Of Hearts and Heads
It’s a mad world out there, and we as the women surviving in it have learned how to keep our feet under us. Each of us has her own completely original way of dealing with stress. Some of us keep a mini-fridge stocked exclusively with dulce de leche ice cream in the basement. Others have Ben and Jerry on speed dial. Still others have made a calculated investment in the Dulce-de-Leche Ice Cream Maker 3000. Yet whatever your unique coping mechanism may be, it’s going to take more than your usual cocktail to get you through the stress of a house hunt. We’ve compiled 7 stress-busting secrets to keep the ship sailing smoothly (and the mini-fridge supplies fully stocked).
Practice patience: Landing the perfect house probably isn’t going to happen overnight. And, as one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make, you probably don’t want it to, either. When the going gets tough, the tough remind themselves that sprinting across a minefield [like the housing market] is not in their best interests, and sign themselves up for Tuesday night meditation yoga.
Of hearts and heads: Don’t be like that girl who met her “soul mate” at an IHOP diner one morning and married the guy in Vegas eight days later … only to discover that he came with a few “surprises.” The key to mentally surviving a house hunt is emotional balance. Your highs will be as extreme as your lows if you let them, and that’s one teeter totter that has S-T-R-E-S-S written all over for it. In fire-engine red lipstick. That passing extra-terrestrials can probably see from space. When you start to swoon, call in the logic brigade. When the frustration is getting you down, focus on the beauty of the end result.
More than one fish in the sea: Yes, you love that house you just found on the corner of Second and Main. And no, you’re not the only one who does. Let’s face it: in this market, the odds are pretty high that you’re going to end up in a bidding war for any property worth its salt, and as with most wars, you might be tempted to let it keep you (and your longsuffering hubby) up at night. But this is one battle that insomnia can’t win. And you know what? If you don’t get that house, another one will come along that you like just as much. Heck, maybe you’ll even like it better. Just keep things in perspective, and remember that it’s a house. Nice thing about houses: there are a lot of them. Really.
Watch your step: In some cities, the market is shark tank right now. Thus, a lot of buyers are feeling pressured to put in offers on everything in sight the second they set foot in the door – and sometimes even before they see the place in person. Well, enough of that nonsense: you’d better know what you’re bidding on before you gamble at the high-roller table. Inspect things. Get second opinions. Dig deep to catch wind of those Mello-Roos and other sneaky costs. If the property gets away, and you are tempted to despair, first: think of your mascara. Next, refer to the previous point about fish. Then move right along with no regrets.
Talk to everyone you know about houses: The best way to avoid stress is to be in the know. So, know things. Read up. Listen up. Chat up all your real estate friends, and your friends who have bought houses, and your friends who know people who have bought houses. Become an information archive about house-buying before you sally forth into the great unknown. We can’t lie: odds are that you’ll probably still be blindsided once or twice. But once or twice is a lot better than twenty or thirty times. Nothing a good tub of dulce de leche ice cream can’t handle.
Talk to everyone you know about anything but houses: When you’re house hunting, it’s easy to become obsessed. Interest rates flash before your eyes every time you blink. When you sleep, you dream of houses. That’s normal. It’s also stressful. So make a point to balance it out by staying in touch with the rest of your life. Give yourself permission not to fret over the house hunt once in a while. Declare house-hunt-free zones. Whatever you need to do. Just stay in touch with the rest of the world.
Give a little, take a lot: Alas, no house is perfect. It is sad. It is true. And especially when you’re new to the game, it is easy to stress yourself out searching high, low, and sideways for every nitpicky item on your wish list. Our advice? Just let it go. We promise, you will find a way to survive without that designated built-in cubby for your laundry hamper. A house is big, but there’s still a bigger picture. Keep things in perspective, and it’ll be a lot easier to keep the stress at bay.