The core of what I do as a real estate broker is help my clients navigate the bumpy road of their emotions. I help them see the big picture, acknowledge their fears, and step over the threshold into that place previously beyond their comfort zone. This is the part of the process that juices me up. This is where I know I make a difference. Below are some thoughts I had today for a client.
You are not alone.
What you are experiencing is cold feet. Nerves. Fear.
I assure you that this is completely normal. Everyone experiences it.
This is your first purchase. It’s a big deal. It’s one thing to work on million dollar deals when you’re a lawyer or business person managing the deal; it’s a completely different thing to be putting your own money on the line.
When I bought my apartment 9 years ago, I learned that this is a process that can be filled with emotional ups and downs. You can be 100% certain of everything one moment and completely uncertain the next.
Part of you is excited to move forward and the other part of you is nervous. You can’t always tell if it’s fear or excitement pulsing through you. They feel the same. The difference lies only in the meaning you choose to apply.
The first time I tried the flying trapeze, I climbed the ladder without giving it a second thought. I had heard about it from a friend and, always up for an adventure, I was excited to experience this new activity. It was only once I was up on the platform 25 feet above ground and I realized how high I was that I started to get nervous. I was uncertain of what would come next. I knew it could be an exhilarating rush and an incredible experience — if only I could allow myself to relax and trust the experts around me.
The line between anxiety and anticipation is often blurry; the two emotions often produce the same physical feelings within us.
I was standing on the precipice of unfamiliar territory. I had no framework for how my body would feel once I took the hop off the platform. I had no experience that was comparable to what I was about to feel; no reference point on which to cling. I had nothing in my arsenal that could inform me of what was to happen next.
You are standing on the precipice. It’s scary — often on a level you cannot appreciate in your conscious mind. But it’s also a sign that you have arrived at a new place on your journey.
This feeling that you’re feeling is how you know you’re on the verge of a big breakthrough in your personal growth.
In this moment, you hold the power to make a decision: you can step up and propel into a world you’ve not previously been able to imagine, or you can shirk back, retreating to the comfort of the world you’ve always known.
Know that you will find reasons to support whatever decision you make.
Buying a home forces you to evaluate your goals. It forces you to collaborate with and trust other people — people who have more experience and knowledge than you can gain through your individual experience. It forces you to stretch beyond your comfort zone, to let go of the need for 100% certainty. It reaffirms the reality that nothing in our life is certain.
Filling the Void
The well-educated, high achievers among us often react to this situation by reaching out to get more information. I know, because I’ve been there. I do this.
We try to fill the void with facts and figures. We try to get answers to questions that nobody can realistically answer. Things like:
- Will this home appreciate in value?
- Where will the market be when I go to sell?
- What will my life look like then?
- How do I maximize my options for the future?
And so on.
We seek more information because we believe that information will provide us with the certainty we seek. We delude ourselves into believing that if we ask one more expert, if we read one more article, if we ask one more friend, then we will find the answers we need.
You can look to all sorts of market “indicators” to predict what may or may not happen. You can find an expert to reaffirm your belief of any scenario: The market will crash. The market will surge. Values will appreciate. Values will depreciate.
The fact is that you — they — we — simply do not know.
Nobody can predict the future. We can look to the past in an attempt to discover patterns, but patterns can change.
The only thing certain is now.
Do you like it? Does it feel like home? Do you want to live there?
Questions and Answers
I have learned that the difference between the people who end up happy and the people who drive themselves crazy is that those who drive themselves crazy revisit their decisions over and over. They get caught up in some small detail that, in the end, won’t matter much. They seek more answers until they forget what the question was in the first place.
The people who end up happy pull back to focus on the big picture. They recognize that no decision is final. You are not being asked to commit to marriage or children or a new job or a life lived a certain way for the next 30 years — as much as it may seem that way.
You are making a simple decision: do you feel that this is a place where you want to live?
When the answer is yes, then the particulars fade away. Everything will fall into place. When the answer is no, then no amount of information will be enough for you.
The big decisions we make in our lives — where to live, who to marry, what job to choose – must be made from the heart. We find reasons to support our decisions, but the decisions themselves are not rational. They are emotional.
The questions you are asking now are not really your questions. They are a mask for your doubts. They are hooks on which to hang the rationale for the decision you make.
The answers you seek — the answers to the real questions, the ones you are afraid to ask — will not come from any lender, any friend, any expert.
To find the answers you must stop asking questions.
Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and listen for the answer.
It is within you.