With new research showing that buying a home impacts the mental health of one in two Aussie buyers, a wellbeing advocate has provided some key insight on how to cope.
Research from Allianz Australia has found searching for a new home affects the mental and emotional wellbeing of 51 per cent of Aussie home buyers.
Of the group surveyed, a further 55 per cent said they would rather stay in their current home longer than have to deal with the stress that comes with buying a new home. Meanwhile, 18.6 per cent who are stressed out by the process said they’d rather go without social media for a month than enter the housing market.
“Although the ‘Australian dream’ of owning a home is a primary driver of property sales, we know that buying a home is one of the most stressful life events. While this stress is understandable, know that it should be reasonably short-lived, with half of people purchasing their home within six months of beginning their search for a home," said Rachael Poole, general manager of Home and Lifestyle at Allianz Australia.
“To help manage the stress, many home owners 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. 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.”
The research found 42.8 per cent of property hunters utilise their family and friends to help cope with the stress of buying a home, while 25.5 per cent say readjusting their expectations helps alleviate stress.
“We are social creatures, so connecting with family and friends throughout the buying journey can help alleviate stress. When we spend time with friends and loved ones, the bonding hormone oxytocin is released in our brain. Oxytocin not only makes us feel good, but it also counteracts the effects of the stress hormone cortisol,” Dr Sarah McKay, Allianz’s wellbeing advocate, said.
“Buying a home represents more than a roof over our head. 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.”
Dr McKay’s top five tips for alleviating stress when buying property are:
1. Rethink your stress response
“See the positive in the challenge that may be causing stress e.g. a beautiful home for the family at the end of the buying process,” she said.
2. Build your tolerance for uncertainty
“Practice 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,” Dr McKay said.
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 in the auction,” she said.
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,” Dr McKay said.
5. Let yourself grieve
“If you did not get the house you wanted or the home purchase journey did not go as planned. Give yourself time,” she said.