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Home Buying is Stressful

You’re buying a home!

First off, congratulations on your upcoming purchase. This can be such an exciting time!

It can also be nauseating. Home buying is stressful!

Pardon the honestly, but it’s worth being transparent. Buying a home can be incredibly stressful, even when you are working with gifted mortgage brokers and realtors.

Why am I stressed?

To begin, stress is a normal part of the human experience and homebuying process. Stress can be a motivating factor and can be very useful. Unfortunately, stress can also go beyond that and become a source of depression, anxiety, and burnout. Long term stress has also been linked to weight issues, sleep disturbance, and memory problems. All of which we don’t want to complicate the joy of your home purchase.

First, let’s normalize some of the initial stressors that are directly related:

  • Homes are very expensive. This is the largest purchase you will make in your life, and chances are you have worked very hard for the money you are about to hand over. Chatting with a mortgage broker to see what lending options make sense for you is an awesome idea before you even start your search.
  • Typically, particularly for first time home buyers, the home you want that “checks all the boxes” is not in line with the price point that you had in mind. This makes home buying stressful.You will often (unfortunately) find this out after your first home hunting expedition. Absolutely normal. This is why you have a realtor who can coach you through that and offer you ways to see new opportunities.
  • Unless you are planning to flip the home, typically this is a purchase you’re planning to keep for a long time- so you’d better be happy with your choice.

And then there’s the “in-process” stressors.

  • The home inspection and repair process can be long and anxiety inducing. A good realtor will be there for you during that process (so you don’t have to be!) and explain the ins-and-outs of this process.
  • The amount of paperwork and technology can be daunting. Have you considered getting an app for that?

What is stress?

Stress is a natural response to a perceived threat. A threat can be literal and physical, like a bear, but can also be threats of, say, losing your earnest money or being out inspection costs. It’s all a matter of perception. One person’s stress response may be very different from another person’s. And it all begins in a tiny portion of your brain called the hypothalamus.

First, the hypothalamus yells, “danger” or, if it’s my hypothalamus, probably a swear word. Next, this triggers the release of stress hormones from your adrenal glands. There are two main hormones involved with stress- adrenaline-which helps you to run from the bear- and cortisol- which helps your body focus energy on the perceived threat.

This stress presents itself differently in each person. Some people become irritable. Others develop muscle tension. Ever wake up with jaw pain or told you grind your teeth at night?  That may be stress. When did you start the home buying process? Notice what has changed in your body.

Give me some stress management skills!

  • Yoga breathing: 1) Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound. 2) Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four. 3) Hold your breath for a count of seven. 4) Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight. 5) This is one breath. Repeat at least five times.
  • Clean, make lists and prioritize: Sometimes stress comes from disorganization, sometimes iit comes from not knowing what to expect next. Make one list for your realtor and another for your broker. They can adjust you accordingly. Worst case- you call a counselor for some “mental organizing”.
  • Work with trusted people. See above.  I cannot stress this enough.
  • Move your body. Exercise is typically the first thing to go when stress arises when it should be the very last. This can be as simple as going for a walk or doing yoga. Or, you can be broad and explore your larger life visions such as running a marathon.
  • Get outside. Studies show that being outside and connecting with the earth can relieve stress. Home buying doesn’t have to take up 100 percent of your life. Spend time doing activities that replenish your stores.
  • Pet something adorable.

This process is difficult. Home buying is stressful. Be honest with yourself, your partner, and the members of your real estate team about what’s coming up for you. It may be as simple as providing you education or answering some of your questions.

If it’s a bit more troublesome than that, give one of our clinicians a call.  We can help.

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