Buying a home is a huge event. In fact, it’s likely the most money you’ll ever spend in one single purchase. This is definitely not the kind of transaction that you want to regret after you’ve locked into a deal. It’s not buying a sweater – you can’t just return it after you’ve bought it.
Unfortunately, there are times when buyers almost immediately regret the home purchase they made, known in the real estate industry and retail realm alike as the dreaded “buyer’s remorse.” Under no circumstances do you want to be a victim of this situation, which is why you need to take every facet of the home buying process into consideration before you commit yourself.
Here are 6 common causes of buyer’s remorse that you want to make sure you steer clear of.
1. Spending Too Much
By far the most significant form of regret is spending too much money on a home purchase. The last thing you want is to wind up “house poor,” whereby just about every dollar you earn needs to be put towards your home.
Just because you fall in love with a certain house, don’t let that cloud your better judgment. This is especially true if you ever find yourself in a bidding war with other buyers who are fighting just as hard to get their hands on the same home.
Bidding wars typically result in a purchase price that’s well over the asking price, which is fine as long as that dollar amount falls in line with the actual market value of the property. However, such heated and emotional transactions can often lead to overpaying for a home if your heart and your mind are out of sync.
Get pre-approved for a mortgage, and write down the absolute limit of what you are willing – and able – to spend on a home purchase, and make sure you stick to that number at all costs.
2. Buying a Home That’s Too Big or Small
Considering the magnitude of such a purchase, it’s vital that you write down every detail that you want and need out of your home, including its size. Perhaps you have a growing family that you need extra space to easily and comfortably allow for such growth. In that case, make sure the home in question has ample square footage so you’re not fighting for space.
On the other hand, you might be an empty nester or a single professional without the need for too much space. If so, there’s no need for a large home with a lot of wasted space. Not only will you be spending more on utilities to keep it operational, you’ll also be adding a lot more maintenance to your list of chores.
Be sure to seriously consider the amount of space you require, and only look at homes that match these details.
3. Not Getting to Know the Location Well Enough
Everyone has their own tastes and needs when it comes to where they want to reside. Maybe you want to live near the city, or perhaps you’d rather stick to the suburbs. Whatever the location you choose, make sure you’ve researched it in depth so that you’re happy and satisfied once you’ve moved in.
Consider things such as traffic noise, crime rate, school ratings, proximity to public transit, type of neighbors, and local amenities. Gather up as much information as you can before deciding on a certain neighborhood to call home. Visit the property both on weekdays and weekends, and at different times of the day to get a well-rounded scope of what the location will be like to live in. There’s no sense in looking at certain homes in the area if the actual location is not what you want it to be.
4. Not Factoring in Extra Ongoing Expenses
There’s a lot more that goes into paying for a home than just the monthly mortgage. There’s a host of other ongoing expenses that you’ll be responsible for covering to operate your home, including homeowner’s insurance, property taxes, utility bills, landscaping maintenance, closing costs, commuting to and from work, and so forth. Like the purchase price of the home, unpleasant financial surprises are the crux of buyer’s remorse. Aside from monthly mortgage payments, unexpected costs are usually the culprit of these surprises, and can really add up quickly.
5. Favoring Trends Over What You Really Need
It’s easy to get caught up in the latest trends in home design, but this can easily lead to regret after the fact. Whether it’s butcher block counters in the kitchen or stand-up showers with no bathtub, you might grow tired of certain fads shortly after you move in, especially if styles and trends change. Instead, you might want to stick to classic features and traits that have proven to stand the test of time.
The Bottom Line
Your best line of defense when it comes to avoiding buyer’s regret is to go into the process well prepared. The process of buying a home is not one to be rushed and should be carried out with careful consideration. There’s nothing wrong with taking your time to determine if every aspect of the home and the neighborhood it’s located in is right for you. Be aware of the common sources of buyer’s remorse and do your best to avoid them.