Taking the stress out of buying and building

A property purchase is a big, one-off event and a build can take many weeks or even months – but learning to remain calm throughout will help you enjoy the process. 


Creating a home should be a very exciting time – it represents responsibility, independence, privilege, a level of financial success and possibly a new period in your life. However, for many people, the process is extremely stressful. Getting finance, finding – or building – the right house, negotiating a price, supervising the build and moving in can all create high levels of stress. But they don’t have to.

Why is it emotional?

Buying or building a house is a big commitment and a huge financial outlay – you may be in debt for up to 30 years. There is also a lot of decision-making involved. What kind of house and in what type of neighbourhood do you want or need and what can you afford? 

It’s also incredibly time-consuming researching, planning, financing and searching for the right property, builder and materials. These situations can take your emotions up and down, causing high levels of stress.

What is stress?

High levels of stress are always a bad thing. Stress causes a rise in blood pressure and heartbeat, makes breathing more rapid, depletes the immune system, causes muscle tension and disrupts sleep. But what actually causes it? 

This is where people differ. We assess various situations to decide whether something is a threat and how we can deal with it depends on our resources and temperament. If we don’t feel we have the resources to deal with a situation, we feel stressed. But it’s our response to the situation, rather than the situation itself, that causes stress. 

It’s important to recognise stress in ourselves and others if we want to relieve it. If someone is moody and irritable, unhappy, displaying poor judgement, always negative, anxious, unable to concentrate, frequently sick or displaying nervous habits (to name just a few!), then they’re probably highly stressed.

Dealing with stress

Emotional intelligence helps people understand when they are stressed and deal with it constructively. Here are a few techniques to boost your emotional intelligence when buying a house and stay calm.

  • Prepare: Know what you want but be flexible and work out what you will compromise on. Start with a financial plan and budget and stick to it. Educate yourself on the market so you know what properties are worth. Always get a pest and building inspection to avoid heartache down the track.
  • Be assertive: Don’t allow others to railroad you into something you don’t feel sure about. Delegate some responsibilities of research, preparation and planning to others if you can.
  • Don’t DIY: Building a house is a complex jigsaw so make sure all the pieces are in place before you break ground. This is something the builder will organise in the case of a pre-designed home but otherwise hiring an experienced project manager is essential unless you are able to take it on full time for the duration of the build.  
  • Control your thoughts: Don’t ask ‘what if’ – if a sale doesn’t work out, another suitable property will come along. Focus on the positives and eliminate negative self-talk. Try to practice gratitude – only a small proportion of people in the world will actually own their own home and you’re one of them! 
  • Use physical techniques: Exercising, deep breathing, reducing alcohol and caffeine intake, taking time out, getting enough sleep and talking to your support network about your concerns can all help you manage the physical symptoms of stress.
     

Disclaimer:

The information in this section has been prepared as general information only without consideration for your particular investment objectives, financial circumstances or particular needs. Read the full disclaimer.