Over the years, I’ve watched a lot of people buying and selling a home, from both professional and personal perspectives, having been through the process several times around the UK, and abroad. As such, I’ve watched a lot of human behaviour and I’ve seen or felt myself virtually every emotion. Frustration at the seemingly endless search through properties when they don’t seem to fit a descriptive criteria; excitement when a property starts to tick all the boxes; joy when a property gets beyond ‘exchange of contracts’ and the reality of a change of lifestyle strikes; anger when a buyer or seller behaves in a manner someone thinks is plain unfair; puzzlement when really clear messages seem to have landed in a different way.
Now, I don’t want to get all philosophical, but I’ve decided that there is a certain mindset that makes for success in the heady world of buying and selling homes. This Zen like state has 3 characteristics, which I shall call the Rational Mind; Thinking Big and Focusing on the Future.
Everything about buying or selling a property can tend to make everyone really hooked on their emotions and can run the risk of irrational decision making. Whilst people can and do fall in love with their homes at first sight, it’s generally not the case. The stresses and strains of the entire process tend to switch off considered thinking and people do silly things! I’ve seen people make offers on houses that just don’t fit their family requirements (frustration), turn down offers that really make the grade (sometimes anger, often greed). So, whether you’re a buyer or seller, make a list of your needs and keep looking at it! What are your objectives? You might want to express these financially, always with timescales attached and with a very clear view of the change in lifestyle that you are trying to create.
Secondly, keep thinking about the ‘Big Picture’. You’d be amazed the number of times that I’ve had to intervene in a nosedive discussion concerning a seven-figure transaction about whether something like the fridge freezer in the kitchen is included in the price, or if a flower tub is staying with the property. Should the buyer pay for extra insurance (often only a £100 or so) for some extra security on title or a land issue and who should pay? The answer is often ‘yes, and it really doesn’t matter in the scheme of things’. Get out your list from the first point and look at it again. Does this small issue really matter or are you just frustrated, irritated or losing a little perspective?
Finally, the process can be stressful (much alleviated by using a specialist to help, I’m bound to say) but keep looking at the future. You will forget almost everything when settled happily in your new home. The tension of the backwards and forwards negotiation; the legal process that took longer than you expected; the fifty homes you looked at before you found the one you really wanted; the lightbulbs and toilet rolls that were taken out of the house you were moving in to (yes, I’m afraid that does still happen!). There will be times when you need to sit down with a cup of Yorkshire tea, close your eyes and think how great things are going to be. How you’ll enjoy the garden, celebrate birthdays in the dining kitchen and watch the years roll by.
So, think straight, don’t sweat the small stuff, keep your eye on the future prize and use the best professionals you can to get you there. I have said to a number of clients over the past few years ‘focus on the outcome, not the process, I’ll deal with that, along with your solicitor and surveyor. I could wish you good luck, but if you follow these three tips, you won’t really need it!