How to keep your cool when househunting

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If the thought of searching for a new home is enough to make you switch off, you are not alone.

Fifty-five per cent of buyers consider the process so stressful they would rather stay in their current property, with almost one in five, or 18.6 per cent, prepared to switch off from social media for an entire month rather than look for a new home.

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That is according to new research from Allianz Australia, which found that house hunting had affected the emotional and mental wellbeing of more than 50 per cent of its 1003 survey respondents, all of whom had either bought in the past five years or were planning to buy in the next 12 months.

Buying a home is said to be one of life’s most stressful events

Allianz Australia general manager of Home and Lifestyle Rachael Poole said buying a new home was one of life’s most stressful events.

“To help manage the stress, many homeowners tell us they wished they had known more about the additional costs involved in buying a house, and had a better understanding of what was realistic for their budget, from the outset,” she said.

“Bearing this in mind, prospective buyers can reduce potential stress by better understanding the end-to-end costs of purchasing a property and what they are willing to compromise on.”

So what is important to house hunters?

Achieving ‘the Australian dream’ of home ownership was a key motivator for buyers, followed by changing lifestyle needs.

The research found that price was the number one consideration (46 per cent), with the suburb (37 per cent), property size (27 per cent), proximity to amenities (26 per cent) and the warm and fuzzy feelings associated with the property (36 per cent) other key concerns.

But many felt they were unprepared for the process, with the survey revealing that buyers wished they had a more realistic view about the properties available within their budget (14.2 per cent), how long the process would take from start to finish (14.6 per cent), and the additional associated costs.

And when it comes to dealing with the stress of buying a new home, buyers tended to reach out to family and friends (42.8 per cent) for advice or a pep talk, or readjusted their expectations (25.5 per cent), according to the results.

“Buying a home represents more than a roof over our head,” Allianz Australia’s wellbeing advocate Sarah McKay said.

“Our homes protect us, keep our family safe, comfortable and together and tap into our basic human need for security.

“With all of this at stake, it’s not surprising that buying a home can be stressful.”

To make the process less daunting, Dr McKay offered the following tips to cope with the stress:

1. Re-think your stress response — See the positive in the challenge that may be causing stress, for example the beautiful home for the family at the end of the buying process.

2. Build your tolerance for uncertainty — Tolerating a small amount of uncertainty is similar to building a muscle. For example, let someone else choose your dinner from a menu, or spend a day without researching real estate listings.

3. Connect with others — Moving is one life event to which most people are able to relate. Even if you feel you lack time or mental energy to socialise, have a coffee with a friend, ask someone to help pack crockery, or cry on a supportive shoulder over the dream home you lost at the auction.

4. Practice gratitude — Counting your blessings is not just for the Instagram fans. Mental health researchers will tell you that the practice of directing your attention towards the good matters in your life, feeds positive emotions.

5. Finally, let yourself grieve — if you did not get the house you wanted or the home

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