Updated on 05.08.07

Dealing With The Stress of Buying a Home

Trent Hamm

Right now, my wife and I are waist-deep in the house buying process and it is pretty stressful for both of us. Buying a house is a huge financial commitment and we’re both rather stressed out about the whole thing – it has been dominating our thoughts and our waking hours for the last several days.

In order to get through all of this with our sanity intact, my wife and I have been doing a number of things to minimize the stress that have really helped make this period go much smoother. Here’s what we’ve done.

Focus on relaxing things. Rather than just jamming our days full of other things that need to be done besides the home purchase, we’ve pulled the throttle back on some aspects of our life. For example, our house isn’t quite as clean as it usually is, and our son has a lot of toys strewn about at the moment. By spending our spare time doing more relaxing things, we’re better able to focus and address house-buying issues when the necessary time comes.

Keep things in perspective. We’re very financially stable, so in the end this is a completely natural move. We make sure to reiterate this as often as possible.

Make it as fun as we can. We spend our evenings often thinking about the fun parts of owning a home: our own washer and dryer, a deep freezer (which we both want), actual *gasp* storage space, room for guests, and so on. These are things we both really look forward to having and thinking about them makes the process a lot more fun.

Spend a lot of time with our son. He’s eighteen months old and there are two major changes coming down the pipe for him: a move to a new home, then the arrival of a baby sister. We’re spending a lot of time with him right now making him feel secure and safe so that when these changes happen, they’re not too upsetting. We’ve been reading him lots of books about moving to a new house and also books about a baby sibling. I’m not sure he’s grasped the idea of moving yet, but he is definitely latching on to the idea of having a baby around the house.

Eat healthy. Because May is our frugal month anyway, we’re making an extra effort to eat at home and eat healthy, which helps us deal with the effects of stress.

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  1. W. Kaleb Hall says:

    I am really enjoying reading your site and have found a lot of helpful information. From this post today I figured out that our sons are almost the same age as well as about to be big brothers to a sister, our little girl will hopefully be arriving in early August. And we have recently (last month) purchased a home as well after moving to be closer to family.


  2. HappyRock says:

    My quick thoughts and what works for me.

    Arm yourself.

    Make yourself comfortable by surrounding yourself with the people and books/information that will provide the necessary learning to feel like you are in firm control.


    I find it useful to keep the decision in perspective, even if it is a huge one. The truly important things in life will still be there after the decision(health, marriage, etc.) If I am still stressed about a huge decision, it is often because I am placing my security in the wrong things.


    Making sure you are getting enough quality sleep really goes a long way to handling stress well. Sometimes it may take actively clearing your mind before bed, so that you don’t take the ‘stress’ into dreamland. Writing down your thoughts and feeling at bedtime is one way to flush the information from my head.

    -The Happy Rock

  3. guinness416 says:

    One thing it’s hard to get your head around when you’re buying your first house (but would reduce the stress if one knew!) is that it likely won’t be your last house purchase. It’s aggravating, but even as a construction professional I learned more about what I wanted from a house, what my budget should have been, etc within year one or two after I moved into our place. Try to enjoy the experience, it’s fun too.

  4. woody says:

    Buying a house is a good experience, just make sure you do the things you need to before you get there.

    Look into your local state programs and laws to see if there are any programs you can get into as a first time home owner. Not all realtors know about all the programs. In some states you can get a state credit on your mortgage, just like the federal credit. But in most it only counts on your first house, and you have to apply for it before you make the purchse.

    Also, don’t foget to do a quick projection of how much interest you’ll pay on your mortgage this year. You may want to adjust your W4 up by a few to balance how much is taken per paycheck. No reason to give the government a free loan when you can get more money per paycheck when you need it. (And you will need it just after a house purchase, for all those little unplanned things that you discover you need that first year. ;)

    Good luck! :)

  5. Lisa says:

    I might have missed it, but did you decide for or against the house that was $50,000 more than you had originally decided to spend?

  6. jake says:

    Curious if others feel the same way, but when I was helping my cousin check out houses to buy I tend to concentrate entirely on the neighborhood. To me I rather have a great neighborhood and an okay-ish house than the other way around.

    There was one neighborhood that was just perfect in my view but the condition of the house was okay, in other words it could use some repairs. I loved the neighborhood so much I would have bought the house if it was my decision. My cousin on the other hand only cared about the house so it was a big NO for him.

    So for me neighborhood is an absolute number one priority then everything else.

  7. Sam says:

    Heh heh heh… Right now I’m in the process of selling my condo, buying a town house, and I have a 2 year old with another child on the way. I feel ya on the stress!

  8. plonkee says:

    I’m buying my first house at the moment and I’m buying a house I love in a not great neighbourhood. On my budget however, the choice is between not great neighbourhoods, the area I’ve chosen is probably the least nice place I’m actually willing to live, but it does have its plus points.

    The house is great, it needs a bit of work but as soon as I walked in, it felt like my house and thats what swung the day.

  9. Steve Kay says:

    HOLY Stress! I do not sleep well, I do not eat (very little) … The house needs work… we closed on it two weeks ago… now I am thinking ‘what the hell did I do?’ I am freeeeaakking out!

  10. Hi, I took a different angle on reducing stress, ranging from something simple like wearing shoes that are easy to slip on-and-off, to tag-teaming on who does the scout work each time.


  11. Ann says:

    I would have to agree with Jake, I feel that a great neighborhood is worth more than the perfect house in a yucky neighborhood.

    One thing I’ve learned in buying a house is the 3 “L”‘s – Location – Land – Layout. To me these are three of the most important things to look for when buying a house. Because you cannot change the location you will live in, the land size or the layout of the house. (Well, I guess you can change the layout, but it would very costly and that’s pretty much not an option for most 1st time home buyers)

  12. dan says:

    My wife and I bought our first home almost 2 years ago. The price was right, and the area of town seemed to be good. Two years later, the neighborhood is in a fast decline, mostly due to the economy, and HUD financing apartments.

    A word to the wise, when buying a house, go for a 20-40 minute drive around the neighborhood. Many times, you will find the house is in an island area, where everything is perfect, but 2-3 blocks away, not so much. Apartments are a sure red flag, too many people come and go from them, and have little respect for neighbors.

    Also, if there are alot of dog owners in the neighborhood, expect either to conflict with them, or having to clean up after their animals mess, because too many people now don’t, if they feel nobody is watching!

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