5 Stages of Grief for Home Buyers

You probably already know that buying a home is a process that comes with a whole range of emotions, but one that you might not have realized you could experience is grief. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross outlined the stages of grief that someone goes through when they experience the loss of a loved one in her book “Of Death and Dying” in 1969. These stages include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance; however, I believe that people can experience these stages in relation to more than death, such as when buying a home.

For example, let’s imagine that you are on the hunt for a new home and after seeing several, you finally find “THE ONE.” This house is perfect and everything you have been looking for, you’ve already started thinking about raising a family there or how you’ll decorate the rooms or about the holiday parties you’ll host there with family and friends. The only problem? You and about 5 other people feel the same way, so you all submit your highest and best offers, and yours ends up not getting accepted. Some pretty hard emotions/feelings can start to creep in, but understanding the stages that you could go through ahead of time may help to soften the blow.

  • Denial – Being on the receiving end of a rejected offer is not fun. People typically don’t put an offer in on a home that they aren’t for sure about, so when you hear back that your dream of that home is dashed, your first reaction may be denial that this is the outcome. Your brain starts to try to trick you into thinking that there is some way this deal is still going to work out in your favor, and it could if the contract falls through at some point, but it’s more likely that it’s not going to and you need to move on.
  • Anger – Once you’ve moved through the initial denial, you usually start to experience anger. Anger towards the seller for not picking your offer, anger towards yourself for not acting sooner or offering more, anger towards your agent, or just anger towards the universe that this dream home isn’t going to be yours.
  • Bargaining – This stage can be best summarized as the “what if?” stage. You start to think of all of the ways you can negotiate to make this work out in your favor and question if you can make changes to the offer after the fact that will change the outcome. The hard reality is that unless that deal falls through, nothing you do at this point is going to change the fact that someone else is under contract on the home you set your sights on.
  • Depression – This stage is one of the harder ones to go through and is a time when having the right agent is going to be crucial. You may start to doubt that right now is the best time to buy a home or start to question if you’ll ever find another home that you’ll fall in love with as much as this you had with this one. It’s important that your agent acknowledges your feelings and the fact that you might want to take a small break from looking after the disappointment of this experience, but your agent should also be your personal cheerleader and reassure you that together you will find another home that you’ll love just as much, if not more, than this one. Don’t give up hope!
  • Acceptance – You’ve moved through the other stages and you’ve finally worked your way through to the acceptance that this house obviously wasn’t the home for you. The time has come to get back out there and start looking for the home that is meant for you! You may still have times when you think back to all the previous house had to offer and you may find yourself comparing all future houses that you see to that one, but I promise that you’ll eventually find another house that feels like your home sweet home!

Are you ready to buy and need an agent that has the know-how to help you through some of the tough times you could experience? Then I’m your gal! Contact me & let’s chat over some coffee about how I can help you handle any and all of the emotions that the home buying process can bring!

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