Buying on emotion can be a gamble
Buying on emotion could prove ill-founded.
While what the French call the “coup the coeur," the “sudden falling in love” with a house, should not be ignored or dismissed, it should not be used as the main decision factor without further analysis.
I was recently discussing with a client the great advantage of using sites such as Rightmove and Primelocation. You can draw your area, and in a few minutes have a very clear overview of what the market has to offer.
Pictures, floor plans and Google Street can enhance your virtual visit, providing plenty of useful information.
In a recent email a client wrote “It’s good these days that we can get objective floor plans, pretty pictures and other details online. But the things that make a house a home cannot be ascertained online, like how you feel when you walk inside or outside the property – the subjective”
Her thoughts prompted me to the considerations that follow.
THE DIFFERENCE EMOTION MAKES IN FINDING THE RIGHT HOUSE
While I totally agree with her statement, I believe that it is very important to approach the purchase of a house by clearly defining one’s needs and priorities, habits and wishes.
At first, search online and review how houses score “on paper,” and only visit a short list of houses that truly fit your chosen criteria.
While no screen or brochure can beat the feeling of actually stepping into a home, it is also very possible to be swayed away by details and be delighted for all the wrong reasons:
… the decor, the sunny day, the beautifully staged furniture (that will be long gone by the time you get the keys to the property) could play a major role in your first reaction.
The subjective reaction to a house is a cluster of emotions and reactions to different elements of design that may prove hard to decode and break down. It is, however, useful to attempt to understand what had caused our delight, what triggered the “coup de coeur”.
So if, upon entering a house, your heart soared, ask yourself: What made it soar?
- the view, the location?
- the sense of space?
- the light?
- the warmth?
- the sense of luxury?
- the aspirational lifestyle that the property implies?
- the dream kitchen you never had?
- the lovely images on the wall?
- the sudden memory of another place you loved?
What did you really react to?
View and location are the most important factors, because they are hard to change for the most part.
Those are unique to each property. So if the view and location score high and they are not likely to be altered by new constructions, you may be looking at your perfect home.
But the sense of space, the light and the overall feeling that emanates from the house is mostly related to the elements of design, the furnishing and, most importantly, the use of the space.
The use of space depends on the room layout and the furnishing. The layout and the shape of the rooms are permanent features of the house, unless you envision a renovation, but the decor and furnishings are temporary.
A space can be optimized by a masterful use of proportionate furniture. The furniture will most likely be gone by the time the house will be yours. Will your furniture fit the rooms in the same way, maintain the same feel? Will your own possessions allow you to re-create the feeling you enjoyed at first sight?
LIGHT AND THE SENSE OF COMFORT
What time of the day and under which weather conditions did you view the house? In which season? Were the lights on? Was the house warm? Entering a warm house after standing outside for a short while on a cold viewing day, will immediately make the house feel more welcoming. On a sunny day many houses will feel bright and cheerful…
The aspirational lifestyle is often related to staging, cleanliness and absence of clutter.
Model homes are masterfully staged to this effect, and so are staged resales.
But how will the same space fare once it is lived in? Once it becomes yours, with toys, pets, stacks of mail and books, coats and muddy boots?
REAL ESTATE COACHING CAN HELP YOU CHOOSE THE RIGHT HOUSE
So, while what the French call the “coup the coeur” the “instant falling in love” with a house should not be ignored or dismissed, it should not be used as the main decision factor without further analysis.
It is important to understand what caused the “coup the coeur” and especially whether or not it is related to the permanent or to the temporary features of the property.
Likewise, when we visit houses that just “felt wrong”, we should explore what felt wrong about them. Was it the exposure and the depressing view, or was it the clutter, the outdated decor?
Buying a house to call home is a balancing act. It is a big decision that requires both heart and mind and the ability to see well beyond what is currently on show. It is a major financial undertaking that will impact every other choice in your family life, the vacations you can afford, the education you can give to your children and last, but not least, the amount of time you will be able to spend with them.
It is a key choice that affects many other choices. It deserves a great deal of consideration.
How will you ago about it?