What Did I Just Buy?!

Buyer’s remorse: In this market, fast decisions are leading to bad ones.

Skipping inspections, over paying for properties, or even settling on a less than ideal location is all too common in this low inventory market right now. Seller’s often have multiple offers and buyer’s can feel pressured to stretch their budgets and comfort levels because they have to compete with other buyers in order to get a house. My heart breaks for clients who have to make a decision on a property after only a 15 min walkthrough. But there are ways to avoid and handle buyer’s remorse.

First, let’s discuss the obvious. Fleeting buyer’s remorse is kind of normal. Let’s face it. Every decision has it’s pros and cons and choosing one option over another will inevitably make even the most rational person question “did I do the right thing” from time to time. Many of us naturally second guess everything. So, when you are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, this natural emotional response can be pretty powerful, but in most cases it’s short lived.

Its important to know that in the home buying process, there is no “perfect house”. You’re going to find things you don’t like or things that need more work than you anticipated. Homes are never ending projects that are usually great investments, but still…they take time and work.

How to avoid buyer’s remorse in the first place:

Buying a home is an emotional roller coaster. You will want to look at a home as objectively as possible. It’s easy to get caught up in the emotion of a bidding war. If the home is only worth $300K to you, don’t pay more than that. There will be other homes. Stick to your budget and focus on your short list of wants and needs.

Once you have decided to buy your home and you are under contract, stop looking at new homes going on the market. You heard me, get off Zillow! Looking to see if something “better” is going to come along is not going to help. There will always be new houses on the market and the grass will keep being greener. Trust your decision.

Don’t skip the inspection. It’s tempting, I know. Inspections can make your offer less competitive and they cost $300-$500. But unless you are a seasoned contractor, a quick walkthrough is not a replacement for a full inspection performed by an inspector. The inspection contingency period gives you time to really understand what you are buying and a chance to back out of the purchase without penalty. You can ask for a shorter contingency time frame, but compromising altogether on an inspection is almost never a good idea. For more on home inspections, visit my page that includes a great video detailing the home inspection process and what inspectors actually do.

Be aware of well meaning family and friends questioning your choices after the contract is signed. Just because they bought a house once or twice does not mean they understand the market now, the location you are buying in, and your financing circumstances. Unless they are paying your mortgage, let them keep their opinions to themselves. It’s your opinion that matters.

Make sure you and your partner/spouse are 100% on the same page with what you want in a new home. After making your list of needs and wants, choose the most important 3 or 4 of them and stick to it. If you absolutely need a 3 car garage, do not buy a home with a 1 car garage. Bottom line: As long as your expectations are realistic, don’t settle. You aren’t going to be happy.

Research the house and neighborhood you are looking in. Try out the route to work and school. Talk to neighbors. Your agent will provide you with available disclosures, tax records and homeowner’s association documents. Lastly, check out any community pages on social media or city websites to get a feel for the area. This way you can avoid any huge surprises or location regret.

Buyer’s remorse after the contract is signed:

It is possible that you’ve made a poor choice and you can talk to your agent, your lender or sometimes even the seller in order to work through those concerns or find a way out, if necessary. Once you have closed on your home, it’s another story.

Remember why you purchased the home in the first place. You likely toured many other homes and they were not the one. There was a reason why you liked this home enough to buy it. Again, trust your decision.

Consider converting the home into an investment property. This isn’t an option for everyone, and likely isn’t one right away. However, in a few years if it’s not working out, why not rent it out?

If your financing is the issue, remember, you can refinance when rates drop and your have some built in equity in your home. You actually have a lot more options as a homeowner when financial issues arise than as a renter. Talk to your lender or mortgage company.

Worst case, if you are my client, I’ll relist it for no listing fee within the first 6 months. Other agents may be willing to do something similar.

Alright my friends, lastly…have an agent on your side that will help keep emotions in check, provide you with unbiased straight-forward advice, and accurate market data so that you go into your purchase armed with all the facts.

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