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Saturday, February 9, 2008

Reduce Home Buying Stress


From a recent article in one of the real estate news feeds that I get, there was advice about reducing the stress that some couples feel when buying a home. I can certainly attest to this phenomenon. Buying a home is stressful for many couples and may have affects that impact their relationship. Not only are they making decisions that will affect their lives for years to come, they also are being asked to make them under less-than-perfect circumstances – like an uncertain housing market and a shaky economy. I’ve actually had couples come close to divorces due to the stress of home buying – it’s rare but it does happen. As a Realtor I try to take as much of the stress out of the process as possible, but explaining it as we go along. However, here’s some good advice from a professional on stress management.

Psychologist Linda Sapadin offers three stress minimizers to home-buying couples:

1) Don't turn on each other. "Recognize that this is a stressful process, and if you blame the other person, then what you usually get is counter-blame," she says. "So it's much better to put the blame on the process." (But not on your Realtor, I hasten to add). Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the process as you go along about anything that you don’t understand. There are lots of arcane terms in real estate and no one knows what they all mean, so ask. For young, engaged coules going out home shopping may be the first (and sometimes surprising) big decision-making experience for them. Things come out during the process that may reveal much about how a marriage might feel later. You have to work through the issues here, just like you'll have to work through other issues later in your life together.

2) Don't expect perfection. "You want to assume that things are not going to go perfectly, that there's going to be some unexpected difficulties, expenses, problems to solve," Sapadin says, "so just know that up-front." You actually increase this problem if you are looking at foreclosure homes, because they are full of issues or problems for you to disagree about. I’m sure that in his later years the ubiquitous Murphy, of Murphy’s Law fame, must have turned his attention to real estate, because his famous first law – if it can go wrong it will – certainly seems to apply there. Again, a good Realtor will be able to anticipate and deal with any real estate issues that come up in the process, but he/she is going to have to step aside and let the two of you work out the other issues that arise.

3) Speak to supporters before you speak to your critics. "There could be one relative who says, 'What?! You're spending that much money?' or 'You're moving there?' Don't tell that person until you and your partner are united," Sapadin says. "If there's some part of you that is uncertain, you don't want to undermine that uncertainty by speaking to your critics." I watched a young lady almost come to tears when her mother, a very critical lady indeed, kept berating everything about the house we were in that the young lady loved. It was apparent that the mother could not be supportive because she was still trying to be in control of her daughter’s life. In that case her fiancĂ© was along and got a not-so-good taste of what life might be like later. I don't know what happened to them later, but they didn't buy that house.

Going home shopping should be a happy thing, not something to be dreaded. Get a good Realtor to take care of the process, so that you can concentrate on finding the right house in which to make a home. You can get ahead of the game a bit by going to my Web site - MIHomeBuyer.com - and reading through the information for first time buyers and the FAQ section for buyers. Like many other thngs that you'll face in life, being prepared and knowledgeable about this process will empower you to deal with most issues. Then, give me a call and let me take the stress out of your next real estate deal.

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