Just a year ago, condo and single-family sales agents were crowing over multiple bids to buy and delaying presentation of offers, anticipating competitive top-ups from anxious buyers desperate to grab their piece of the real-estate pie.

Purchasers became supplicants — that in itself was incredibly annoying.

I recall one friend who was delighted to be “chosen” as the new owner of a semi-attached because, though her bid was a smidge below others, she had two Burmese and the feline-fan vendor thought the house would “miss” having kitties around.

Another buyer actually brought her two children around to be approved by the owner. Yuck!

But now, with real estate sagging back into the realm of sensible from coast to coast, you’d think buyers would be immune to purchase panic. Not so.

The memory of the powerful recent seller’s market is bound to linger, especially among first-time and move-up buyers who tend to be more emotional and anxious than those simply buying because of a job transfer.

It is vital to keep emotions in check when looking for property. Even now real estate agents are telling prospective purchasers that the market won’t be down for long and those who don’t get in now will be shut out. Resist such pitches.

The fact is those who live in a home for years will ride out short term ups and downs.

However, if you let your emotions get in the way you could be paying the price for a long time to come in the form of a house you can’t really afford, a design that doesn’t fit or repairs that drive you more deeply into debt.

Friends, family and even colleagues can provide an excellent emotional reality check. Take advantage of those with experience in home ownership, renovations and financial management.

They may spot flaws in both the house and your financial plan that you are inclined to ignore.

Property love, after all, hides a multitude of sins.

Alison’s Money Rule:

• Like falling in love, emotions run rampant when purchasing property. Keep them in check or you’ll be paying for years to come.

– Alison Griffiths is a financial journalist, author and host of Maxed Out on the W Network. Write to her at alison@alisongriffiths.ca.

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