Are buying a home? Are suffering from 'cold feet.'

As a REALTOR® I have seen many buyers feet turn blue and frosty after they have an accepted offer in place on a new home. Buying a new home is exciting and stressful at the same time. If you are not a little stressed out when buying a home you are likely not taking things seriously enough. The key is to get all the info necessary to make sure you are making an informed decision. Lean on your realtor to get you everything you need and allow them to keep you on point and moving forward. Also do your best to remember that things can get emotional but do not to let your emotions rule your actions. The house was good enough to offer on in the first place unless something with the house has changed (bad home inspection) or you get a surprise regarding your finances you really should stay the will be happy you did.

Below are some things to think about if you are buying a home or if you are suffering from 'cold feet.'

It happens to everyone some time. You've made your choice in a new home, and now you're getting second thoughts - and third thoughts and fourth thoughts for that matter. Even with all the careful planning and Ben Franklin-like forethought, you still have a feeling of impending disaster.

Buyer's remorse or "cold feet" is that unexplainable, sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach that you've made a terrible mistake. It can occur during or shortly after you have signed the purchase agreement on a new home. It can come in the form of a series of questions, all of which can be responded to in "Oh, no!" fashion. Questions like,

"How can I afford the payments?"
"How much of what I'm use to doing will I have to give up to have this?"
"Should I have chosen the house down the street with the bigger yard and smaller family room?"
"Will I ever take another vacation if I buy this house?”
"Should I have waited for a better house?"
"How can I be certain I am making the absolute best choice?"

Buyer's remorse in new home purchases is more prevalent when buyers feel they have picked out a home too quickly and perhaps didn't take the time to check out other homes in the area that may have also been right for them. It is more common with first time buyers than with move-up types, going from the freedom of a rental to the heavy, adult-like thought of home ownership. That being said every home buyer, new or experienced can find they are prone to ‘cold feet.’

Homebuyers using the services of a real estate agent and buying a home for the first time should think of their agent as the quintessential professional at making sure that they are choosing the right home at the right time. He or she is also the person instrumental in helping them understand the process from beginning to end, so that they feel secure in proceeding. However it is still possible for a buyer to feel apprehensive about their purchase even though the realtor has provided all info needed for the buyer to know they are making an informed decision. This is because home buying is among the most intensely emotional buying experiences in many people's lives.

Buyer's remorse is not a phenomenon exclusively reserved for first time buyers, however. Even seasoned veterans and people in the industry can experience feelings of impending doom once they have finalized a home purchase. Perhaps this time they have the feeling that they have finally bitten off more than they can chew. Or maybe they are the types who continue to "shop", second-guessing themselves until they are losing sleep at night (real estate professionals sometimes have a "dangerous knowledge" of their own business, making it even more difficult to make a decision for themselves).

If you are indeed trying to "back out" of a new home purchase and are sure that there is no other decision to be made, the experience may not be a pleasant one. The rules usually say that once the seller has agreed to and accepted the contract, it's pretty much a "done deal". Unless your inspector finds something wrong with the home, your loan pre-approval falls apart, or some disaster befalls you, you are pretty much stuck. It's important to remember that at the time you were writing and negotiating the offer you thought the home was a good choice or you would not have gotten as far as you did. You need to ask yourself "what has changed? It is likely simply your feelings which have changed since the home and property are still the same as when you first looked at them. Sellers can not control your finances or what a home inspector finds so they simply have to deal with the collapse of the purchase if one of these things turns into an issue. Sellers will however not be terribly pleased to hear you have simply 'changed your mind' and may simply refuse to releases you from the contract. This can turn into a bit of a nightmare for everyone and should be avoided at all costs.

The cure for buyer's remorse is information and time. The more information you or your agent can gather to bolster your decision once this feeling sets in, the more reassured you'll feel about the course you have taken. And the phrase "time heals all wounds" can apply as well. Even if you proceed with the purchase and move all your worldly belongings into the new home still feeling unsure of your investment, you may feel much differently six months down the road, once you have settled in. And if the feeling remains, you can try to sell. It's likely, however, that once you're there, cooking in your new kitchen, watching your kids romp in your new backyard, and meeting some great new neighbours, you'll start to feel a whole lot better about not giving into your trembling toes so long ago.

Trever Florko

Trever Florko

Personal Real Estate Corporation
CENTURY 21 Assurance Realty Ltd.
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