The Buying Process – A Game of Poker

To some, buying a house can seem like a minefield; it’s hard to find the right place as a starter.

It’s also a big commitment that is a tough decision in itself, and when you think about the cost, and it’s a daunting process. However, for others, investing in real estate is exciting, as weighing up all the options before going all-in is something in which they revel.

It’s led to some suggestions that ‘Buying a House is Like a Game of Poker’, because if you think about it there are so many facets to the process that shares skills that are vital in the popular card game. So, let’s look a little deeper into why some think there are similarities and how poker can teach you a thing or two about the house buying process.

Preparing for the game

First of all, you need a seat at the table. Do you have the funds even to play? In this case, you’re looking at your bank balance or need to speak to a reputable lender, but who do you go to if you’re looking at the latter? Well, one of the top tips is to seek advice from others, which is just as applicable to selecting the right mortgage advisor or lender to suit your needs. You could also seek advice from others who have used the same estate agent as you, or who live in the local area. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail, as they say, and that’s certainly applicable in poker and buying a house.

Starting offer

So, you’re now at the table, you’ve put down the ante, and you’re ready to look at the cards in front of you, or in this case, the list of properties you’re interested in. After considering your options, you spot what you see as a good opportunity but don’t want to seem over-eager; after all such an early stage, you’d be foolish to show your hand.

Why not play the game a little and ask a few questions to check the valuation? Using your listening skills could reveal an opportunity, is the seller in a rush to sell? If so, why? It’s just one of the questions you need to ask before putting in an offer on a house, according to Metro, and much like poker, the answers you get will set the tone for the rest of the hand. You don’t want to be putting all your chips into the pot at this stage, it could turn out to be a busted flush.

Negotiation or bluffing? You decide

Ok, you’ve checked the information, and it’s still something you want to proceed with. You’re growing more confident that it’s the property for you, so you make that first offer; the conversation continues as it seems the seller refuses to fold to your proposal. They hold out, aiming to get you to raise your bid. This is the wagering process in poker; you’re trying to get the best return on your hand, but the seller, your opponent, is aiming to do the same.

Sealing the deal

You’re now needing to decide; you’ve got this far, so you’re still clearly interested, but there are other people at the table too. You’ve tried to get the best deal, but the current owner hasn’t folded to your offer with your subtle suggestions. It’s time to commit; you need to show that you want the house as it’s the right move to make and don’t want to miss out. You raise your offer and wait.

Show of hands

Each prospective buyer has shown their hand, leaving the owner with a choice to make. Looking at all the other cards on the table, if you’ve worked the odds in your favour at this point, you should be the one with the strongest hand, and before you know it, you’ve got a full house, and the contracts are ready to be signed.

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