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The six emotional stages of buying a house

Property shopping can be an emotional roller-coaster. Most buyers are looking for a special place to call home – and if home is where the heart is, you may want to prepare for a little heartache!

The six emotional stages of buying a house

29 October 2018

Property shopping can be an emotional roller-coaster ride. Most buyers are looking for a special place to call home – and if home is where the heart is, you may want to prepare for a little heartache! 

If you’re in the market to buy, here’s how to check yourself for the emotional stages of purchasing a home – and the strategies you can employ to get you through.

1.      FOMO: Hello savings, goodbye social life

Getting serious about saving could mean saying farewell to a few nights out, destined to give you a bad case of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).

However, if you’re not quite ready to give up your social life, there are other creative ways to help you save and avoid FOMO all together.

Think about hitting your local BYO restaurants for meals with friends, become knowledgeable on all the local specials (hello $9 steak night), host pot-luck dinners, create fun picnics, ditch the daily coffee, make your own lunch and buy things like wine in bulk.

Also, take the opportunity to make social occasions a time for exercise too – going on a beautiful hike or coastal walk with friends is free!

The six emotional stages of buying a house_Pic1 - cocktail waiter 
Missing out on nights out can be disheartening – but try to think about all the money you’ll save. Picture: Kylie McLaughlin

However, the best and easiest place to start is with your savings accounts.

“Consider setting up a dedicated ‘home deposit’ account that you deposit into weekly or fortnightly, and don’t touch. You could also look at a high-interest savings account as an option to maximise your interest earnings and reduce the temptation to dip into it,” says RAMS Home Loan Specialist, Matthew Clark

Also, try to make a ‘three month waiting list’. Rachel Smith, author of Underspent, recommends writing down anything you want to buy and putting it aside for three months. After that, you can decide if you still really want those items. Chances are you’ll realise you probably don’t need them.

2.     Love at first sight 

If you walk into a home and you’re immediately stunned by its perfection – stop!

New appliances, professional styling and a fresh lick of paint can distract you from classic flaws. The Property Expert’s Leonie Klaric recommends always checking the square footage of a home you want to buy in order to make sure your furniture will fit in the space and peeking inside a cupboard to detect dampness or signs of mould.

What you see could be an instant cure for love at first sight – and save you from getting involved with the wrong house!

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‘The one’ might not work out, but there are plenty more homes in the sea. Picture: Getty

3.     Claustrophobia: The tale of a flooded market 

If you find yourself running into the same people at inspections and auctions, it could be a sign that you need to change course.

Try to avoid the masses by looking at suburbs that may not be as in-vogue, but still match your chief criteria.

This is also a good time to take a magnifying glass to your list of ‘wants’ versus ‘needs’. Leonie recommends having some solid non-negotiable factors to help you discern the aspects you’re not willing to compromise on and rule out looking at homes that just won’t cut it.

4.     Heartache: Losing ‘the one’

Every property can only have one buyer and losing out on your dream home can be extremely disheartening. When this happens, it’s best to regroup and resume the search, bearing in mind that the home you buy now doesn’t have to be your last.

“It’s not the be all and end all,” Leonie reassures.

“Don’t say ‘I have to have this’ or ‘I have to have that because I’ll be here forever’. You might not be. It could only be a couple of years and then you’ll move and do something else.”

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If you miss out on the ‘forever home’, remember: it’s likely you wouldn’t have been there forever. Picture: Kate Hunter

5.     So. Much. Stress.  

So you’ve found a home and you’re ready to lay down the big bucks. The only problem is you’re nervous about negotiating the sale. The good news is: You’re not alone.

Whether you’re buying by private treaty or at auction, there are strategies for both that could help relieve some of the stress that comes with purchasing property.

Auctions are games that take practice, confidence and, more often than not, insider knowledge.

Leonie often employs strategies like arriving early to try and see the number of registered bidders. You can also attend a few ‘practice auctions’ to get a feel for how things are done.

If you’re still too stressed or emotional, do your auction over the phone or get a buyer’s agent to do the bidding for you

If you’ve found the perfect property and it’s for sale by private treaty, you may have saved yourself the stress of bidding at auction (download the pdf checklist) but you will need to brush up on your negotiation skills. Make sure you do your research on comparable properties in the area and be conservative when making an offer so you have some room to negotiate.

6.     Time to celebrate! 

Congratulations – you’ve bought your first home!

Now, make time to relax and reward yourself, remembering that if you survived the other five stages – you’ve got the rest. 



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