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Last updated: February 7, 2022 • Real Estate Investing

The Power of Emotion: Buying and Selling a Home

In any given community, there can be a number of homes on the market, big or small, luxurious or modest, and anything else in between. However, while some of these homes sell faster than others, many remain on the market for months. The interesting part is that homes that are harder to sell may not necessarily have anything wrong with them on paper. Sometimes it all comes down to emotions. Buyers may just be having a difficult time imagining themselves living in the home. So, what differentiates a dream home from any other regular listing? While curb appeal also influences sales, homebuyers that gain an emotional attachment to a home will be more inclined to put in an offer for the property. The power of emotion plays an instrumental role in the home buying and selling process.

In everyday life, we all face the conundrum of emotions vs. logic. In some cases, this struggle might be more complicated than in others. Usually, the more complex a situation is, the more difficult it is to make a logical decision because the outcome isn’t certain. We all tend to trust our emotions – even if they might not always be correct. The best way to make an important decision is to find the balance between logic and emotions, but in the real estate industry, only by working with real estate investors does logic win. Residential buyers are guided by their emotions more often than not, and the industry needs to understand that this isn’t a weapon to be used against them. A client that is unhappy with their decision a month, a year, or two years later might look for another real estate agent to work with next time.

How Emotions Affect Real Estate Transactions

happy family married couple

As a good real estate agent, you have to understand that a real estate transaction is, in many ways, like falling in love for many buyers and sellers. I know. Bear with me here! When you meet your Tinder date for the first time, you have an initial reaction. If that initial reaction is positive, you will experience positive feelings – you are interested, ask questions, listen, and follow up with a second date. However, if your first reaction is negative, you will lose interest fast, and a second date is out of the books.

But how does this apply to the real estate process? Once the first showing is over, the prospective buyer will want more information about it. They’ll arrange a second showing, maybe even make an offer. In other words, they will approach the potential transaction with interest. Positive feelings result in something called the “approach behavior”. However, after the initial viewing, your client experiences negative emotions, or what is called “avoidance behavior”, they will ignore information about the property or simply walk away. 

It’s important to note that these feelings don’t necessarily need a lot of time to build up. They can be instant and powerful, resulting in deep, sometimes unconscious, like or dislike for the property. Emotional reactions occur to both buyers and sellers, and they can both experience a sense of loss when the sale falls through. Whether they fell in love with a house and the seller backs out, or they made an emotional connection with the potential buyer, and the buyer backs out, they wind up back to square one. The search starts again, and they have to withdraw their emotional investment and find the next best thing to fall in love with. There are also instances when a client might be initially drawn to a house but then lose interest. The job of a real estate agent is to understand what provokes these emotions and how to manage their clients’ experiences with the property to inspire positive emotions and advise them towards the best decision for them.

Emotional Guidelines

While a real estate transaction is a practical and economic decision, emotions are a guiding force in the decision-making process. Sellers can find it hard to distance themselves from the property, taking every feedback directed at the house as a personal attack. Buyers need to feel connected to the property in a way for a positive emotion to be provoked. The last thing you want is for them to experience buyer’s remorse. It’s not easy to inspire such emotions. Still, real estate agents can focus on the following methods aside from general marketing tips, to ensure that their clients make informed decisions during the real estate process based on emotions and logic.

Establishing the Value

how much is my home worth sign

As a real estate agent, you are aware of the current real estate market. You know if it’s a seller’s or a buyer’s market. Your clients might not care about that, and when you assist a seller with setting a price for their home, it won’t matter to them that the comparable across the street from them was sold a week ago for $360,000. They lived for 20 years in their home, and no price tag can evaluate the emotional connection with the house. You need to wear the logic cape, make them understand how the market works and how the value of a home is established. Bring comparables into the equation, mortgages, evaluations, and so on, for them to understand that the market dictates the price. The new buyer won’t buy the home based on your client’s emotional investment but for their family. By using logic, you guide your client away from their emotional connection without disregarding them. Aim for a balance between the two traits in an effort to guide your client forward.

On the other hand, a buyer needs to see beyond the home’s features and look at the bigger picture. The backyard swing isn’t only a rope tied to a tree and a piece of wood. That is the place where their children or grandchildren will have fun. The indoor fireplace isn’t only a heating system, but their cozy or Hygge nook where they can enjoy the company of their closest friends and relatives. It’s all about the client’s ability to imagine themselves living in the house. Minor elements like where will the Christmas tree go and other emotional moments.

Wish Lists

creativity comfort people

Many buyers go into the buying process with a wishlist for a new home in mind. Some buyers request that their real estate agent find a home with a certain number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Buyers in 2021 may also be looking for a home within a specific location or school district. Perhaps the buyer wants a house of a certain size or style with an extra room. Some clients may even have particular requests like wanting a turnkey home with certain types of features already within their home, such as surround sound or soft close drawers and cabinets. 

In most cases, when a realtor finds the house that their client wants that meets all of their wishlist criteria, the clients immediately put in an offer for the home. Sometimes, clients need something more than a home that completely matches their wishlist to make them fall in love with the property. What happens when a completely checked wishlist seems like it is not enough? It may be time to stage the home.


scandinavian concept living room

Some home buyers go into the buying process with little imagination. That is why, with some clients, finding the right home may take much longer than expected. For clients who have difficulty visualizing themselves living in a home, staging the house will be effective. Although a home may meet a client’s wish list criteria, staging the home will help to build an emotional attachment to that property. Adding decorative or scented candles to the rooms of the home can make a difference. Also, adding flowers and linens can make the home seem cozier. Staging can also be done with actual furniture to make the home feel lived in. Understanding what it takes to sell a home is a bit more complicated than just showing a property to potential buyers and because of the emotional involvement that comes with real estate transactions, realtors need to step it up a notch.


With the power of emotions in the real estate world, understanding how they work should be a strong focus. However, the potential issue with this is that emotions can be manipulated, but only for a short period of time. Once the veil is lifted, the client will be dissatisfied with your collaboration, and that can result in anything from one lost client to a tarnished reputation. Understanding and accommodating a client’s emotions is an art form and is not to be taken lightly. Whenever a potential buyer or seller creates an emotional connection with a house or buyer, they may feel disappointed if the feelings are not mutual. Creating an emotional attachment to a home for clients is powerful and can get the best result for home buying and selling. Aim to guide them through this process, gain their trust, as the real estate process is stressful enough as it is. Let us know in the comments section below if you consider emotions essential in the real estate market. Like & Share this article with fellow real estate agents and get ready to increase your home sales?


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