Your home often represents the biggest purchase you make in life. Plus, homes are more expensive than ever, making the pressure feel even more intense. So it’s not really a surprise that 44% of homeowners reported a feeling of buyer’s remorse in a 2019 survey. But it actually gets worse for younger buyers — an overwhelming 63% of Millennial homebuyers reported dealing with these feelings, far more so than their baby boomer or Gen X counterparts.
Once you finally sign the purchase contract, you may very well find yourself with a severe case of FOBO (fear of better options). How can you feel confident that you made the right decision? How can you avoid buyer’s remorse after buying a house?
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1. Do Plenty of Research Beforehand
The best way to swipe left on buyers’ remorse is to do your homework beforehand. Make a list of needs you refuse to compromise on. After all, this is a major purchase!
A need for you may look very different for someone else, so make your list personal. For example, maybe you spend a ton of time soaking in the bath, and an extra-deep tub is a must. You’re the one who will sigh with pleasure each time you sink into your retreat, after all. Strike a balance between your reasonable expectations and the realities of the marketplace.
2. Give Yourself Extra Time
If you rush the home-buying process, you’re more likely to experience buyers’ remorse. It may be difficult to wait, especially in a tight market or with time constraints like an upcoming work move.
If you’re relocating, consider renting to give yourself time to buy. If you lose a bid on a condo you adore, consider it a sign that a better property is around the corner.
Part of the buying process is rolling with the punches, so don’t stress yourself out with unrealistic timelines. It makes it all the more likely that you’ll have regrets once it’s all said and done.
3. Ask Questions of Everyone
Many home buyers experience remorse after the close of the sale. Maybe the homeowner’s association (HOA) hands out notices at 6:01 p.m. if you fail to bring your trash bin back from the curb by 6 p.m. Perhaps the commute from home to work takes an hour due to traffic, not the 30 minutes your GPS indicated.
Before buying, talk to the neighbors and ask them about school quality, neighborhood safety and recurring nuisances. They’ll adore telling you what they love about their neighborhood — and what they don’t. Your real estate agent is another good source of information, but remember — their primary focus is the sale.
4. Get to Know Your Neighbors
You might feel lonely after moving to your new home, especially if you’ve relocated. Don’t let the feeling of isolation foster regret. Instead, take advantage of opportunities to meet your neighbors.
For example, you likely donated many items while you packed. If your neighborhood hosts a community yard sale the weekend after your move-in date, offer to help. You’ll meet others and find a way to recycle all those boxes.
5. Make a List of Future Improvements
No matter how well you research before making a home purchase, your property will have flaws to address. At the very least, you may hate the wallpaper in your powder room. Make a list of all the improvements you hope to make, such as a kitchen remodel or bathroom addition.
At the end of the day, it’s cheaper to turn your new home into your dream home than it is to move. Start budgeting for your top priorities, determining how much you can afford to spend and saving 90% of the goal amount in order to create a comfortable cushion. Creating a plan is a great way to increase your emotional investment in your home.
Add to the list when you notice things need to be upgraded or fixed, and check them off with a satisfying mark once complete. Looking back at how far you’ve come can help you overcome lingering feelings of remorse.
6. Contact Workers and Get Estimates
You might feel overwhelmed if you bought a fixer-upper and realize you have more work to do than anticipated. Get estimates to help make progress, even if you can’t afford to complete everything at once.
Make a list of professionals you’ll need to complete tasks. Call around and ask for estimates. Take the time to read reliable online reviews and speak with past clients. When you have the budget for improvements, you’ll have confidence your contractor can complete your dream project.
7. Practice Proper Home Maintenance
You might think you’re experiencing buyer’s remorse after buying a house when, in reality, all you need to do is clean and organize. Write a schedule of chores, and each weekend, organize one room or area.
Once you organize your home, keep it that way with regular maintenance. Vacuum at least twice weekly and wipe down countertops every other day. Practice one-in, one-out living — when you bring a new item home, donate or sell another. This way, you keep clutter from overwhelming you at the front door.
8. Keep a Running List of Advantages
To take a hard pass on buyers’ remorse, keep a list of the advantages of homeownership you enjoy. Unlike paying rent, for example, you will pay off your mortgage and no longer have a monthly housing bill. Homes also gain equity over time, providing you with an additional nest-egg for your golden years.
The best part? You don’t need a landlords’ permission to upgrade your cabinets or paint your walls fuchsia. And you can throw a housewarming party without stressing about your upstairs neighbors. Remember how hard you’ve worked for the freedoms you have now.
Say Goodbye to Buyer’s Remorse After Buying a House
Sure, sometimes, a home purchase just doesn’t work out. But it’s unlikely that you’ve bought a property without any redeemable qualities.
If you’ve done your homework, met your neighbors and solidified your love of homeownership, there’s no need to suffer buyers’ remorse. Your home is your castle, and with time, you can craft it into what you’ve always wanted. In the meantime, take comfort in the fact that with each mortgage payment you make, you line your own pockets — not your landlord’s.