Home buying is a big decision, and it can be very emotional. Those emotions are normal. It’s also normal for the emotions to change over time and as you move through the stages of a purchase. Here’s a look at what to expect with the emotional stages of home buying – and how I will help.
Stage 1: Getting Ready to Look for a Home
This is where it all starts. You’re excited, but also a little anxious. Unless you have a very specific area and style in mind, you can easily be overwhelmed when you realize just how many communities there are that could work for you, not to mention how many kinds and styles of homes. Then comes that first bit of worry. “Will we be able to find a home? And if we do, will we be able to afford it?”
In Stage 1 of the emotional stages of home buying, I will work to get you prequalified for a mortgage and help you understand the various costs involved in buying a home. We’ll talk about how many offers are typical for properties in your price range and/or preferred area. You’ll come out of this stage knowing where to focus your attention.
Stage 2: Looking at Homes
Almost everyone has access these days to HGTV, DIY Network, and Pinterest for home improvement and decorating ideas. Some sellers even have their homes professionally staged. So you’re going to see homes that look amazing. And you might just fall in love and convince yourself that you must have this house. That’s normal. The risk comes when you start telling yourself you’ll do anything to get it.
In Stage 2 of the emotional stages of home buying, my role will be to help you see beyond the distracting (albeit pretty) decorating touches to determine how well a particular home will work for you. We’ll work together to develop a way to rate the various houses based on “must have,” “would be nice to have,” and “couldn’t care less” categories. In this competitive and fast-moving market, it’s best to view any given home as one of several options, rather than your one-and-only.
Stage 3: Making the Offer/Negotiating
You’ve evaluated a number of homes and decided what’s important and what’s not. You’re ready to make an offer. Remember in Stage 2 when you ran the risk of being willing to do anything to get the house you wanted? In Stage 3, you have to guard against the opposite – the temptation to be stubborn and to say, “If the seller won’t accept my condition(s), I’m out.” It can definitely be frustrating to go through the back-and-forth of offers and counter-offers.
In Stage 3 of the emotional stages of home buying, I’m here to listen to your frustrations and then help you remember why you chose this home to put in an offer. Those reasons are what will carry you through this stage. Of course, if it becomes necessary for you to walk away from the deal, I’ll support you in that as well.
Stage 4: Inspection
This can be the most difficult stage, emotionally. After all, you gathered your courage, started your home search, waded through a sea of potential homes, found the one that will work best, laid your cards on the table with your offer, and stuck with it through the negotiation. Once your offer was accepted, everything should have gotten easy…right? Unfortunately, this can be a period of “hurry up and wait.” And if the inspection turns up issues, you may start to wonder if you made the right choice.
In Stage 4 of the emotional stages of home buying, I will remain in close communication with you and with any third parties – attorneys, appraisers, inspectors, loan officers – involved in the transaction. I’ll alert you if anything unusual pops up during this waiting period, and I’ll help you determine how to have inspection issues addressed.
Stage 5: Closing
This is the “happily-ever-after” stage. Well, yes and no. There’s definitely the “happily” when you finally get the keys to your new home. There will come a point, though – especially if this is your first home – where the “ever after” part sinks in and the scope of this new responsibility hits you.
In Stage 5 of the emotional stages of home buying, I will celebrate this milestone with you and then make sure you have all the information you need to move forward confident in your ability to manage your new role as a homeowner. I’ll check in with you from time to time, and you can always reach out with questions.
In our next blog post, we’ll look at the emotional stages that sellers experience.