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A first-time homebuyer told me that signing the purchase agreement just about made her sick with stress. She asked if that is normal, I had to tell her it is normal to feel stress while signing a purchase agreement. Home purchases should not be taken lightly. Often the purchase of a home is the largest purchase we ever make.

Some real estate agents advertise that they can take the stress out of home buying. It isn’t even possible to know ahead of time what is going to cause the most stress or what the sellers might decide to do that will make the process extra stressful. There isn’t any way to take all of the stress out of the process. Some people are easily stressed out and others are not.

Here are some of the main sources of first time homebuyer stress:

  1. Doing something for the first time that involves a large sum of money.
  2. Never feeling in charge of the situation.
  3. knowing that owning a home will be a significant change that will affect most other aspects of life.
  4. The stress of having a mortgage and dealing with a lender.
  5. Issues uncovered during the inspection process or in dealing with the sellers.
  6. Moving.

Those are the main stressors but there are many more. Waiting is can be a huge stressor and there are times when we just have to wait. Competing with other buyers, the fear of paying too much and finding problems during an inspection are a few more.

I encourage people to listen to that inner voice and work through the issues. For most people owning a home is worth the effort.

Be prepared to deal with the ups and downs during the home search and buying process.

Thirteen percent of first-time homebuyers surveyed by the National Association of Realtors last year said their primary reason for purchasing — primary reason, mind you — was the $8,000 federal tax credit.

That was the second most popular answer after “I wanted to own my own home.” The third most popular answer: “Affordability of homes,” which was the top pick for 8 percent of first-time buyers surveyed.

The trade group’s survey results have been out for a while — and the questionnaire itself was mailed out last July to buyers who purchased between July 2009 and June 2010 — but, hey, I just stumbled across it. I thought you might like to chew over the figures, too. Is it alarming that anyone took on the responsibility of homeownership primarily for an $8,000 tax break … or, considering the multi-billion-dollar cost of that incentive, that just 13 percent did?

For repeat buyers, the tax credit was $6,500, but only assuming they met the very specific qualifications. It wasn’t nearly as popular as the credit for first-time buyers, and the survey results reflect that: Just 3 percent of repeat buyers cited the credit as the primary factor for their purchase. The desire for a larger place was the key motivator.

If you bought — or sold — in the last few years, share: What was your primary reason?  What about the secondary and tertiary ones?

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