Buying a home is not like buying a new sweater or pair of shoes. There is no 30 day return policy on your home. It's a long term commitment, and the thought of this commitment is the root cause of buyer's remorse. So what can you do? Read on, and find out what steps you can take to avoid home buyer's remorse.
What is Buyer's Remorse?
A survey canvassing 2000 homeowners has found nearly 80% of people regret at least one thing about their house. This regret is buyer's remorse.
What most people don't know is buyer's remorse is actually very common after such a purchase with a long-term commitment. The role of the salesperson in any industry is to tie positive emotion to the product they're selling. If the selling agent did his or her job, then you feel like there's no way you could pass up on that house. The process releases feel-good hormones throughout the body and you get a rush. Once that feeling wears off your thought process goes back to normal. Your brain then does its job of justifying how you just spent your resources, AKA, your hard-earned money.
With that being said, an unethical salesperson may use this emotional manipulation to oversell the house and leave you with a home you really didn't love. Beating buyer's remorse starts with realizing the salesperson will always frame a negative of a home as a positive. It's their job. It's your job to sort the facts from exaggerations and make the right purchase.
How to Beat Buyer's Remorse
Buyer's remorse can easily be beaten. All it takes is some awareness on your part before you begin the purchasing process. As mentioned above, the first thing is to be aware that some degree of buyer's remorse is natural for such a purchase. Don't be so hard on yourself. If you look hard enough you will find something you regret about any home, even if it's your dream home.
Be a realist about real estate. There is no such thing as the "perfect" home, but there IS such a thing as a home that has nearly everything you want. A big cause of buyer's remorse is the idea of buying a home vs the reality of the actual purchase. You start out with a vision of the perfect home, then you get discouraged when you find a home that is ALMOST perfect. A big part of beating buyer's remorse is realizing that the imperfections of that almost perfect house can be fixed with simple investments in home improvement.
Another strategy for beating buyer's remorse is detaching yourself emotionally from the sales process. Let your logic do the thinking so you look at the functional aspects of the home. A lot of remorse comes from an oversight on a functional desire, for example, wanting to purchase a pool but having a backyard that's too small. These oversights happen because the buyer gets too emotionally attached to some other feature of the house. Once you're in love with one part of the house you are much more likely to overlook the 'ugly warts'.
Things to Consider to Avoid Buyer's Remorse
The final key in beating buyer's remorse is preparation. The more time you spend thinking about what you need from your next house, the more likely you are to be happy with your purchase. The first thing to consider is how close the house is to your job. The last thing you are going to want to do after a long day of work is an hour commute through a congested area. Think about how aggravated you get in traffic. Does it make sense to purchase a house that puts you in this position on a daily basis?
If you have a family, then things like school systems and crime rates are important. Although not direct parts of the home, these location-based considerations are huge factors.
You also need to spend time making a list of your must-haves, kind-of-wants-, and deal-breakers. If a house has all of your must-haves but one of your deal-breakers, then the deal is off. Beyond your deal-breakers, look at any imperfections as improvement projects. As long as you don't waver on your deal-breakers and maintain a positive attitude you will avoid buyer's remorse.
New homeowners are by far the most likely victims of buyer's remorse. But the bright side is you can eliminate that possibility by simply being aware and prepared. Don't let the sales agent sell you on something you don't want, and make sure you actually know what you don't want. Do these things and you'll never have to worry about buyer's remorse again.