only move if I find exactly what I’m looking for.” Every time you see a home, you haul out that list and start checking off the features. You get more and more frustrated, because there’s not one home—not even one, that has even half of the 354 features you must have. Quit that right now! I know, from building a custom home, there is no perfect home, even if you think so when you design and build it yourself. Why? Your needs change, your lifestyle evolves, and your children grow up.

 While you’ve been running yourself ragged for ten months searching for all those features, a home that would fit your needs has come and gone. Some savvy buyer has  snapped it up, is taking advantage of the tax write-offs, and enjoying actually living in the property! So, take some advice from an observer of frustrated buyers:

Don’t focus on an exhaustive feature list! Raise the priority of the property site and surroundings and the area amenities. Pick the five features you just must have.

Envision the possibilities for improving the home’s features to your specifications. Remember, you can enhance the features in a home (for instance, by adding a bedroom), but you can’t really change the home setting or the area. Identifying your dominant buying motive goes a long way toward freeing you from the tyranny of trying to find a home with the right 354 features.

Don’t become a professional “looker.” Agents have a term for the buyer who loves to look, but never makes a buying decision: The “looky-loo.” Agents find this person easy to identify, because he knows more about the properties for sale in the area than the agent does! What the agent also knows is this person will likely never buy a home.

Here’s an observation from one who’s watched dozens of homebuyers keep themselves in indecision. I think some buyers really don’t want to buy a home. That’s why they have those four page feature lists. I think what they find fascinating about the homebuying process is seeing properties and evaluating them. They love to compare properties with their features lists. They tell their friends how hard it is to find their perfect home. They don’t know they’re cleverly avoiding making a buying decision by rejecting every property. 

If you find yourself becoming a “looky-loo,” get together with your buying partner and your agent and decide whether you just may not want to buy a home now. That’s fine. Waiting until you are ready is better than wasting your time and your agent’s time. When you’re ready, you’ll be ready to find the perfect home, but you’ll also be ready to compromise.

If the buying process is stressing you out, we can help! Contact us today!

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