Real Estate Obsessed? 5 Signs You May Need Help

1. The Online House Hunting Tic. These are the folks who are always online, looking at listings, searching for houses — whether they are actually looking for homes or not! (Frankly, this is just an online extension of the behavior symptomized by an obsession with TV shows like “House Hunters” and “House Hunters International”

And there are several variants on this. Some people just want to know what’s on the market in their neighborhoods and their towns. Others take a more escapist approach, searching for homes in the areas they fantasize about living in, whether or not they actually have any sort of plan on moving. Life would be perfect if …

2. The Open House Tic. This is a hybrid online and offline version of the fixation exhibited by those who get online every Friday and Saturday to prepare their plan of attack for Sunday open houses. This behavior is completely normal and, even, advisable, in actual house hunters — people who are actually in the market to buy a home, or even home sellers who are (wisely) seeking to scope out the competition.

But it takes on a compulsive element when people who have just bought a home, or have no intention of buying a home anytime soon keep open-house hunting as a weekly habit.

To be fair, this goes on the list of relatively harmless vices, except to the extent that it signals or churns up that feeling of constant discontent, that sense that the home you have is never quite enough.

3. Interest Rate OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). Chances are good that you know someone who suffers from these symptoms: obsessively checking online mortgage and news sites to see whether mortgage interest rates have gone up or down, often either (a) dropping an email to their mortgage broker afterward to see whether they’ve dropped low enough to warrant a refinance, or (b) freaking entirely out that they locked their interest rate or refinanced too soon to catch the very lowest rates.

Market conditions these last few years have only caused this epidemic to spread, as every time we think rates have gotten about as low as they ever have or ever will, it seems like a new “historic low” benchmark is set the very next week.

4. Amateur Appraiser Syndrome. The advent of home-value estimates on various real estate sites has caused some people to fixate on what the sites say is the value of their home. That’s not that strange, considering that our homes are our biggest assets and that they have taken such a hit in value of late.

However, it becomes a little strange when you leverage these sites to voyeuristic purposes, tackling your Christmas card address list or your friends’ and neighbors’ addresses to figure out what the algorithm says their homes are worth, and why you do or don’t agree with that.

5. Incessant Redecorating Syndrome. Typically, people suffering from Incessant Redecorating Syndrome tend to prowl celebrity home listings and luxury home sites, as well as home decor and furnishing sites, well, incessantly, even if they live in a fully furnished rental or just peeled the stickers off their new furniture at home.

And they often do these searches on their laptops, while watching home remodeling shows on television or flipping through home decor magazines.

It’s a compulsion.

These behaviors, which are actually smart and a great use of technology if you’re readying to make an actual real estate move, can become obsessive and even a distraction from other things you should be doing if you persist at it, allowing it to take up a large amount of your time, even when you have no intention or even the vaguest plan of making a move.

Written by:  Tara-Nichille Nelson via Inman News, January 23, 2012



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