If you’ve been in the market for a home in the last year, you know how competitive — and sometimes grueling — it is. For the past 18 months, homebuyers have navigated a historically hot housing market rife with bidding wars and skyrocketing prices, and they’ve grappled with questions of whether now is really the right time to buy.
With those conditions, it’s no wonder when buyer fatigue sets in. There are only so many open houses you can take, after all.
But if you’re a buyer who feels on the edge of disillusionment or burnout, there are steps to take to avoid buyer fatigue and find your ideal home now.
What's in this Article?
If you’re a buyer wondering why you should continue your search and whether it’s still a good time to buy, know that these questions are common among homebuyers right now.
Housing prices have risen substantially across the U.S. in the past year, and the demand for homes has made market conditions great for sellers but stressful for buyers.
When you set out, you were likely excited about the prospect of purchasing a new home. But a few months in, you might be questioning the wisdom of that decision. Perhaps you’re even rethinking whether it’s worth buying now at all.
The answer to that line of thinking? Yes, buying in a seller’s market is stressful. But there are still plenty of opportunities — and it is still the right time to pursue them.
“I’m personally a believer that there’s never a bad time to buy or sell, and what I mean by that is it’s not market specific, it’s personal and situation specific,” said Nick Deckard, REALTOR at eXp Realty. “For people who want or need to make the move right now, it’s still a good time because it’s the right time for them. Whether that’s upsizing, downsizing, or whatever’s causing them to think about making this decision, there’s never going to be a bad time.”
The biggest reason it’s smart to buy now, Deckard adds, is the current historically low interest rates that make homes affordable.
Low mortgage rates are a key reason to persevere, even if you’re buying in a challenging market. Locking in a low rate now can save you tens of thousands of dollars in interest over the life of the loan.
The interest rate you get also affects how much home you can buy, since lenders factor interest on your mortgage payment into your debt-to-income ratio (DTI)**. A lower DTI can help you qualify for a larger loan.
Importantly, the sooner you buy a home, the sooner you begin to build equity. And equity is vital to wealth creation and financial stability for most Americans.
“Homeownership has always been the American dream, and we’ve seen even in places where appreciation rates haven’t been high historically, in the past year, those appreciation rates have come up like, 20%, which is shocking, even in suburban and even rural places,” said Michelle Mumoli, Broker-Associate at Compass NJ. Buying now means getting in on that appreciation. Homeownership builds equity and wealth while providing one of the best returns on investment in the long run, she added.
“It’s always a good time to buy a home. … And what I tell people is yes, the interest rates are not always going to be 2.87%, or even 4%. They may be 6% in the future,” Mumoli said. “But you’re still ultimately owning a piece of property that if you take care of, you’ll always make a profit on. … You take care of your property, and properties take care of you.”
Related reading: Why Homeownership Holds the Key to Wealth Creation in America
Here are some expert tips for conquering buyer fatigue and getting back on track to buying your dream home.
“The biggest thing buyers should know is that burnout is temporary and avoidable,” Deckard said. “I’ve found that most buyer fatigue happens when buyers are trying to play catch up or cram for the exam, so if they haven’t prepared, haven’t had discussions with their agent about strategies, contingencies, everything that goes into putting a strong offer together in this market, then it’s very overwhelming.”
There are several stages to the homebuying process, and each one is demanding. Communicating often with your lender and real estate agent will keep you informed and focused on the task at hand, rather than getting overwhelmed by the big picture.
Deckard said that’s why it’s important to have “an agent who can talk you through the rollercoaster ride that we’re all going through right now to ensure everybody’s aligned and everybody’s rowing in the same direction.”
Related reading: How To Buy a House in 11 Steps
Keeping perspective and enjoying your homebuying journey comes down to setting expectations about purchasing in the current market, Mumoli said.
Especially with low inventory (the number of homes available) and properties selling for well above the list price, she recommended preparing yourself for a quick purchase timeline once you have an offer accepted and working with an agent who will be your advocate.
“We have to be [homebuyers’] cheerleaders and spokespeople, and have to be supportive of their needs and be able to relay any information about the sellers and the seller’s needs to them as well,” Mumoli said.
Before choosing a real estate agent to work with, ask them about past clients and their communication style. Find out how hands-on they will be, even if it takes longer than expected to help you find the right home.
Focus also matters. Instead of running through a bunch of listings and showings as quickly as you can, zero in on properties with a high likelihood of being a fit for your budget and needs. Not only does this enable you to move quickly on properties you’re excited about, you also avoid the disappointment and defeat that come with having multiple offers turned down.
Seeing a house is no small venture. You tour the property, scrutinizing it for features you like, trying to determine whether it fulfills your wish list or whether it has too many red flags for you to want to buy. Then you go home and crunch the numbers, decide whether you want to take a chance on the property and what your offer will be.
Try doing that two and three — or five or 10 — times, and you’re all but guaranteed to get buyer fatigue.
To avoid that outcome, limit the number of home walkthroughs you schedule in a short period of time. Give yourself a chance to really explore each property and think through whether you can see yourself living there.
“[Home’s] a place that you really have to feel comfortable in and you have to have a good time looking at it. If you start seeing it as a chore and this imposing thing, you’re not going to have fun,” Mumoli said.
If during your homebuying journey you feel stressed, overwhelmed, or burned out, and you’re not having fun anymore, it’s OK to take a step back.
“If you need to take a vacation, take your vacation, forget about it, take it off your mind, and what I find is that in that time, usually it’s a week, their needs are reassessed,” Mumoli said. “Most times, they come back completely refreshed as if it’s the first time we’re seeing something, and we get an offer accepted.”
The buying process doesn’t have to be grueling, especially if you maintain the right mindset.
“Just knowing that this is going to be a fast-paced ride doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be a stressful ride,” Deckard said. “Get clear on what you want, have a very strong, trusting relationship with your agent, and honestly, anything is possible. It might take one try, it might take 20 tries, but if you’re clear on what you want and what you’re willing to do to get it, it can happen.”
Buyer Fatigue FAQs
Yes! It’s one of the biggest financial purchases and investments most people ever make, not to mention a highly personal and emotional decision. It’s normal to feel unsure, fearful, excited, and happy — sometimes all in the same day.
To minimize buyer fatigue and burnout, focus on the immediate next step rather than getting caught up worrying about the rest of the process. And remember to have fun and tune into your intuition when visiting houses. You’re going to live here, after all.
Yes, buyers’ remorse is a totally normal reaction after buying a house. To avoid a prolonged slump, however, try to remember why you loved the home in the first place. And if you’re really unhappy with the house, consider it an investment in your future. Maintain it and even make some strategic renovations, and then you can sell it for a profit or turn it into a rental when you move on to your next home.
The homebuying process demands a lot of potential homebuyers. Sure, it’s fun to scroll listings and visit properties. But when the reality of the commitment sinks in, you might start to stress about making the right decision or the amount of money you need upfront. The best thing you can do is consult with a real estate agent and mortgage lender you trust, as they can help you find the right home and navigate the loan application and closing process with confidence and minimal stress.
If you feel like you may be dealing with buyer fatigue and are overwhelmed by the homebuying process, stop scrolling through listings (at least for the night), reassess your must-haves, and talk to your real estate agent about how you can get creative in your search.
Homebuying doesn’t have to be a stress-laden adventure that leads to burnout. It can be one of the most rewarding decisions you make, as long as you keep the end goal in mind and allow yourself to learn and enjoy the journey along the way.
*Pre-approval is based on a preliminary review of credit information provided to Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation, which has not been reviewed by underwriting. If you have submitted verifying documentation, you have done so voluntarily. Final loan approval is subject to a full underwriting review of support documentation including, but not limited to, applicants’ creditworthiness, assets, income information, and a satisfactory appraisal.
**Debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is monthly debt/expenses divided by gross monthly income.