When you first start house hunting I bet you were really excited and revved up. Looking at photos of homes available online probably seemed like fun, until you realise just how overwhelming the task of finding the right property truly is. There is so much to take into account and you suddenly realise there's so much you don't know.
Once the idea of being a homeowner begins to take shape in reality, you realise what an incredible amount of money you are investing and how essential it is to get it right.
You might even reach the point of meltdown well before the daunting task of looking over a sale contract. You've worked hard and made sacrifices for years to earn your deposit, jumped through hoops and laid your personal expense records bare to convince the lender to back your loan, and now you are jostled and crowded out at open inspections feeling the pressure of trying to get ahead of the pack.
All that overwhelm causes a lot of emotions and possibly a lot of anxiety. As you race to pre-empt all the possible traps and cover every property you are interested in you can leave yourself open to stress and burn out. Rather than a frolic in the park, you find that you are competing in a triathlon.
Aside from being exhausting, it's a really bad place to be making important decisions from.
That's why preserving your energy and looking after your emotional wellbeing is incredibly essential when it comes to buying your first home, so you can hold your power and keep emotion out of the equation.
What you thought would take one month stretches out to six, and after weekend after weekend of looking at properties you are starting to feel that you can't afford to be fussy, just take anything, just get it over with.
Here's how to keep our focus sharp and hold your energy to the end, no matter how long it takes.
Have a long term goal from the start
If you expect to be able to put all your money aside for your deposit and not spend a cent on yourself, you will lose motivation to continue saving to the very end. You will blow out and sabotage your efforts. Create a sustainable long-term goal and allow for some lifestyle spending and small rewards. Slow and steady is a healthier saving target so look to find a figure amount you can realistically put away every single week to reach your goal with certainty rather than adding to the stress by scrimping and saving every moment.
Visualise your goal and how you will feel when it's completed
Rather than focus on the feelings of the moment, which might not be very energising and motivating, hold the bigger picture in your mind of how your new home will look and how you will feel once you have moved in. To help solidify it you can create a vision board using magazine photos or web images that showcases your target figure and your future home features.
Know your worth
Write a list of the ten non-negotiable features of your future home and check in on it whenever you feel you have to settle for less. Buyers regret often happens when people lose sight of what they want and shift their goal to just owning a house, instead of buying a home. If there are two of you looking to make this purchase together make sure you are both on the same page with your non- negotiables, budget and saving goals.
Don't plan to fall in love at first sight
Ideally you want to look at ten properties before you buy. This helps take the emotion out and pressure off at having to love and commit to the first home you look through. If people miss out on their first few choices, they start to panic and lose sight of the big picture. If you plan to walk through and not even think of buying the first ten places you get to wear a critical-thinking-hat and learn what you are looking at, what it feels like to walk through and who you are up against. For the same reason, it pays to go to as many auctions as you can without any intention to buy and just watch what happens and see the patterns emerging.
Get rid of time pressure
If it takes years to find your perfect home, so be it. What you get in the meantime is more and more savings and more and more awareness of what you want (and don't want) from a sale. Spend that time talking to real estate agents, follow up on properties you look at to know their final sale price and stay patient.
Make sure you have a saving plan that gives you a good risk to interest ratio. There are plenty of small ways you can increase the interest on your savings without running any risk. You can get additional advice from a bank manager, account manager or finance assistant for ideas on ways you can better manage your funds.
Steer the course
Nerves of steel will be called in from time to time, especially if you find prices climbing at auction or properties being snapped up before you've even managed to look in the main bedroom. Don't be pulled into a purchase above your means, or feel pressured to buy simply because your family or friends are. There will always be another property available, this isn't the be-all and end-all.
For a positive buying experience reserve your energy, take all the time you need and find ways to have fun and keep your spirits high.