Play, Games, and Home Buying

As humans, our play instinct is a powerful force that is active in our everyday tasks—think of your Fitbit, using your loyalty card at the grocery store— or playing video games, apps like CandyCrush in your downtime. We are hard-wired to play, and we enjoy playing games. It engages us and prepares us for learning and life as children, young adults and beyond. And for many of you out there, you may be wondering (and hoping!) Can video game multi-media do more for us than simply occupy our spare time?

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Our smart phones are an ever-available play resource, filled with thousands and thousands of games at our fingertips. And while there are risks of becoming a little too engrossed, English professor Neil Randall, who heads up the Games Institute at the University of Waterloo, believes that “games hold fascinating life lessons, in part because many games are based on repeated failure”. Not only that, but I’d like to point out that games, particularly video games, provide a controlled and somewhat predictable environment for failure or success. That is, if you get really good at sending warlock trolls to their demise as an Elven archer, you can expect that doing that a few hundred times will lead to greater riches, a new longbow and perhaps a shiny jewel or two.

So how does this transfer to real life? How can we use our gaming instinct to reach out goals? For many first-time home buyers, or those looking to up-size or renovate to achieve a more comfortable abode, there’s a lot of discipline, goal-setting, and repeated actions that lead to success. Reaching a goal of saving 5% or 20% of a home, or saving for that basement renovation is both rewarding but challenging. But you know that home ownership or moving or creating a home that better suits your family is a possible result. It helps if you can make a game of saving with rewards as you reach each increment. Here’s a great article to help you save, whether you’re a beginner or intermediate. And remember, when you’re not spending—you’re saving!

You may have great days, and you may have failures, but one thing you can feel good about: When you invest in a home, you’re investing your life. It means more leverage, building equity as you enjoy a place to rest your head, enjoy dinners with friends and family, and plant your apple tree this spring. It means a degree of stability where you’re able to put in a healthy down payment, and enjoy those rewards when it’s time to move, downsize, or take on a lush vagabond life in your Windstream, sailboat, or tandem bicycle. But not so fast, be sure to check out my article is on Apples to Apples- Smart renovations and When to Sell.

Now go on and become that next-level saver!