How to Prevent Homebuyer Remorse

Many homeowners (a whopping 51%, according to this study) have regrets about the home they bought or how they bought it. That’s a pretty high number, but there are so many things you can do prior to buying to prevent being part of that statistic.

How to Prevent Homebuyer Remorse

Buying a home is pretty different from buying other things. You can pick out an expensive TV and (usually) return it if you don’t like the sound, spent too much money, or it doesn’t fit in your house. It’s not like you can return a house to the store, though. So, it’s best to prevent buyer remorse before you ever make an offer on a home. Here’s how to do it.

Know Your Needs

Don’t even bother looking at homes that don’t fit your needs. This means you need a crystal-clear list of what those non-negotiables are. If you don’t have such a list, you may buy a home with only three bedrooms, move in, and realize that if you’d thought it through, you would have shopped for homes with four bedrooms, instead.

Don’t Get Caught Up in a Bidding War

You’ve probably spent too much for something on eBay because you wanted to be the one to win—no matter the cost. On eBay, the stakes are pretty low. But don’t fall into a similar trap when competing for a home, or you could end up paying more than you really want to. (This may sound silly now, but I’ve seen plenty of people with a competitive streak get caught up in the moment.)

If you’re in a multiple-offer situation, ask yourself if you really want the home or if you just want to win. Have a maximum amount that you’re willing to pay for the home, and don’t go above it, no matter what.

Know the Neighborhood

Sometimes, you’ll find out things about the neighborhood after you move there that you wish you’d known beforehand. A few ways to prevent that:

  • Drive by the neighborhood during the day and in the evening
  • Talk to potential neighbors, if possible
  • Get out of the car and walk around
  • Check local crime reports
  • Search local tax records to find neighbors’ names and conduct Google searches
  • Research the closest grocery store, coffee shop, and pharmacy
  • Check the home’s Walk Score if it’s important to you to live in a walkable area

Check Your Renovation Ambitions

It’s easy to get swept up in grand plans of what you’re going to do to the house only to move in and realize that those plans will take time and money you don’t have or don’t want to spend. Maybe a wall you want to take out is load-bearing. Maybe the windows you want to replace are custom sizes and will cost much more than standard-sized windows.

To prevent this, talk to me about what you’re planning as we go through the house. I can help you understand how feasible something is and if it’s a renovation that makes sense for the home and the neighborhood. It’s also a good idea to get some bids from contractors (bids are free) so you can get an idea of what you’re committing to before you’re under contract on the house. (This is also something that can be done as part of our inspection period, though at that point you’re pretty committed!)

Stop Looking at Houses

Once you’ve found a house and are under contract, stop looking at houses. This is a sure way to regret what you already have. It’s only OK to keep looking if you think there’s a decent chance the inspection will turn up a problem or you have another reason to the think the contract will fall apart.

Look at the Home from Every Angle

Look at your could-be-new-home from every possible angle before you make an offer.

  • Look at floor plans.
  • Look at listing photos and any photos you take while touring the home.
  • Walk through the house with a trusted friend or family member.
  • Tour the home during the day and after dusk/dark.
  • Drive to the home during rush hour.
  • Ask about the average cost of utilities.

Each of these things may help you see the home in a different light (pun intended) and notice a problem you wouldn’t have otherwise.

Do Your Due Diligence

Make sure you review seller disclosures and ask any follow-up questions for items you’re concerned about. Get an inspection done, and get specialty inspections if you think they’re needed. The more info you know about the condition of the house, the better off you are and the less likely you are to regret your purchase.

If You Regret the Home You Already Own

So, you bought the home already and are feeling some regrets? That’s a tough but normal spot to be in. Here are a few ways to cope with the situation.

  • Anytime you buy something new, you’re likely to be infatuated with it at first and fall a little less in love over time. This is even more likely with a house, where there are always things you couldn’t have known before you bought it. It’s helpful to anticipate this. Pull out the notes you took while you were home shopping and remind yourself what you loved about the home in the first place—you bought it because you liked it, remember? Focusing on the good instead of the bad can work wonders.
  • I mentioned this before, but it’s important: stop looking at home listings! Looking at other homes will just make you wonder if the grass is greener on the other side.
  • If you haven’t yet, start decorating! If your new home is sparse, it may not feel like your home yet. Put up some artwork, paint, and hang curtains. It will make a big difference in how your home looks.
  • Some people in your life might say negative things about your new home. Don’t let them take away your excitement about your new home. Make sure to invite people over who will be happy for you and will look for the good in your new home.

Look, no one wants to feel regret when purchasing something as expensive as a home, but there are so many things you can do to reduce or eliminate it. If you have any questions or concerns, I hope you’ll shoot me an email or give me a call. I’m here to help.

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