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The Commonwealth Blog

Monday, March 12, 2018

How to Avoid Home Buyer's Remorse

Buyer’s remorse—that feeling of second-guessing something you’ve bought—often occurs after large purchases. And since a house is the largest purchase most people will ever make, home buyer’s remorse is a common experience. One 2017 survey of 2,000 homeowners found that 44 percent had some regrets about their current house or the process they went through to buy it.

You may experience that twinge of regret after buying a home, but it doesn’t mean you made the wrong decision. Do your research, avoid rushing the process, and follow our additional tips for avoiding (or at least minimizing) home buyer’s remorse.

Avoiding Sources of Remorse Before You Buy

Cost

One of the most common causes of home buyer’s remorse is spending more than originally planned. Avoid this problem by setting a strict budget before you start looking at listings. If you start looking at listings before establishing your budget, you risk falling in love with a property that’s outside your price range, which could cause you to feel like you have to “settle” for something more affordable.

When establishing your budget, remember that it doesn’t have to be the maximum loan amount for which you’ve been pre-approved. You’ll need to decide on a budget that will allow you and your family to live comfortably—and have reasonable monthly mortgage expenses-- after you make your down payment. You should also budget for property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, maintenance costs, and emergencies.  

Neighborhood

You can’t change your neighborhood after buying a house, so do your research before you make an offer. Visit the neighborhood where you’re interested in buying during the day and at night so you know what the noise level is like. Go for a walk and talk to neighbors whenever you can. Locate the nearest grocery store, parks, restaurants, and other amenities that matter to you.

Commute

If you visit a listing in the middle of the day, you might think that your commute to work won’t be too bad. But what’s the commute like during rush hour? If possible, test out the commute in both directions at the times you normally travel to and from work. If the commute is longer than what you’re used to, you’ll have to decide if the home you’re considering is worth spending more time in transit.

Renovations

Unexpected renovation costs can be a source of regret for many homeowners. If you’re planning to purchase a fixer upper, do the math on the renovation costs before you buy. Talk to contractors who can give you estimates, and research material costs for projects you plan to tackle on your own.

In addition to thinking about renovation costs, think about your comfort and sanity. Are you willing to live in a home with ongoing renovations? Do you have the time and energy required for big DIY projects? Be realistic in your expectations.

Minimizing Home Buyer’s Remorse After You Close   

Even if you’ve done your research and stuck to your budget, you may still feel some regret after the initial excitement of buying a home wears off. Remind yourself that this is normal and will likely pass. In the meantime, try these strategies to minimize buyer’s remorse:

  • Decorate your new home. Surround yourself with the things you love to make your new home feel like it’s truly yours.
  • Stop looking at listings. There’s no reason to keep looking at listings, and if you do, you may end up feeling like you’ve missed out on something.
  • Focus on what you love about your new home. There may be some imperfections, but there will also be features that you love—that’s why you bought the house, after all.


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