How to Avoid Feeling Buyer’s Remorse
Buyer’s remorse is one of the many charming side-effects of capitalism that we’ve all come to know and love. And, unfortunately, getting a house is akin to buying something from a store with the worst return policy ever. Unless there are major damages that get uncovered during the appraisal/inspection process, there is usually no way for you to back out of the agreement once it’s been signed.
So before you sign over your first born child, it’s important that you take steps to ensure your potential future home is really “the one.” Below are some strategies to avoid feeling buyer’s remorse before, during, and after your purchase:
Before the Purchase
Research + Preparation
If there was ever a time for you to tap into your inner Monica Geller, this would be it. Your money will be tied up in a mortgage contract for at least 6 months if you end up refinancing (and even longer if you don’t), so it is crucial that you research and prepare for this financial investment properly. In addition, the sooner you start researching, the better off you will be. In case you do end up falling in love with a house at first sight, doing prep work ahead of time will allow you to strike while the iron’s hot.
- Really figure out where this money will be coming from. Also, consider the opportunity costs. If you get a house now, you probably won’t be able to get a new car or go on vacation for a while (unless your house is well below your budget)
- Think about what you will qualify for now – look at your credit score; using our free service, you can get a better idea of what interest rates you qualify for
- Be conservative when estimating. By that, I mean ALWAYS overestimate rather than underestimate your costs
- Consider worst-case scenarios like the loss of a job; make sure you have enough funds to keep you afloat
- Define your reasons for buying a house – What is it motivated by? Peer pressure? Hype? Spontaneity? Boredom? Make sure your reasons are strong enough to get your through the immense effort and resources required to maintain a home
- Make use of free apps (like ours) and see if you qualify for special funding (FHA, USDA, VA, etc.)
Save Money When You Can
Money is one of the biggest reasons behind buyer’s remorse. Not to mention all the effort it took to just get the money necessary for the house. Therefore, take into consideration other costs of owning a house such as closing costs and property taxes before you sink all your money into it.
- Put money aside for at least 3 month’s mortgage payments as well as money for maintenance and closing costs. Even if you’re in love with your home, you may not feel so hot about this purchase if it causes you to go hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt
- Compare rates from all your local lenders by getting a loan through us; this helps ensure you get the best deal possible
- Many things can be done on your own to save a little more money such as finding your own title insurance, shopping for a mortgage online, etc.
During the Purchase
Don’t Compromise TOO Much
Just like when you tell yourself that you’ll shrink or grow to fit that article of clothing, or that you’ll actually write in that brand new planner you just bought, we all tend to lie to ourselves. While it is important to balance your priorities, it is also just as important that you be happy living in your new house. Therefore, truly think about what it takes to make you happy and be brutally honest with yourself because you’re the only one that’s going to be stuck with the house when it’s all said and done.
- Figure out what you would be willing to overlook and what would stick out to you like a sore thumb. Chances are, if you already are noticing flaws, they won’t go away or fade with time. Instead, they will probably only be magnified as you spend more and more time in your house
- Think realistically when it comes to fixing up any flaws in the house. Just because you binge watch HGTV, that doesn’t mean that you’re Joanna Gaines. If you are willing and able to make renovations, ask yourself:
- How long will it take?
- In the meantime, can you get by?
- Can you afford to make these changes after buying the house? Will you have the time, energy, tools necessary
- Figure out what really matters to you. Take stock of your current living situation
- What would you like to have?
- Are there things that you like about your current place (including things like location, commute time, school districts if you have kids, etc.)?
- What could you not live without? These are things that are non-negotiable
- Compare costs you have now (rent, utilities) with costs you’ll have if you buy the house (property tax, mortgage payments, etc.); does it still feel worth it to buy a house?
After the Purchase
There are definitely things we all do when we’re in a funk that makes things worse. We throw ourselves pity parties instead of living it up and making the best of less-than-ideal situations. In order to avoid falling into this trap, actively work to improve your life.
- Unpack. You can’t enjoy your home if you’re walled in by cardboard boxes
- Get to know your community – within the first few weeks of moving in, just introduce yourself and make it a point to go to different community events. You never know if you will need their help. Plus, nothing says home like liking who you live next to!
- Make yourself at home. And, if you’re a slob, make your house livable enough to invite people over 😉
- Make some changes. One simple way to soften the blow is to figure out exactly what’s bothering you and make some adjustments. This doesn’t have to mean a complete renovation if that’s not in your budget. Instead, a simple DIY project might suffice.
- Take a walk. Something as simple as exploring the nearby eateries and amenities will make even the unfamiliar seem familiar
- Own up to your mistakes. While this may not seem productive, owning up to your buyer’s remorse will help prevent you from making the same mistakes again. Once you admit where you went wrong, you are in a stronger position to make the best of your situation and grow from the experience.
We’re all familiar with that sinking feeling we get in our stomachs when we’ve bought something that’s just a little out of our budget, or that’s just not quite right on us. Fortunately, there’s always something we can do to exorcize ghosts of purchase past. If you are thinking about jumping ship on your house, here are some sane ways to do so:
- Refinance – See if you can get better terms with a new mortgage
- Sell the house – Cut your losses and find a better house
- Rent out a room – Make some extra money on the side to soften the blow of your mortgage payments
And, as always, you can feel free to reach out to the experts at Shop Your Own Mortgage for help with your purchase, refinance, or pre-approval!