Managing House Hunting Stress & Anxiety

Every new step in life brings its own set of stress and anxiety – and the home buying, selling and renovating process is no exception. Even in our mid-20’s, we’ve definitely grown a few extra gray hairs over the past year selling our old place, buying a new one and immediately jumping into renovations. There’s always stress when money is involved and there’s no escaping that anxiety of hoping everything falls into place the way you hope it does.

One upside to this is that you’re not alone! There are plenty of other people who are or have been in the same position that can help you along the way and that always always helps. 

While we were the first of our close friends to purchase a home, our parents were a helpful resource when it came to asking our realtor questions we hadn’t thought about or preparing for potential scenarios that could arise while we planned a sale and purchase at the same time. On the renovation side, we’re fortunate to have Andy’s experience, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been stressed about material timelines or potential disasters we could find under the floor or behind the wall. 

We had no idea how much beautiful outdoor scenes would play a role into our house search in the future. We love being so close to trails and wildlife preservations.

Managing stress is incredibly important in this process, so here are a few things that have helped us manage ours during our buy/sell process and every major home renovation we undergo:

  1. Break Your To-Do List Into Smaller Tasks

We’re to-do list people and if you aren’t, this is probably a good time to start! There can be a lot to juggle simultaneously while you’re buying, selling, or starting a new home project and it’s helpful to have somewhere to keep track of it all so you don’t miss anything. Some steps are going to seem small, like calling to schedule inspections on a new or existing home, and others steps are going to be big, like tiling an entire shower. It’s helpful to break them up into even smaller tasks when possible to show yourself  momentum and stay motivated as you check things off. 

  1. Lean On Your Community 

When you’re embarking on a new buying/selling or home renovation journey, it’s important to have smart and supportive people in your corner to help you when you need it. A smart, reliable local realtor will be your biggest asset with a new buy or sell because they can help manage anxiety by guiding you through the process and anticipating your needs. With a home renovation project, it’s always a good idea to have a contractor or handy-person in your contacts to ask quick questions or swoop in if you need a last minute assist. Both of these individuals can provide you with practical, helpful advice that can help with feelings of anxiety. Talk to your friends and family too — your regular support system — within reason! We all have those friends and family members that love to provide unsolicited advice, and while we all know they mean well, it’s important to tell them when you just need a sounding board or when you don’t need advice so you can focus on what you want. 

  1. Know When to Take a Break

It may seem like taking a break from shopping for a home in an aggressive market or a big renovation project isn’t a good idea – and there are certain moments where a pause isn’t a good idea, especially if it means you’re losing money. But taking a step back can be a valuable moment to get a better perspective on a situation and squash persistent feelings of stress and anxiety. You might see a challenging step in a project more clearly or make a new assessment on your wish list for your next home – time away can help you reset and decide what’s important to you. A break also doesn’t have to be long! Enjoy a nice day or afternoon outside with family or friends or take a weekend trip to step away. You’ll be surprised how diverting energy for even a few hours can be refreshing in the midst of a stressful moment. 

One last piece of advice — always keep the end goal in mind. I think you could say this about any major life moment or project, but we found it to be especially important here because the end goal is a new home or a new space that you get to enjoy everyday! In moments of major stress, like when we ripped up our entire kitchen and could barely use the microwave and fridge for a few weeks, it was important to take a moment to recognize why we were in this position and think about the dream kitchen that was on the other side. That vision helped us carry on while we could only use one outlet or have to keep blocking the entrance to the kitchen so the dog couldn’t get into an active work zone.  

But sometimes, even the end goal isn’t enough. If it’s getting to the point where the stress is more than the end product is worth, it may be time to reassess the situation you’re in and take a different path. Your mental health and motivation is critical in making these things possible, so it’s important to acknowledge when something isn’t working out and causing you too much stress. Take a break from the home search if you’re not finding what you want or call in a second opinion on a project that you wanted to do yourself. Taking a step back can be really helpful in managing stress and keeping you on track. 

Again, all of these projects can and will be stressful, but it’s all worth it in the end! When you take it step by step and lean on your support system to help, things are much more manageable.

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