Many years ago Craig MacTavish, then the coach of the Edmonton Oilers, used the phrase "paralysis by analysis" when describing the way the organization had focused so much on getting information that they were paralyzed to do anything with that information. This phrase was something I instantly connected and related to within the field of real estate, as I have seen it time and time again with home buyers.
I wish I could say that I have never personally experienced this feeling myself, but I am guilty of this as well in a few different situations - one is Christmas present buying, and the other is buying cereal. In both scenarios I am never satisfied with the decision I make, because of the sheer number of other decisions I could have made instead.
This is compounded in the home buying process because of the following 2 factors: 1) there is an incredible amount of statistics and information available to today's home buyer, and 2) The importance of the home buying decision cause buyers to become very nervous. This is understandable because for many, it will be the most money they will ever commit to spending in their life!
Unfortunately what happens is that by over analyzing things is that the home buyer can become paralyzed from making any decision, because they are afraid that you are going to make a bad decision and/or afraid that there is a better decision out there that you haven't seen. This occurs most often in the home viewing phase. I have had clients as recent as this year who wanted to view 75 properties or more without making a decision! That's paralysis by analysis.
Here are a few tips to help home buyers from getting trapped in the "paralysis by analysis" stage:
- Spend the right amount of time getting your needs and wants list put together before starting to view homes. This will help you stay focused on what you want rather than be seduced by what you see.
- Concentrate on getting information ONLY about the specific areas you are interested in. If you are looking in the Southwest part of town, Northeast properties should never be on your radar!
- When getting automated emails of new listings on the market, ask specifically for a shorter, bare bones viewing description first. Then, if you like a property, you can request a more detailed info package from your Realtor . This will help you from receiving extra unnecessary information.
- Try to avoid relying on anecdotal stories from friends and family that a) usually have very little to do with your situation and b) and not entirely truthful.
Remember - that information is not the goal, getting the right information so that you can make the best decision for you is the goal! Keep this in mind so you don't let Paralysis by Analysis cripple your home buying progress!