How to Understand the Stress of Buying a Home


The Life Stress Inventory by Holmes and Rahe

The Life Stress Inventory, developed by Holmes and Rahe in the 1960s, is a tool that assigns stress values to various life events. These stress points indicate the potential impact of each event on an individual’s overall stress level. Accumulating stress points from different events can provide insights into a person’s stress levels, with a score over 100 suggesting a risk of severe stress.

The Stressful Nature of Buying a Home

Buying a home is ranked as the twenty-eighth most stressful event on the Holmes-Rahe list, with 28 stress points. However, the stress associated with purchasing a home is often compounded by other life events that may occur simultaneously.

Multiple Stressful Events Accompanying Home Buying

Various life events commonly coincide with the process of buying a home, each contributing stress points to the overall experience. Some of these events include:

  • Getting a Mortgage (31 points)
  • Son/Daughter Leaving for College (29 points)
  • Divorce (73 points)
  • Marriage (50 points)
  • Pregnancy (40 points)
  • Retirement (45 points)
  • Having a Baby (39 points)
  • Promotion (28 points)
  • Graduation from University (26 points)
  • Christmas (12 points)

Coping with Multiple Stressful Events

When dealing with a cluster of stressful events related to home buying, it is essential to recognize and address the stress they may cause. The following strategies can help in managing stress during this time:

Acknowledge the Stress

Recognize that home buying can be a challenging and stressful experience, leading to frustrations, anxiety, and disagreements. It’s crucial to understand that such feelings are normal during this process.

Understand Your Buying Style

Identify whether you are an emotional buyer or a practical buyer. Understanding your buying style can help you manage stress and make more informed decisions. Emotional buyers should be cautious of impulse purchases, while practical buyers should avoid overthinking to the point of missing out on opportunities.

Seek Support from Trusted Professionals

Working with reliable professionals, such as a real estate agent and lender, can ease the complexity of the home buying process. Trusting their guidance and expertise can alleviate stress and provide reassurance.

Embrace Honesty

Being transparent and upfront with your real estate agent and lender is essential. Dishonesty can lead to unexpected challenges and delays. Facing the truth, even if it might cause temporary stress, is better than concealing important information.

Find Joy and Have Fun

Despite the stress, finding ways to enjoy the journey can significantly reduce overall stress levels. Keeping a positive perspective and embracing moments of joy can make the process more manageable and rewarding.


By acknowledging the potential stressors and employing coping strategies, individuals can navigate the challenges associated with buying a home more effectively. Understanding that stress is a normal part of the process and seeking support from trusted professionals can contribute to a smoother and more enjoyable home buying experience.


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