Buying First Home Is Life’s ‘Most Stressful Event,’ Survey Reveals

NEW YORK — What’s more stressful than buying your first home? Not much, according to a new survey. Nearly half of American homeowners call their first home purchase their life’s most stressful event — with many more experiencing no less dread.

Researchers at Homes.com, a leading online real estate portal, recently surveyed 2,000 first-time homeowners, hoping to learn more about their buying experience. The team’s findings shed light on how— and why — buying a place feels so hard in this modern age.

The road to being a homeowner starts with viewing properties, and the typical prospective homebuyer visits their fair share — six, on average. Respondents reported that the process of deciding between many — or even just a few — suitable properties took its toll. Emotions often intervene, with one-third of participants reporting having cried at one point or another. Arguments were also aplenty; the average homebuyer fought with loved ones four times during his or her home search.

The first-time homeowner’s closing process was no less forgiving: 10 percent admit they suffered buyer’s remorse, while 13 percent felt they got a raw deal.

All in all, 40 percent of first-time homebuyers felt anxious, and another 44 percent felt nervous throughout the homebuying process. Two in five called it the most stressful event in modern life,” beating out applying to college, hosting Thanksgiving dinner, and going on a job interview.

“First-time homebuyers are often stressed and overwhelmed when making such a large purchase like a home. As a result, they are looking for guidance and assistance to help make the process easier and smoother,” explains David Hoegerman, a division manager at Homes.com.

As for why first-time homeowners feel so stressed, high expectations and a lack of preparation may be to blame.

Nearly 40 percent of buyers didn’t realize how long the homebuying process took, and another 40 percent felt ill-equipped to negotiate. One in five lacked overall confidence, while nearly 30 percent missed out on the home of their dreams.

In some cases, external events, such as a denied home loan or withdrawn listing, were the culprit. Whatever the case, homebuying clearly remains one of life’s more challenging endeavors.

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“At the end of the day, buying a home is often the largest purchase the average American will experience in their lives,” Hoegerman says. “While it can be stressful and overwhelming, there are steps people can take to alleviate the tears and arguments that are bound to arise.”

Hoegerman urges homebuyers to thoroughly discuss their situation with their real estate agent, so they can avoid later disappointment.

“By doing research and discussing your desires and needs with your real estate agent, you can find a home that meets your needs while also staying within your budget,” he suggests.

OnePoll, a British market research company, conducted the survey on behalf of Homes.com in July 2018.