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Buying a home is one of the most enjoyable and memorable experiences of your life, especially if you are buying your first house. But what happens when it doesn’t go that way? What happens when you’ve bought a new house and immediately feel some remorse or sense of dread?
Buyer’s remorse is something that sets in when someone determines that they are unhappy with the results of their purchase.
This article will help you understand the many reasons why some people experience home buyer’s remorse. You’ll also benefit from some key insights on how to overcome home buyer’s remorse.
10 Reasons Why People Experience Home-Buyer’s Remorse
The reasons behind home buyer’s remorse are multifaceted. While some reasons might seem fairly obvious, it’s easy to overlook some things when you’re caught up in the excitement of shopping for a home.
For example, you might find yourself admiring the well-manicured lawn so intensely that you fail to notice signs of a leak in the roof or dilapidated siding. That’s not the only thing you might miss; here are ten of the most common reasons people regret their home purchase.
1. Unexpected Maintenance
Unexpected maintenance is one of the most common and compelling reasons behind home buyer’s remorse. It’s one thing to purchase a home knowing that you will eventually need to replace the roof or make updates, but it’s another to discover significant problems shortly after you move in.
Imagine moving into a home during the heat of summer when the air conditioner chugs away efficiently, only to have the furnace fail when the air turns cool. It’s easy to regret buying a home when you unexpectedly have to replace the furnace!
Of course, not all unexpected maintenance issues are quite so expensive, but that doesn’t make them any less disappointing. Flaking paint, tiles falling out of the drop ceiling, and dysfunctional power outlets can quickly add up to serious homeowner frustrations.
2. The Neighborhood Is Not What You Expected
Another common issue that leads to home buyer’s remorse surfaces once you discover that the neighborhood you just moved into is not what you expected. After all, it’s difficult to evaluate a neighborhood with any accuracy without spending a lot of time there. Some of the most common issues include:
- Finding out you live next to the party house on your first night.
- Getting the cold shoulder from your neighbors.
- Learning that your neighbors have different interests that conflict with yours.
- Realizing you don’t have access to the amenities you need, like gyms, grocery stores, and restaurants.
Perhaps the worst thing to happen on this front is finding out that your new neighborhood isn’t as promising as you thought. For example, a new project nearby is about to undercut the property value, or the school system took a significant hit due to redistricting.
3. Your Mortgage Payment Is Too Expensive
Another factor that can lead to buyer’s remorse comes up when you find that your mortgage payment is too expensive. This issue might not hit with the first payment, but over time, that mortgage might leave you wondering if it’s worth the hassle.
It’s not to say that you didn’t plan for the mortgage payment, but maybe you counted on a bonus or a raise at work that didn’t come through. Or, maybe you thought you could make certain concessions to afford the payments, but it’s turning out to be too much.
There’s also the issue of unexpected expenses that you didn’t account for during your planning. Maybe your child needs braces, you lose a job, or a global pandemic hits and knocks you into unknown territory. Even if you try to plan for these unexpected issues, it’s not always possible, and it’s not easy to feel good about your home if the cost stresses you out.
4. The House Feels Too Big or Too Small
Other folks find that their house is either too large or too small, which can also lead to a sense of buyer’s remorse. When you’re walking through a house you might not notice the size, especially if it’s staged well.
Stepping into your new house when it’s empty can be a completely different feeling. Maybe your sectional doesn’t fit in the living room or your dining room table takes up too much space. Taking things in the opposite direction, what if your sofa looks like a loveseat because the great room is massive?
Either way, new furniture was not likely in your move-in budget. The Goldilocks effect can leave homeowners regretting their choice as much as any other situation on this list. Who doesn’t want their home to feel just right?
5. Your Savings Are Depleted
When your savings have been depleted after buying a new house, it’s understandable to experience some feelings of buyer’s remorse. What if something serious happens? How will you pay for it without a safety net?
It made sense to expend your savings for such a worthy investment, but now looking at your account balance is shocking and scary. Regretting your purchase is natural at this point, but you have to remember that you saved that money for this purpose.
6. Mortgage Rate Fell
You thought you had the ideal mortgage rate. It was lower than it had been in months, but then it drops again. Of course, it’s normal to regret your purchase when you think you could have had a lower mortgage rate that would have saved you thousands. If only you waited a little longer to buy.
Regretting your house because you could have had a lower interest rate is common in any housing market. However, it’s one of the least reasonable regrets because it’s difficult to predict. Besides, you can usually refinance at a lower rate somewhere down the line anyway.
7. You Have a Longer Commute
Many people choose to move to a house that’s farther away from their workplace because it’s more affordable, the home checks all of the boxes on their list, or because they want more peace and quiet. The only problem is, once you’ve settled in and have been making the daily commute to your job, it can start to wear you down.
Extending your daily commute means less time enjoying the comfort of your new home, but there are ways to make use of that extra time. Try listening to audiobooks or that podcast you’ve been putting off because you don’t have time to enjoy it. If worse comes to worst, you could always request to work from home some days.
8. The Layout Doesn’t Work
Sometimes a house has so many amazing features that you neglect to consider the layout itself. Maybe the living room is long and narrow, so it’s difficult to arrange furniture for entertaining. Or, perhaps, you now have a galley kitchen that makes meal prep more challenging. Whatever the issue, nothing works quite right, and you end up frustrated.
Don’t give up! There are ways to make your home work for you, and it doesn’t have to mean a remodel (though it could!). Part of being a homeowner is making the space yours, so get creative and find ways to make the layout fit your needs. Thankfully, we live in a time where people showcase innovative ideas online and show you how to adapt them for your space!
9. You Simply Overpaid
Many home buyers are willing to spend more than they should to secure the house they want. Some buyers get caught up in a bidding war with other buyers, while others simply offer full-price and find themselves tapped out after the closing.
Knowing you paid too much for your home can weigh heavily and lead to some resentment, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There’s always an opportunity to reclaim the money you invested when you resell.
10. You Settled
You can also experience a sense of home buyer’s remorse when you just settle for a house instead of waiting for the opportunity to buy the house of your dreams. Most people compromise on something during their home-buying venture. Depending on the compromise, it might eventually give way to serious regret.
For example, you desperately wanted a huge kitchen but settled on a house that had everything else except for that culinary haven. You might find the arrangement reasonably pleasant initially, but that satisfaction will rapidly fade in time. Renovating the space might be an option, but not always.
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How To Overcome Home Buying Remorse
Now that you know more about the many causes behind home buyer’s remorse, it’s time to take a look at how you can overcome it. Of course, that means you need to figure out the source of your remorse. Here are some tips to try out.
Revisit Your Home Buying Goals to Reduce Anxiety
You probably started your venture with goals and a wish list. Compare your original home buying goals against what you wound up with, and you might find that your new home is not so bad after all.
For example, maybe you wanted space to accommodate a family. You selected a home with a fenced-in yard, four bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, a massive great room, loads of storage space, and a finished basement. The kitchen is not quite what you hoped for, but everything else seems to align with your primary objective.
Why You Wanted to Buy
Why did you decide to buy a house? Perhaps you were tired of paying more to rent an apartment. Maybe you got married or decided to have children. When you look at why you decided to buy a home and realize that your purchase is fulfilling that purpose, it’s easier to appreciate everything.
You Were Financially Ready
One of the easiest and most effective ways to overcome home buyer’s remorse is to remind yourself that you were financially ready to buy your new home. It doesn’t matter that you depleted your savings for the down payment or that you have to drive a little farther to work every day because you made a rational investment.
You Do Love Your New Home
Owning a home means that you can customize it to your tastes. You can paint your rooms any color you want and plant whatever you like in your yard. Take that a step further and do a serious renovation if you want. It’s your home. You can work on it until you love it.
Neighbors and finances aside, if you find that you genuinely love your new home, you’ll know that you made the right decision, which means there’s no reason to feel buyer’s remorse.
5 Actions You Can Take Right Now
Still feeling home buyer’s remorse? There are five actions that you can take right now to overcome this feeling and start moving forward.
1. Focus on What You Can Control
There are some things in life that you can control and some that you can’t. Once you start focusing on the things that you can influence, you’ll realize that things aren’t so bad after all.
For example, you might not be able to control what kind of neighbors live next to you, but you can control your own behavior and how you choose to interact with them. Sometimes taking the high road really pays off. When you’re in a new and uncomfortable neighborhood, it can take time to earn respect from your neighbors.
2. Make a To-Do List and Check One Thing off at a Time
When new homeowners start tons of projects at once, they often end up overwhelmed. Instead, make a to-do list and focus on one thing at a time.
Try to organize your to-do list as much as possible. For example, don’t try fixing the leak in the roof on the same day as trying to do your taxes. Likewise, don’t start a bunch of different projects at once if you don’t have to.
3. Throw a Housewarming Party
You can also try overcoming your buyer’s remorse by throwing a house party! This tactic can help you in many ways.
- Inviting friends and family over to celebrate your new space can make it more real.
- Your loved ones can encourage you when they share positive feelings about what you’ve done with your home.
- Ask for advice on problem areas, like how to arrange the guest bedroom to maximize the space.
- Make new, positive memories in your home.
Housewarming parties can also be a great way to connect with your new neighbors. While you might not want to invite the entire neighborhood, you could extend an invitation to your closest neighbors.
4. Find Your New Favorite Place in the Home
Something made you choose this home over all the others you looked at. Maybe you loved the small alcove that you crafted into a perfect reading nook, or perhaps the semi-finished basement became your ideal home theater. Sometimes it only takes a coat of paint and your personal decor to revolutionize a room.
Consider the things that attracted you to the home in the first place and do what you can to make those ideas into reality. Start with one space, put it together, and go there whenever you start to feel regret about your purchase. It’s easier to look beyond the faults when you have one special place in your home that always makes you happy.
5. Turn Off Your New Home Listing Alerts
Do you still get alerts on new home listings? The only thing that’s good for is showing you “what could have been.” One has a giant kitchen that makes yours look like a pantry. Another has a large walk-in closet and master bathroom that fits your tastes perfectly. It’s easy to sensationalize every new home listing you get because you aren’t looking at them.
To combat your buyer’s remorse, it’s important to turn off those new home listing alerts as soon as you close on your home. There’s nothing to gain by comparing the best parts of home listings with your new purchase.
But… What If Your Home-Buyers Remorse Is Valid?
Sometimes, a new homebuyer’s remorse is completely valid, leaving them struggling with how to make things better. Unfortunately, homes don’t come with trial periods or money-back guarantees, so you need to find an alternate path.
- If you can’t afford the mortgage payment, you might need to sell the home and move somewhere more affordable.
- Is the space too big or small? Consider renting it out and moving elsewhere or doing major renovations.
- Finding out that the previous homeowners didn’t complete repairs they agreed to or failed to disclose some critical issues could mean you need to sue them.
None of these solutions sound easy because they aren’t. Buying a house is one of the biggest things you can do, and like anything else in life, it sometimes doesn’t work out. For some people, that means a costly mistake, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a way out. Reach out to your agent, talk to your family and friends, and a solution will present itself.