- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Buying or selling a house — or at least the decision to do so — is fraught with emotional bombshells. As you approach the prospects of buying your next home or investment property — or selling, for that matter — keep in mind that you’re about to go through a Grand Canyon of emotional ups and downs.

One sales training Web site I came across says: “People buy products to gain emotional rewards and justify buying with logical reasons. Your ad copy must trigger emotion(s) that will persuade your prospects to buy your product.”

Having spent a few years in various sales positions, I can attest that it is true: People buy a lot of products because of emotional factors.

A University of Florida study (www.napa.ufl.edu/2002news/ademotions.htm), contends that “Emotions were nearly twice as important as knowledge in buying decisions.”

In fact, sales training courses have techniques that prey on emotions, such as the “Embarrassment Close.” Here, the salesperson makes the consumer feel embarrassed for not buying.

Where do you stand with your emotions in the process? It’s not that emotions have no place in the real estate purchase process. I’m as guilty as anyone of buying because I liked the way a product appealed to my pride, sense of image, or even covetous desires to just have more than the Joneses.

So don’t think you’re going to be able to buy a house with an emotionless stoicism.

In fact, it shouldn’t be merely logical.

If we all purchased homes based on what was logical, we would be living in the most basic property that met our basic needs. Besides, the 1,200-square-foot, $200,000 condo protects me from the elements as much as the 8,500-square-foot, $2,000,000 estate.

Aim your buying arrow somewhere in the middle.

The UF study reported that “marketers should focus more on understanding how to connect with their audiences on emotional as well as intellectual levels,” and encouraged buyers to understand what is going on with themselves emotionally as they make a decision — especially on big-ticket items.

Part of the real estate frenzy of the last several years was emotion-driven. Yes, a lot of money was to be made in the hottest of markets, however, it was the emotional high from believing instant riches would follow the purchase that got more people into real estate than the fact that it is a good investment.

Real estate has always been a great investment. What’s interesting is that any investment expert will tell you to buy low and sell high — not buy high and sell higher. But the emotional exuberance of buying a house with a $25,000 deposit and flipping it in six months to the tune of a $100,000 profit continued driving prices and the market.

Now that the market has returned to normal, the common-sense investor and home buyer can really profit from a left-brain, number-crunching approach, balanced with the emotional joy of owning a really nice house.

As you walk through houses for sale, the experienced agents will still tell you, “You’ll just know when you’ve walked into ‘your’ house.”

They are exactly right. On the logical side, you should ask: Can I afford it, does it meet our financial limitations? On emotional side, you should exclaim: “Wow. This is the place because I feel at home.”

Good luck. Happy buying.

M. Anthony Carr has written about real estate since 1989. He is the author of “Real Estate Investing Made Simple.” Post questions or comments at his Web log (https://commonsensereal


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