Photo by Flickr user Justin Holzworth
We spend most of our time here talking about the logical aspects of home buying—price to rent ratios, affordability, home price indices, etc.—but for most people the homebuying process is as much or more about emotions than it is about logic. Buying a home is a constant series of emotional highs and lows.
Up: “Let’s buy a home! Yeah! It will be great to stop ‘throwing our money away‘ on rent!”
Down: “Dang, houses are expensive!”
Up: “Hey, we can actually afford a lot more than we thought, sweet!”
Down: “Argh, there is nothing but crap homes for sale on the market right now.”
Up: “Ooh, here’s a house we actually like in our price range. Let’s make an offer!”
Down: “Ugh, this back-and-forth with the seller is so tiring!”
Up: “Sweet, we finally got them to agree to replace the water heater!”
Down: “Dangit, another buyer showed up and outbid us at the last minute. Back to square one.”
Up: “Woo-hoo, we finally got a house!”
Down: “Whoa, home maintenance is a lot more expensive than I was expecting!”
The highs are exhilarating and the lows are depressing. The big problem with the process is that the constant stream of emotional extremes tends to make one especially vulerable to the half-truths and slick sales pitches often employed by many in the real estate sales business:
If we’re thinking clearly, applying logic and common sense to these claims, it’s easy to see them as the empty nonsense that they are, but when we’re toked up on dopamine or suffering a serious lack of serotonin, our ability to make wise decisions can be easily clouded. If you are consciously aware of the affect the emotional homebuying rollercoaster is having on you, it’s easier to avoid making stupid choices.
Where are you on the rollercoaster? Have you seen friends and family get caught up in their emotions and make lousy decisions? What’s the best way to avoid falling into that trap? How many questions can I manage to tack onto the end of this post?