How emotions affect your decision to buy a house

October 13, 2017 - 3 min read

What it really means to buy a house

To buy a house means something different to everyone. The house becomes a place we celebrate the milestones of life.

Our homes allow us a comforting place to store our treasures, make memories and break bread with friends. We raise our children there, rock our grandchildren and live our lives through good and bad.

Research shows our emotions drive us more than we think when it’s time to make a purchase – even one as expensive as a house.

Time to make a move? Let us find the right mortgage for you

“I just liked it”

A 2013 survey by Commonwealth Bank revealed that 44 percent of Australian buyers paid more for a property because they “really like it.”

People make decisions on both sides of their brains to buy a house — the logical and emotional sides — says Jeff Shore, speaker, author and host of the new podcast “The Buyer’s Mind.”

“The emotional is hard to quantify. We feel it, but we don’t know how to describe it,” he adds. “It serves as a navigating source. Ultimately, there is that gut feeling that drives us in a more powerful way than our logical side.”

Certain emotions prompt us to buy

Shore believes three emotional factors dictate why human beings do what they do. Those include:

– It becomes the motivating factor for the reason we look for a home in the first place. Reasons come from such needs as a new baby arriving, a mother-in-law moving in or job relocation.

Promise – This motivating factor brings hope and joy in the future, such as that new baby.

Fear – This defines an inhibiting emotion including fear of buying something so expensive or fear of making a mistake.

An immediate emotional attachment – When people tour homes they really like, something happens to them. They begin to see themselves living there and moving their furniture in.

They begin looking into the future, visualizing their children’s stockings hanging on the fireplace mantel. The tour triggers future thoughts and hopes.”

“It’s just like a test drive of a car. How do I feel when I drive the car? It’s the same thing while walking through a home,” Shore says.

“IF you can’t feel like what it would feel like to live there, then the attachment isn’t there.”

Size and style outweigh family time -- A Wall Street Journal concluded that some people’s focus on picking a certain size or style of house outweighed their positions on other issues. One of those big factors included the long daily commute ,which would keep them away from their family much longer each day, just to live in that particular house.

Romanticized notions – An Insight Squared blog post, Why People Buy – Buyer Psychology of Purchase Decisions, claims that buyers love to hear about the previous owners – their jobs, their successes and why they are moving on. They feel they can picture themselves in the shoes of these people and experiencing the same successes.

Cultural beliefs – A Core Logic report on the 7 Factors That Influence a Home Buyer’s Decision shows that the address numbers on a home can capture or deter buyers because of superstitions. For instance, the number 4 is thought of negatively as its pronunciation translates to death in Mandarin Chinese.

Color lovefest – Certain colors provoke reactions in everyone. And that even translates to paying more money for a house painted certain colors. For instance,recent data supports the idea that houses with light pale blue to soft periwinkle blue bathrooms sold for $5,440 more than expected.

People want to feel peaceful in their homes. The survey found that walls painted cool neutrals like blue or gray offer a broad appeal, and may signal that the previous owners took good care of it.

Homes painted with darker colors, including terracotta, sold for $2,031 less than expected. But folks still want some color compared to stark white. Homes with white bathrooms sold for an average of $4,035 below similar homes.

Financial problems – Emotions can lead potential home buyers into bad financial decisions, Shore says.

“It happens all the time. It’s happening right now with people paying much more than the house is worth,” he says.

He referred to many growing areas of the country where lack of inventory has caused bidding wars and home prices skyrocketing.

When homebuyers allow their emotions to go a little crazy, it completely trumps the logic, he says.

“Buying a home will always be an emotional decision,” he adds.

To buy a house represents so much more than a mortgage or property taxes.

“If you think about your five earliest childhood memories, it’s a pretty good guess that all five took place in your home,” Shore says.

Behind each door live a thousand stories. You can’t say that about any other product that people own.

“No stocks, bonds, or savings accounts have that many emotions attached to them,” he adds.

Lee Nelson
Authored By: Lee Nelson
The Mortgage Reports contributor
Lee Nelson is a Chicago-based writer whose work has appeared on, Yahoo! Homes,, and more.