Do I get a Mulligan?

Last week we were musing about Buyers Remorse. That torturous aspect of real estate that seems to take great pleasure in showing up like an unwanted guest in the middle of so many escrows.

I’m sure we Realtors use the phrase too much. Extend the fragile umbrella of its meaning too far into the twisting wind. But what else can we call “it”?

There has to be some way to talk about those clandestine meetings that arise in our clients’ heads when they’re navigating something as huge as buying a house. Not to mention all the other major life transitions that come along part and parcel with their shifts in home-ness.

There’s got to be some common term for the cascade effect that occurs when people’s worry centers start throwing “What-Ifs” wildly up into the air like ping- pong balls in the lotto game of life.

There has to be some language that captures those scary moments when buyer emotions ratchet up because real life is suddenly on the verge of becoming more real. When dreaming and talking get squeezed by events into the necessity of actually doing and deciding.

Swells of commitment approaching. Rogue waves that can’t be taken back. Tides of inevitability rushing past warning buoys towards a bridge too far and the tipping point of no return. Offer to Negotiation to Acceptance to Deposit to Inspections to Release of Contingencies to Sign-Off to Close.

Yikes! OMG! What if I make a mistake? Will God give me a mulligan?

Yep. Buyers Remorse – a staple of real estate. A dish found hanging around the table whenever the heat gets turned up in the kitchen and the escrow pot starts boiling. A daily special cooked and served up in all kinds of strange and interesting ways. Steamed. Grilled. Poached. And definitely fried.

Funny, the more ways Buyers Remorse gets prepared. the more unprepared I seem to be when it rears its all-too human head. Call it an occupational hazard – the spectre of escrow-interruptus still lurks like a shadow around every corner.

Somehow, I’ve managed to stay sane and adjust my own frame of reference over time. Here’s an analogy that makes it all make more sense – at least to me.

Close your eyes. Let your imagination drift back to college. A memorable Friday night. Alone at the local watering hole having a few beers. Looking across the room. Making eye contact . Love at first sight. Brain chemicals racing to the heart. Fireworks exploding. And in some fashion (appropriate to a family newspaper) a magical weekend spent with your new-found desire.

Then….Monday morning comes. The alarm goes off. The real world calls. You return to that other life – where the rest of you starts to question the whole experience.

Now fast forward to real estate land. Look at how the process is designed. No wonder it scares the hell out of just about everyone.

Buyers fall in love with houses. Get swept up in emotion. Make offers that are accepted. So far so good.

But happens next? They hire the equivalent of several private detectives in the form of Home Inspectors and Termite Guys to come and tell them everything that could possibly be wrong with the thing they just fell in love with. They pay people money to test their resolve and break the bonds of emotion captivating them.

At the same time their Agent hands them thick dossiers of information about all the secret things about homes that could harm them. Asbestos. Radon Gas. Lead Based Paint. Floods. Earthquakes. Who knew there were this many horsemen of the apocalypse?

Buyers Remorse isn’t some awful aberration of the psyche. It is something that’s infinitely normal. Is there any buyer on the planet that doesn’t wake up at least once during the course of escrow plagued by tremors of doubt and at least the mild choking sensation of existential terror? If so, then they must be living life as an automaton, without benefit of the normal emotional chip the rest of us were born with.

 

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