How Home Shoppers Feel, Why They Feel It & What They Can Do About It

Embarking on the journey of finding and eventually purchasing a home can be an emotional roller coaster with its fair share of highs and lows. Undoubtedly, it is one of the most significant decisions one can make, and while you may experience moments of elation, you might also encounter feelings of disappointment or despair. While it is difficult to predict how you will feel at every stage, experts have identified common emotions that arise during this crucial process. As Amanda Sacks, a clinical therapist who supports adults struggling with anxiety and navigating transitions, aptly puts it, “The home buying process requires acceptance of the unknown, which is a challenge in itself in today’s uncertain world.”

We had the privilege of speaking to mental health experts who specialize in helping buyers prepare for the marathon process of purchasing a home. They have identified emotions that are commonly experienced and provided helpful coping strategies to deal with them.


Buying a home can invite pressure from every direction, from real estate market conditions, to the loan approval process, to the big move itself.

“Buying a home taps into all parts of our mind: our basic need for shelter, and our attachment needs for a safe place to connect with ourselves and others,” says Christina Koepp, a licensed mental health counselor at Wellspring Family Services. “To take the risk and make an offer on a home, we need to be willing to attach to a new place to live, and — simultaneously — hold it loosely enough that it won’t be devastating to lose the bid. It’s a narrow path of guarded optimism.”

Uncertainty: Deciding whether or not you’re ready

The process of buying a home is emotional, and it’s perfectly normal to experience a range of feelings along the way. While everyone’s experience is unique, we want you to know that you’re not alone. To help prepare you for what’s to come, we’ve outlined some of the emotions you might encounter during the home buying process.

The first feeling that you might experience is uncertainty. Deciding whether or not you’re ready to take the leap into homeownership can be a daunting task. It’s natural to feel a bit overwhelmed as you navigate your current financial situation and determine if the timing is right for you. However, by doing some research, crunching the numbers, and envisioning what you want your future to look like, you can gain clarity on if purchasing a home is the right choice for you.

To help boost your confidence, it’s important to educate yourself on all the steps involved in the home buying process. However, it’s also crucial to remain open-minded and flexible, as things don’t always go according to plan. As licensed clinical social worker and anxiety coach, Carrie Howard advises, “Do your homework, plan, and educate yourself as much as possible, but remember to be adaptable when the unexpected happens.”

Apprehensive: Preparing to Talk About Your Finances

Discussing finances is often a deeply personal matter, and it can be challenging to open up about your financial situation and lifestyle. It’s completely understandable to feel apprehensive about delving into this aspect of the process. If you’re wondering how to prepare and approach your initial conversation with an agent and/or a loan officer, don’t worry – you’re not alone.

Excited: Searching for Your New Home

Looking for a new home can be an enjoyable and exciting adventure that offers numerous options and opportunities to explore what you like (and what you don’t). “While gathering ideas and browsing online, you might experience optimism, amazement, and awe,” stated Sacks. However, if your home search is taking longer than expected, or you’re feeling disappointed by houses being quickly sold, setting aside time each week to reflect on your personal priorities can help you stay positive.

Tired: Your 10th Open House Visit

The homebuying process can come with its fair share of challenges, including visiting countless open houses and taking private tours to find the perfect fit, which can be exhausting. “As you start to visit homes, you might feel amazed, optimistic, nervous or disappointed,” mentioned Sacks. This is an important time to be mindful of burnout and set aside time for physical activity and other enjoyable activities outside of your home search.

“I typically advise people to pace themselves on open houses and showings in general,” said Michael Hills, Vice President of Brokerage at Atlas Real Estate. “Sometimes folks get ‘showing fatigue,’ which can lead to discouragement in the process,” he added.

Happy: Finding “THE ONE”

“Finding your dream home is the most rewarding part of the home buying process,” declared Sacks. When you think you’ve found “the one,” you’ll probably feel a wide range of emotions, from excited to nervous and anxious. Even if the home you’ve found feels perfect for you, you might still question whether it’s the right fit, and that’s perfectly normal. “The emotions that arise during your home buying process might be fleeting or last a long time,” added Sacks. While it’s rare for a home to check every box on your list, try to have faith in the process, and take the time to soak in the joy of discovering the ideal place for you.

Disappointed: Losing the Offer

If you lost an offer on the house you were passionate about, you might feel disappointed, sad, and angry. It’s normal to feel hopeless and want to give up on the process altogether at this point. Unfortunately, losing an offer is a typical aspect of the home buying and searching journey. Give yourself time to process the disappointment, and then focus on moving forward with confidence and determination.

It’s also important to view each lost opportunity as a learning experience. Koepp recommends taking some time to reflect on the bid process and identifying any challenges or surprises that arose. This way, you can use this knowledge to improve your approach in the future. “Remember, each bid is unique and there’s always something to be learned,” she says. “Use this experience to make your next bid even stronger.”

Losing out on a home you really wanted can be a difficult and emotional experience, but it’s important to remember that it’s not the end of the road. According to Koepp, taking some time to process your disappointment and acknowledge your feelings is a healthy step. “It’s okay to take a break and give yourself space to feel your emotions,” she says. “Once you’ve done that, try to shift your focus to gratitude for the opportunity to even be in the running for a home you loved.”

Elated: Getting Your Offer Accepted

Congratulations on having your offer accepted for the house you fell in love with! It’s an incredible feeling of elation, pride, and relief. Take a moment to savor this success and appreciate the hard work you’ve put in to get here. Once the initial excitement subsides, you may feel some anticipatory anxiety for what’s next. Remember to give yourself time to process this excitement and enjoy this milestone.

Fearful: The inspection and negotiations

When it’s time for the house inspection, it’s normal to feel a little defensive, fearful, and worried. You might start to question if you missed any red flags or worry about unexpected problems arising. It’s understandable to second-guess your decision and feel anxious about the whole experience. However, it’s important to keep in mind that anxiety can disconnect you from your intuition and steal the joy out of home-buying. Focus on breathing through the uncomfortable feelings and rely on your support system to remind you of why you fell in love with the house in the first place.

Anxious: The Closing Process

As you wait for your mortgage to close, it’s common to feel anxious, worried, and even like you’ve forgotten something important. This is a completely normal feeling given the amount of paperwork and time involved in the process. Try to distract yourself with self-care and activities that bring you joy while you wait. Remember, worrying won’t make the process go any faster.

Proud: Getting the keys to your new house

Congratulations on getting the keys to your new home! You’re likely feeling a sense of pride, elation, and accomplishment. This is a big milestone in the home-buying process, and you deserve to feel proud of yourself. However, it’s also common to feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities that come with homeownership. Remember to take care of yourself during this busy time and give yourself a moment to celebrate and appreciate your accomplishment.

All The Feelings: Overwhelmed, Elated, and Relieved

Settling into your new home can be an exciting yet overwhelming experience. It’s normal to feel a range of emotions, including imposter syndrome, buyer’s remorse, and exhaustion. To make the process easier, try to stay organized and break down tasks into manageable pieces. It’s important to give yourself little moments to celebrate and feel proud amidst the chaos. Remember that you’ve worked hard to get here, and now you get to make your house feel like a home.


Buying a house can be a daunting and emotionally charged experience. It’s easy to get swept away in the excitement and emotional investment that comes with finding a potential new home. However, it’s important to maintain a level of detachment and perspective throughout the process. As Mary Koepp, a licensed marriage and family therapist, suggests, “try to be vulnerable enough to imagine your life in this potential new place,” while also protecting yourself from getting too attached too quickly.

To help maintain perspective and balance, it’s also useful to consider your preferences in general terms. Avoid all-or-nothing thinking and remember that there’s more than one place to find joy and contentment. Discuss your experiences with others and take time to reflect on what you’re looking for in a home. Keeping an open mind can help you stay focused and find the right fit.

Ultimately, buying a house is a significant life decision, and it’s essential to prepare yourself for the emotional ups and downs that come with the process. By maintaining perspective and balance, you can approach the experience with confidence and find the home that’s right for you. As Koepp reminds us, “trust that you’ll end up where you’re meant to be.”

Identify Your Non-Negotiables as Clearly as Possible

To strike a balance between being specific about your desires and remaining open to possibilities, it’s important to be clear about your deal-breakers. As Koepp suggests, determine beforehand if you’re only interested in a three-bedroom condo or a house with a garage. This will help prevent you from getting carried away by a property that may have some attractive features but also significant deal-breaking issues.

During the homebuying process, it’s essential to offer yourself grace and recognize that it won’t always be straightforward. As Koepp advises, “You get to be human in the midst of it.”

Find The Right Agent

Buying a house is an exciting journey, and having a trusted agent by your side can make all the difference. It’s important to choose an agent who provides you with peace of mind and reassurance every step of the way. If you ever feel uncomfortable or have any concerns, don’t hesitate to communicate them to your agent. They are there to support you.

Clearly communicate your wants, preferences, and non-negotiables to your agent. This will help them understand your needs and find properties that fit your criteria. By doing so, you can rest easy knowing that you and your agent are on the same page. Remember, your agent is your partner in the home buying process, and their goal is to help you find your dream home.

Manage Your Expectations

According to Koepp, “it’s important to approach the home buying process as a marathon, even if it feels like a sprint. The reality is that you never know how many offers you’ll need to make before one is accepted, and being prepared for a longer journey helps manage expectations and avoid disappointment.”

Summer Forlenza, a licensed family and marriage therapist, acknowledges that the home buying process can be a significant source of stress and anxiety. To mitigate these feelings, Forlenza recommends planning ahead and delaying other big life decisions until after the home buying process is complete. It’s crucial to prioritize self-care and mental health during this potentially exhausting process. Taking breaks and making time for relaxation and self-care can help alleviate stress and promote overall well-being.

Extend Kindness to Yourself

Koepp says this part can be challenging for some people. “It can be easy to doubt your judgment, become angry with your home-buying partner, or get obsessed with searching,” she says. “All these responses are understandable! Being kind means finding ways to rest, recharge and integrate each step along the way.”

Here are a few self-care tips to consider:

  • Take a break from scrolling through listings. While it’s essential to keep an eye on the market, constantly searching for homes can be overwhelming. Consider taking short breaks from house hunting to do something you enjoy or to relax and recenter yourself.
  • Prepare a comforting meal after a lost opportunity. It’s normal to feel disappointed and discouraged if you miss out on a home you were excited about. However, using that energy to cook a comforting meal or treat yourself to your favorite takeout can help soothe your disappointment.
  • Prioritize your sleep. Lack of sleep can exacerbate stress and anxiety levels. Try to establish a consistent sleep routine that allows for seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Going to bed earlier can help you wake up feeling refreshed and better able to tackle the challenges of the day.

Remember that taking care of yourself during the home buying process is not selfish. In fact, it is essential to ensure that you are making sound decisions and are happy with your eventual purchase.

Talk About Hour Home Buying Stress With Someone You Trust

It’s helpful for many people to simply “say out loud what’s rolling around in their mind,” says Koepp. “Some prefer to journal. Use whatever works for you; try to share the challenges, insights, dreams and goals that you’re noticing. Reach out often to loved ones to keep your awareness, energy, and perspective in line with your goals and hopes.” This will help you process as you go. 

Remember, these tips are intended as general advice. If you have specific concerns, are struggling or need help, contact a licensed mental health professional.