Emotions and Home Buying: Why Following Your Heart Can Hurt

first-time home buyer emotions

Buying a house is a lot like dating — it’s all about finding the right match.

Whether you’re just starting out in the housing market or the dating scene, you may have to weed out a whole bunch of “no’s” before you find a good fit.

Then, when you’re least expecting it, love hits you. It keeps you up at night, and you find yourself daydreaming and obsessing. You start imaging your future. Yep, these dizzying thoughts are signs that you’re falling hard for a home.

What’s great is when our emotional connection to a home lines up with our logical decision making. According to a recent survey, 56 percent of home buyers make their final decisions based on whether they have fallen in love with a property. When asked what made them weak in the knees, 58 percent chose the property because of the location, followed by 37 percent due to its price.

If you’re looking at a home and you fall in love with the idea of living in a certain community, those hopes and ideas may cause you to look past potential flaws in a house.

Sometimes, we’re drawn to people that may not seem right, but who appeal to us nonetheless. The same thing can be true about houses. While our head may be focused on factors like location and price, our perceptions can be influenced by instinctual reactions to a home. As described by the National Post, our responses can be dictated by smells, colors and sounds, which can have a positive or a negative emotional impact on how we subliminally perceive a home.

Is love blind? For some shoppers, the answer is yes. If you’re looking at a home and you fall in love with the idea of living in a certain community, those hopes and ideas may cause you to look past potential flaws in a house.

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Other times, love is all about persistence. You know that guy who won’t take no for an answer and you finally give in to his request for a date? Real estate marketing gurus know that persistence is key in landing buyers. Isn’t it creepy when a house you looked at online through a website starts popping up on your social feeds? This constant exposure to a potential property not only keeps it fresh in your mind, but also can alter your assumptions and drive your behavior. You start to think that if the seller and real estate agent are willing to spend big money on advertising the property, maybe they have a product that’s worth your attention.

Should you throw caution to the wind and let emotion take the wheel?

Is it possible to remove emotion from your buying decision? Sure! Lots of real estate investors do it everyday. You can train yourself to look at the facts and to analyze deals from a strictly business standpoint. However, investing in real estate is different than buying a permanent residence where you want to live and that you want to enjoy. Perhaps I am a hopeless romantic, but I think having an emotional connection to a home is a beautiful thing.

Especially for young buyers, a home holds opportunity. What will the future bring? A home can inspire us and help us to build an identity.

Especially for young buyers, a home holds opportunity. What will the future bring? A home can inspire us and help us to build an identity. It’s no secret that many of us judge a potential purchase because we think it will help us to achieve a certain lifestyle or represent the identity we want to create.

No matter what decision you make, before taking things to the next level and jumping in, try to think through things rationally. Defend those emotions with logic by asking the following questions:

1. Are you making the right compromises?

Sure, compromising is a key ingredient to every successful relationship. It also may be a constant theme as you shop for homes, especially if your budget is tight. No matter your price range, it’s hard to find everything on your wish list. But, you need to be realistic about what sacrifices you can make.

Sometimes you find a house that may not have all the wants and needs, but it feels right, it feels like home. First, refer back to your initial must-have list and think long and hard about the items you included. What made you add the criteria that you did? If you really want a garage, and the house you’re contemplating doesn’t have one, will you cope with snowy winters clearing off your car? Is it realistic to compromise on your original wishes? If you believe that you can reframe your wants and needs and not feel like you sacrificed too much, the juice may be worth the squeeze.

In the dating world, maybe you thought you’d marry a tall, stoic athlete. But, the short, funny electrician stole your heart. In the real estate world, you thought you’d buy a turnkey home, but realize the fixer-upper with the water view is everything you ever needed. Sometimes things happen for a reason!

2. Will your purchase survive the honeymoon phase?

If you stubbornly ignore red flags, you may be setting yourself up for buyer’s remorse. As a home buyer, you can take steps to minimize the chance of having regrets and make confident decisions throughout the real estate transaction.

3. Is your heart controlling your purse strings?

If you’ve really fallen head over heals, your emotions may be clouding your judgment. This can be detrimental when it comes to negotiating the price and terms of your offer. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Creating a comparative market analysis (CMA) will help you to look at things through an objective lens and keep those emotions in check.