Strategy is important to avoid a real estate (or board game) stalemate.
The real estate game is all about taking risks and trying not to run into trouble.
Playing old board games with friends is a fun way to spend a Saturday night. The drinks are flowing, the snacks are as plentiful as the laughs, and the spirit of competition keeps everyone a little livelier than usual.
During one wildly successful board game night, we had an epiphany — some of the skills we use when playing could be applied to a search for a home for sale in Houston, TX, or Washington, DC. Get out your egg timers and your velvet satchels full of wooden letter tiles, because we’re about to lay some gaming knowledge on you.
1. Have a strategy (and allies)
The real world isn’t always candy-themed. Unless you’re playing a game where you rely on the luck of the dice to move you along, you’re going to need a strategy. Are you coming in hot and trying to build an early lead? Or are you lying a little low, waiting to see how the game unfolds, and then striking at precisely the right moment? The exact same thing applies to house hunting.
Bold and aggressive? Buy low on a fixer-upper and make something amazing out of it. More conservative? Prepare for the long haul to find the right match that you’re willing to pay a premium on. Get your strategy straight with the help of an ally in the form of a real estate agent — a third party who’s not directly playing the game but is there when you need guidance. Check those boxes, and you’re on the way to winning this thing.
2. Sometimes you need a little luck
Sometimes in the real estate world, you can do everything right but still find yourself on the house hunt six months later. The truth is, finding a home often requires luck. And there’s not much you can do to encourage the luck factor except hope to get lucky. In board games, it’s a dice roll or the spin of a plastic wheel. In house hunting, it might be that the offer ahead of yours falls through or you just happen to get your offer in five minutes before someone else. One of the tenets of Stoic philosophy is to try to control only what you can control, and it’s a perfect match for house hunting. Do your best but don’t stress about what’s out of your control. It won’t help you and it will only make you anxious.
3. Don’t make emotional decisions
We’ve all been there. You don’t have the cards, the dice have been coming up snake eyes, and your pink plastic dude is so many spaces behind. This is not the time to dwell on those feelings. Swallow the despair and double down on the comeback run that you have in you.
House hunting is no different. You’re going to lose a house that you put an offer on. Maybe several of them. And sometimes, you’ll lose a bidding war on a home you’d already started dreaming about moving into. Don’t get frustrated and settle for something you don’t want or a place with serious red flags. This is going to be one of the largest purchases you ever make in your life. Breathe deep and make these decisions with your head on straight and your eyes wide open.
4. Be in it to win it
In a board game, it’s easy to get caught up in the superdope-looking board or choosing between the silver top hat or the silver Scottie dog. Those are just distractions. You’re a coldhearted winner; you’re not here to make friends (although, ironically, you’re probably playing those old board games with your friends). You’re in this thing for one reason and one reason only: to crush the competition. Don’t forget that when house hunting either. It’s fun to look at places and check out the market, but don’t get caught up in seeing every Southwestern ranch-style home in the city when what you really need is your home.
Go forth and use these lessons like trump cards on your way to your dream house. Just don’t forget to consider a board game closet.