Avoiding Home Buyers Remorse

The experience of buying a home can be an emotional roller coaster even under the best of circumstances.  Emotions run the gamut from excitement and joy to anxiety and regret.  And no homebuyer is immune.  Seasoned veterans as well as first-time buyers find themselves on the coaster's downhill track, quickly on the way to remorse.  In fact, remorse is so prevalent during the home buying process that it has its own name.   It has been coined "homebuyer's remorse," also known as "homebuyer's blues."  What can you do if homebuyer's blues has you in its grip?  And better yet, how can you avoid it?

Easing Remorse

If you are in the throes of regret, one of the first things you can do to assuage it is to remind yourself that this reaction is perfectly normal.  You are not the first -- and you won't be the last -- homebuyer to have a few sleepless nights just after making a purchase offer or closing your deal.   In fact, the anxiety level gets so high for some homebuyers that they actually try to rescind their purchase offer.  Others have trouble shaking that sinking feeling in the pit of their stomach -- the feeling that somehow, despite planning and preparation, they have just made a huge mistake.  Know that what you are feeling is common and remember the old adage, "This too shall pass."

While waiting for self-reassurance to take effect, there are some concrete actions you can take.  Remove the emotion by objectively analyzing the benefits of owning the home, generally and specifically in light of what you are looking for.  Ideally you made a list prior to starting your search that includes what you want and need in a home.  If you didn't do it beforehand, make that list now.  Compare how the home you are buying stacks up.  Looking at it this way helps you more clearly see the logic behind your choice and thus sort through your feelings a little better.   You can also talk to someone who is not emotionally invested in the purchase.  Call friends who are homeowners or a real estate professional if you are working with one.  Tell them what is keeping you awake at night and discuss whether you have reason to be anxious, or if you simply need a little external reassurance to get grounded again.

Avoiding Remorse

Here are some tips to help keep homebuyer's remorse at bay:

  • Take time to understand the home buying process before you start your search so that you know what to expect and what is required.  You don't have to be an expert.  Knowing the basics helps.
  • Make a list of desired and required characteristics in a home.  Use that as a checklist to track the features of each home you view.  This reduces confusion and reinforces objective reasoning.
  • Confirm that you are financially ready.  Get a professional opinion on how much you can afford by talking to a mortgage lender about pre-qualification or pre-approval.  Then shop within your limits.
  • Get a professional home inspection.  Armed with knowledge about the current condition of the home, you can make decisions with increased confidence.  You know what you are dealing with.
  • Have a solid purchase contract that protects your interests.  Make sure it includes any conditions that must be met in order for you to feel comfortable and ready to close the deal.
  • Ask yourself if you are emotionally ready to buy a home.  You should be serious about committing to homeownership and all that goes with.  If you know have any doubts, take the time to get ready.

With homebuyer's blues, the bottom line is this: The more informed and prepared you are, the better decisions you make.  And the better your decisions, the easier it is to avoid or reduce remorse should it decide to rear its ugly head.

Information is for educational and informational purposes only and is not be interpreted as financial or legal advice. This does not represent a recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any security. Please consult your financial advisor.