Buying a home is exciting, and in many cases, sentimental. But if you allow your emotions to get the best of you during this process, it can lead to a decision you’ll ultimately regret. When buying a house, logic should take precedence over emotions, and you’ll need to keep your emotions in order when searching for houses.
But how exactly are you supposed to do this, and why is emotional decision making a bad thing when buying a house?
How Emotions Can Compromise Your Decision
Let’s start by explaining some of the ways that emotions can compromise your homebuying decision:
- Trying to get the best possible deal. Aggressive bargain hunters often take measures to find the best possible deal, no matter what. While it’s certainly a good thing to try and get a lower price on a good home, for some people, this becomes an obsession. Instead of being about improving the deal, it becomes a win-or-lose situation. Accordingly, you might pass on a good deal because you don’t see it as the “best” or simply because you feel like you can do better. It’s your competitive side coming out, and it could cause you to end up losing big.
- Buying a house due to nostalgia or sentimentality. Nostalgia is a complex emotion, as is sentimentality. If a house looks like the one you grew up in, or gives you a subjective feeling of comfort, it can be hard to overlook some of its other flaws. Unfortunately, the look and feel of a home has little to do with its structural integrity, neighborhood placement, and potential future. If you’re only making the decision based on your gut feeling, it’s going to work against you.
- Falling in love with a house. At some point, you’ll likely “fall in love” with a house, but this comes with some problems; once you’ve emotionally committed to one home, even if it’s just in your head, it can be tough to consider everything else. Every other house will look worse by comparison, and you’ll be highly reluctant to move past it. You’ll make excuses for major flaws, including structural problems, and could end up with a house that falls apart or doesn’t meet all your goals.
- Overpaying for your “dream” home. If you and your family find a house that seems to check all the boxes, providing you with all the space you need and the right aesthetics, you might become convinced there’s no other option. Accordingly, you might be willing to overextend your budget to acquire it. Unfortunately, this can set you up for financial ruin if you aren’t careful.
- Negotiating aggressively or in retaliation. It’s natural to negotiate to get a better deal on a home. However, if you let your angry, fearful, or competitive emotions take over, you might enter the negotiation too aggressively, or start making demands out of spite. Making an offer that’s excessively low or making too many demands can cause you to lose an otherwise impressive deal.
Keeping Your Emotions in Check
So what are you supposed to do to keep all your emotions in check?
- Set firm boundaries. Before you even start looking for homes, set some firm boundaries for your purchase. What is your budget? Set a strict upper limit here, so you’ll know not to pursue a home that pushes that budget further. Even if your gut tells you, it’s okay to pay more, refer back to this upper limit and stop yourself. If you’re buying the house with a spouse or partner, you’ll want to hold each other accountable.
- Talk to a third party (i.e., a real estate agent). When you’re too close to the homebuying experience, it can be tough to see things from an outside perspective. That’s one reason why it’s important to talk to a neutral third party—ideally someone familiar with the real estate market. Homebuying agents are there to serve this very purpose (as well as help you through the logistics of buying a home). Whenever you feel like your emotions might be getting the better of you, have a conversation with your agent. See what they think. Do they feel similarly, or do they have a different perspective?
- Look at lots of houses. Your emotions will have less power over you as you look at a greater volume of homes. It’s hard to fall in love with a home immediately when you’ve seen 100 others, and you’ll be less likely to overlook critical flaws or excessively high prices when you know how many other contenders there are. Spend time looking at houses both online and in person and get to know the neighborhoods in your area.
- List pros and cons for each opportunity. For each home you find, try to list the pros and cons; for example, point out that while you love the old-style architecture, you know the maintenance costs will be egregious. Listing pros and cons will force you to find both good things and bad things in every property, which forces you to engage your logical and critical thinking skills.
- Take deep breaths and give yourself more time. Throughout the process, take as much time as you want—or rather, take as much time as you can. Deep breathing, slow contemplation, and extra time will allow your emotions to settle, and will allow you to think more clearly about the big picture. Never rush to a conclusion or make a decision faster than you have to.
This doesn’t mean that emotions should be completely excluded from your decision; in fact, subjective fondness, excitement, and fear can all be powerful motivators. The key is to make sure they don’t completely eclipse your logical side.
Talking to a Real Estate Agent
Remember, one of the best ways to keep a check on your emotions and help you make the most logical homebuying decision is to work one-on-one with a real estate agent. If you’re interested in getting started with a buyer-centric real estate agent in Texas, contact Green Residential for a free consultation today!