The Gift of Balance and Mindfulness in a Real Estate Transaction




During my years as a psychotherapist, I found that mindfulness training was a very effective tool in helping my clients manage strong emotional states or the challenges of changing negative behaviors. I got excellent feedback from clients who incorporated mindfulness or meditative strategies, and I certainly have made good use of those skills in my own life. I’m thrilled to find that there is a great utility for mindfulness strategies in the home buying and selling journey, albeit in a very different way.

Going through the process of buying OR selling a home requires a delicate balancing act. The number of players and personalities and processes creates a lot of moving parts. And lots of potential complications not anticipated at the happy moment that both sides come to agreement on terms and conditions. As a facilitator of the journey fully representing my clients interests, I find I must balance advice to stay in the moment, with encouragement to see past the stress of the transaction to focus on the longer term goal. For most people engaged in a 30 to 60 day process during which there is limited control over how things roll out, it is typical to experience moments of over-worrying about future problems that may never arise. It’s also common to find oneself getting so lost in the weeds of immediate stress that it’s easy to forget why we got started in the first place.

Imagine for a moment that you have just reached a negotiated agreement on the sale of your home. You might find yourself jumping right in to worry about all of the things that could potentially derail the closing of the sale. What if the loan goes south? What if things are found on the inspection? What if there’s an issue with the home owners association? What if a 100 year rain damages the roof prior to the sale of the home ? (that may sound eerily familiar to some of you who experienced just that at the beginning of September when the rains came and stayed awhile in Phoenix).  If you’re not careful, and making a conscious effort to remain focused in the moment and what’s directly in front of you, you may find your anxiety level going through that damaged roof. The more anxiety we experience, the fewer resources we have to problem solve. Worrying too much about the future, particularly future events that may not happen, or that can’t be prevented by taking immediate action, is an incredible waste of energy. And it removes you from the present moment where control is much more readily available.

Now, imagine being so overly focused on the minutia of the process that you become overwhelmed with each little detail. Every telephone call, email or text feels like a monumental mountain to climb; every concession or adjustment feels like it will leave a permanent scar, and you just cannot imagine not feeling as overwhelmed as you do in that moment. That’s the state of mind in which I’ve seen a buyer or seller reject a very fair, reasonable offer over a $500 home warranty plan for instance. They are unable to keep their eyes on their long term goal of buying or selling that home, because they are so wrapped up in the weeds of the negotiation. On a $250,000 home, how much will that $500 really matter 2 months after they’ve settled into their new life?

The trick to maintaing a cool head and a light heart during the stops and starts of the closing process, is to be mindful of where your energy is best spent. Work with your trusted agent to determine what steps are immediately necessary to avoid pitfalls, and what you can let go of until a later date. Communicate concerns as they arise, and allow your agents experience to guide you through minimizing those concerns. Make sure that you take time daily (even hourly on some days) to remind yourself of your “why”. Why are you working so hard to make your home look great? Why are you tolerating the difficult periods of waiting for inspection reports, appraisals, HOA requirements, etc.? Why are you submitting so much documentation to the lender that he knows more about you than  your own mother? When you think the process is never-ending and overwhelming, remind yourself of why you’re willing to endure it.

Balance and mindfulness. You might have thought they were just for yogi types. But they work wonders in real estate as well.



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