Working in Real Estate, you see a broad spectrum of human emotions in play. Now given buying or selling Real Estate for most people means the biggest investment they have made or will make is ‘in play’, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that people get a little twitchy.
But what is it specifically about the transaction that sets people on edge? I don’t think it is any one thing. People worry about different things, most likely based on their own upbringing and experiences. If it’s a couple that is buying or selling, the stress may be the combination of their collective concerns, or conflicting priorities or desires.
So leaving aside the ‘better living through pharmaceuticals’ strategy for dealing with Buyer/Seller anxiety, I will try to outline some of the more common root issues that leave people lying awake at night during this process. Hopefully by dragging them out into the light, we can identify some ways to avoid a troubled mind.
At a high level, it really comes down to ‘Fear’. Something bad is going to happen that will negatively impact your investment. For the Seller, the investment is clear, in that you have a home that you have paid for, or have been paying for for some time. For the Buyer, you have money you have been saving for some time that you are going to sink into this purchase and commit to years to regular payments. But fear is a little to broad a term, so here are some more specific thoughts on the subject.
The Grass Is Always Greener…
Obviously, when people are buying or selling, they want to get the best deal. Makes perfect sense. But when someone is looking for a home, they need to be cautious not to get stuck in a cycle of thinking that they are going to end up getting the short end of the stick with every potential home they consider.
How can you possibly avoid this? There are a couple of ways, but it all really comes down to having access to the right information at the right time. You can achieve this yourself or with a Real Estate Professional, but ultimately you should be prepared in advance.
For example, if someone came to me and said that just yesterday, they decided to buy a home, and they want me to take them out looking tomorrow, I would probably be inclined to get them to take a step back, take a deep breath, and at least spend a bit of time to figure out a little more than the fact that they are capable of buying a home.
Why? Maybe I’m a little selfish, but I know that people going into a complex process like this with little more than confidence and a pre-approved mortgage are going to have a harder time than they need to. And if my client is having a hard time, so will I. And I’ve already got enough grey hair as it is.
If you are prepared, and/or you have someone working with you who is equally or even better prepared, you can protect yourself for thinking you are never going to get a good deal.
Cant Always Get What You Want…
Sorry, I’m a sucker for quoting classic rock tunes. Anyway, often people find themselves constantly disappointed during the buying or selling process. They feel like they’ve been at it for so long, they are starting to doubt if its ever going to happen. They cant get the price they want for their home. They cant find the home they want.
Now for Sellers, feeling like the process is taking too long might come from the frustration of having to keep their home ‘showing ready’, and having to leave their house and find something to do for an hour while someone checks their place out. I’ve been through it myself. It can be exhausting.
For Buyers, it may come from burning off countless hours out of their weekend looking at homes and not finding anything that feels right, or worse (in a hot market) having to forego a little decompression time after a hard days work to rush off to see a house that just came on the market.
In both of these scenarios, your best defense against this type of frustration may simply be patience, and knowing that going into this process, your normal routine is going to take a hit.
Now a second and often equally important consideration is to make sure you have the right perspective in the first place.
For the Seller, this can point to their expectations of what they can get for their home. This is a fine line, and a few percentage points on either side of the ideal selling price (which can be a challenging thing to establish, depending on the situation) can mean the difference between a stampede of potential buyers and lots of offers (when the price is below that ideal price) and a much slower, much longer timeframe before the place sells (when the price is above that ideal price).
For the Buyer, knowing what types of homes exist in the location they’ve chosen and what they go for is critical to getting through the process without going out of your mind.
In both cases, a pro should try to ensure you have the right perspective going into it. Now I’m not going to say that you should blindly follow any and all advice you get from an Agent. But you should always at a minimum be provided with sufficient information to support the advice you get, such that you are comfortable with what is ahead of you. If you aren’t comfortable with what you are hearing, get a second opinion.
But again. Be cautious. If you have talked to 3 different Agents, and they are all telling you the same thing, and you don’t like what you are hearing, maybe you might need to re-evaluate your expectations. And I say be cautious because unfortunately, if you interview enough Agents, you may eventually find someone who will tell you what you want to hear. That doesn’t mean either of you are right. That might just mean they don’t care how miserable you will become trying to find a certain type of home for 50% of what its worth or sell your home for 50% more than it is worth.
Is That Your Final Answer?
For some people, their fear is rooted in the simple act of committing to something. Now before some of you have an ADD moment and you start thinking about ‘those other’ commitment challenges that don’t relate to Real Estate, let me keep us on track.
If you are not ready to buy a home or sell your home…. that’s totally OK. Really, its OK.
In most cases, this is or should be a decision you have given ample thought to. As I have mentioned, you should have looked into this and prepared yourself a bit up front. But just because you are comfortable that you can get a pre-approved mortgage or can get a price for your home you are comfortable with, doesn’t necessarily mean you are committed.
A wise man once said, ‘I don’t fear commitment. I fear wasting my time’. Buying or selling Real Estate takes effort. And I’m not just referring to the prep work I’ve mentioned here. I mean making decisions. Making arrangements. Meeting with people. There is a big difference between shopping for Real Estate and shopping for your basic consumer products.
But more importantly, there is a lot of emotional factors that you need to come to terms with to be committed.
If you are buying for the first time (say as a couple), you may very well find yourself staring at yourself in the rearview mirror asking ‘are we ready for this?’.
If you are a selling a home you have lived in for years, maybe raised your kids in, you might have a hard time turning over that house full of memories.
These are all very real things you need to come to terms with, or have at least given ample consideration to before you get serious.
So for those of you considering a change, good for you. I cant tell you that even if you take my advice, that you wont have a few emotional moments along the way. In fact, I’d be surprised if you didn’t.
Maybe you should not so much prepare yourself for the inevitable fear (in all its forms), but prepare yourself to be courageous. So I’ll leave you with another quote that seems to fit.
‘Courage is not living without fear, courage is being scared to death and doing the right thing anyway’.