It’s a terrible feeling that no buyer wants to experience: regretting your decision after agreeing to buy a house. Whether you’re reconsidering the location, the lack of a master ensuite, or the expense related to updating the place, there are plenty of reasons why you might wish you could turn back the hands of time. Considering the massive expense of a home purchase, you want to be absolutely certain of your decision, or else you could be the victim of the dreaded “buyer’s remorse.”
Nobody wants to experience that nauseating feeling that they’ve made a grave mistake with a home purchase. The good news is, there are ways that you can avoid it.
1. Do Your Homework
You might have fallen in love with a home, but how much do you really know about it? Sure, it may have all the bedrooms and bathrooms that you’ve ticked off your checklist, and has a layout and property that you find really attractive, but there are a few other things you will need to know about a specific property before you buy into it, including its property lines, the overall square footage, the level of crime in the area, whether it’s in a flood zone, and so forth. The list of questions can be quite lengthy.
You might have been guilty of impulse purchases on everyday items in the past, but it’s quite a different story when you’re talking about something as major as a home purchase. The more homework you do on the property, the better armed you will be to make a sound decision that you’ll be able to live with.
2. Make Sure Your Finances Comfortably Cover the Purchase
You might be pre-approved for a certain mortgage amount, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should max out on it. If you agree to buy a home at a specific purchase price, it’s possible that you could wind up being “house poor” and spending the majority of your income on the house with little leftover to enjoy your life.
Crunch all the numbers – including taxes, insurance, closing costs, furniture expense, and utility costs – to make sure you won’t be scrounging for every penny just to make your monthly mortgage payments.
3. Check For Any Previous Claims
Your home purchase could have been sabotaged even before your first showing of the house. If there are problems with the title of the property that go back to the previous owners or even earlier, you could suffer the consequences for it. A history of insurance claims can mean that it will be impossible to get homeowner’s insurance on a property.
Without insurance, lenders will be very unlikely to agree to the extension of a home loan, which means you could be stuck unable to get a mortgage to finance the place. Checking into the history of the property could uncover any unresolved claims on it that will cause you nothing but headaches in the future.
4. Get a Thorough Home Inspection Done
Even newer homes could have problems lurking behind the scenes. The best way to know for sure before you sign on the dotted line is to have a home inspection done. Any issues like faulty electrical wiring, plumbing problems, termite infestation, or moisture issues will be more likely to be uncovered if you get a professional in to inspect the home before you commit to buying it. Buyer’s remorse can certainly creep up on you if any one of these issues or others rear their ugly heads after you move in.
5. Get Detailed HOA Info
If you are moving into a condo or gated community that is managed by a homeowner’s association (HOA), you will want to get in-depth information about it. Find out about the HOA’s budget, reserve fund, financial report, underlying lawsuits, and even Board of Director meeting minutes to gain an accurate picture of the association.
Ideally, all the neighbors in the HOA are paying their dues on time and in full, and the HOA will have enough funds to cover necessary maintenance and repairs. Of not, you could realistically wind up having to contribute to additional funds in order to cover these costs, which could be extremely expensive.
6. Talk to the Neighbors
Whether you do it yourself or have your agent do it, talking to the neighbors could provide you with a lot of useful information about the area before you buy into it. Speaking with the neighbors is an extremely useful way to avoid buyer’s remorse.
They can offer real insight into the traits of the area, and will provide an idea about the actual type of lifestyle that you can expect. Asking questions about what other neighbors are like, how the schools rate, or if there is any noise from traffic or neighborhood pets can help you gauge how the community will affect your enjoyment of your new home.
7. Don’t Rush Into it
Depending on where you’re looking to buy, you could be smack dab in the middle of a super-charged competitive market where every listing ends up in a multiple offer situation or bidding war. While you might be in a position where you have to act fast in order to get your hands on the house you want, you also don’t want to rush yourself too much.
A hasty decision can often come with consequences. If you are in the middle of a competitive market, make sure you’ve fully prepared yourself for it. No home is worth losing sleep over it, so make sure you and your agent have a plan of attack so you’re ready to pounce without leaving you feeling remorseful.
8. Just Walk Away
The worst case scenario in your house hunting endeavor is to simply walk away. You might be tempted and even pressured to make a move on a listing, but if there’s something in your gut that’s telling you that something’s not right, there’s nothing wrong with putting the brakes on. After all, there will always be another home on the market for you. Waiting a little bit longer is certainly the better option than regretting your decision.
The Bottom Line
Buyer’s remorse can definitely cause you a lot of stress. The last thing you want is to have a change of heart after you’ve entered a commitment to purchase a home. Having a trusted agent on your side can help ensure that you’ve dotted all your ‘i’s’ and crossed all your ’t’s’ before sealing the deal, and leave you confident in your purchasing decision.