Home Buying and the Psychology of First-time Homeowners
Buying Your First Home
Buying a home is stressful for everyone, regardless of whether you're doing it for the first time or the 10th time. According to a survey conducted in 2018, about 40 percent of Americans go as far as to call home buying "the most stressful event in modern life."
Purchasing a property can be especially stressful for those people who are buying their first house. That same survey we just referenced revealed that 30 percent of homebuyers admit to bursting into tears at least once when shopping for their first home.
Whether you're a real estate agent helping a first-time homebuyer or a first-time homebuyer yourself, it's important for you to have a clear understanding of the psychology of people purchasing their first house. It'll help make the home buying process go a lot more smoothly.
Here are some of the most common psychological traits of first-time homeowners.
When you're working your way through the home buying process for the first time, it's so easy to get caught up in all the excitement surrounding you. You'll wake up just about every morning thinking, "This could be the day that I find my first house!"
That excitement will, at first, be a good thing. Searching for a home can be a very exhausting process that requires you to stay on top of the latest listings and pounce on properties that you like.
But at the same time, too much excitement can also work against first-time homebuyers. There are some people who fall in love with the idea of moving into almost every home that they check out, regardless of what the home looks like or where it's located.
First-time homebuyers need to get into the habit of taking a step back and analyzing homes before falling in love with them. It's easy to make bad decisions when you're blinded by your own excitement.
While the majority of first-time homeowners start off being very excited, a portion of them also start getting very anxious before long. Rather than looking forward to home buying, they begin to dread it and question every decision they make along the way.
It's not uncommon for first-time homebuyers to lay awake at night asking themselves questions like:
- "Am I ready to buy a home right now?"
- "What if I spend too much money on a house?"
- "What am I going to do if I move into a house and experience a huge problem with it right away?"
- "Do I have enough money to buy the house I want?"
- "How am I going to be able to afford to pay my property taxes and utility bills?"
In reality, there are simple answers to these questions. But some first-time homebuyers get so consumed by them that they feel anxious and overwhelmed at the mere thought of trying to make sense of them all.
It's essential for first-time homebuyers to take a deep breath and do their best to soothe their anxiety. Otherwise, it's going to make the home buying process even harder than it has to be.
Stressed Out a Lot
As we mentioned earlier, just about everyone who buys a home feels at least a little bit stressed out at one time or another. It takes a lot of time to find the right home, make a strong offer on it, and close the deal for it, which can cause stress to build.
Many first-time homebuyers get caught off guard by the stress, though, which can take a huge toll on them. One minute, they're super excited about buying their first house—and the next, they're doubled over in pain and anguish wondering how they're going to afford their mortgage payments once they find a home.
When you're shopping for a home for the first time, it's good to de-stress as often as you can. You can do it by getting enough exercise, taking part in fun activities that don't involve house-hunting, and spending time with family and friends.
There's no escaping the stress that accompanies buying your first home or any home for that matter. But you can learn how to manage it to reduce the impact it has on you.
Confused as to What They Want
When first-time homebuyers first decide that they're going to buy a home, they sit down and generate a long list of all the things they want out of it. It'll look something like this:
- 4 bedrooms
- 2 bathrooms
- Large living room
- Eat-in kitchen (preferably one that's been remodeled)
- Two-car garage
- Big backyard
- Finished basement
- Hardwood floors (no carpets at all!)
- Space for a home office
- Close to work
This a great exercise for them to go through. But they tend to run into one common problem once they start shopping for homes: What they think they want isn't really what they want.
A real estate agent might find a home with just about everything on a first-time homebuyer's wish list. But once the homebuyer sees it in person, it's not what they imagined. This can lead to frustration on the part of both the realtor and the homebuyer.
It's important for both sides to remember that home buying is a fluid process. Realtors need to understand that homebuyers are going to change their minds about what they want, and homebuyers need to realize that they have to keep an open mind.
Concerned About the Wrong Things
Another problem that first-time homebuyers run into a lot when shopping around for homes is that they get concerned about the wrong things.
For example, there are many people who will walk through a home that has everything on their wish list. But rather than focusing on that, they'll cringe at the paint colors on the walls and fail to see beyond them.
There are also many people who fall in love with homes that are in a location that's not ideal for them. But they'll try to talk themselves into being OK with the location because they love the house that's in it.
And of course, there are those who forget about their home buying budget when they're shopping for homes and find themselves at the center of bidding wars that they can't afford to be in. These people lose sight of their budget and convince themselves that they can afford to pay for something they can't.
It's up to realtors to reel these kinds of first-time homebuyers back in and help them see the big picture. It's also up to the homebuyers to be receptive to their realtors and understanding of what they're saying.
Slow to Make Decisions
Buying a home is the biggest investment that most people will ever make. So there's nothing wrong with first-time homebuyers taking their time when making decisions related to buying their first house.
But with that being said, there will be times during the home buying process when it's important to be decisive with regards to putting in an offer on a home. There are some instances in which you might only have a few hours to pull the trigger and put in an offer to someone selling a home.
Many times, this is where first-time homebuyers struggle. Even if they know they love a home and want to buy it, the aforementioned anxiety gets the better of them and zaps them of their ability to make quick, even-keeled decisions.
Real estate agents need to know how to help first-time homebuyers through these situations. They must stress the importance of making a decision while also trying not to put too much pressure on someone who is already stressed out.
There are dozens of rookie mistakes that first-time homebuyers make when looking for their first home. Some of them include:
- They look at homes that are either too big or too small
- They consider the wrong locations for their home
- They search for homes that are out of their price range
- They forget about how important having adequate parking is and pay the price for it later
- They choose a home with a yard that requires too much maintenance
But the biggest mistake that first-time homebuyers make is being too short-sighted and failing to look ahead to the future. They buy homes that will fit their needs now but that won't fit their needs in a few short years.
When first-time homebuyers make this mistake, they often end up either having to make the most of the home they buy or move to their second home sooner than expected.
Home Buying Doesn't Have to Be Too Stressful
By now, you should have a good understanding of the psychology of first-time homebuyers.
It should help you prepare yourself if you're going to become a first-time homebuyer soon. It should also help you if you're someone who helps first-time homebuyers for a living while working as a realtor.
Another thing that can help both first-time homebuyers and realtors with the home buying process are the 3D tours available through Hommati. They'll allow first-time homebuyers to tour homes they might want to check out from the comfort of their couch. They'll also make it easier for realtors to sell homes for their clients.
Check out the 3D tours and the aerial photos and videos that we can provide of homes in your area.