If you’ve tried to buy a house recently, you know how stiff the competition is to get your foot in the door. With bidding wars, all cash offers, and homes going into escrow almost the instant that a “for sale” sign gets placed on the front lawn, buyers have been acting with lightning speed. In some cases, they’ve been acting too fast and that has led to buyer’s remorse. For new homeowners especially, having such a long-term financial commitment can make people doubt their decision, even when they were initially ecstatic. Here are the most common reasons for buyer’s remorse. If you’re currently shopping for a house, you’ll want to avoid these pitfalls.
Surprise, your HVAC isn’t working. Or your faucet won’t stop running. Or you need a new roof. Or or or… When you’re a homeowner, the need for maintenance is never on your timeline and usually happens without warning. High maintenance or repair costs are probably the most common reason for buyers’ remorse. This is why you don’t ever want to waive the inspection on a house you’re buying. Also, when you’re determining your budget, you should always include a financial reserve for any surprise repairs.
You Don’t Like the Neighorhood
Beware of falling in love with a house. It could make you overlook a lot of things, like a neighborhood that’s ultimately incompatible with your lifestyle. You could persuade yourself that living out in the suburbs is fine, that you weren’t really city people anyway. Then, a few months later, you have a change of heart and realize that you hate living someplace where everything closes at 8. Or you could discover that your up-and-coming neighborhood has a higher crime than you realized. The quality of the home is important, but don’t overlook the surrounding area. Make sure to evaluate the neighborhood honestly. It can be as important to your quality of life as the house itself.
Sudden Loss of Savings
On paper, every homeowner is aware that they’re going to be forking over a huge sum of money. But in practice, it’s very common for new homeowners to underestimate the grand total of what they’ll be spending every month. If you’re moving into a bigger property, you may overlook the expenses of increased utilities and maintenance. Or, when you were figuring out what you could afford, you looked at the mortgage payment but forgot to factor in property taxes, maintenance, and repairs. When you’re buying a property, even if it’s your primary residence and not a rental, make sure that you have a clear idea of what your total housing expenses will be every month.
Your Commute Is Too Long
When you bought the house, you knew it would be a longer commute. You probably persuaded yourself that the 45-minute commute was doable, but it’s feeling progressively more miserable as time goes by. You’ve also realized that it’s a 45-minute commute in ideal circumstances, with perfect weather and no construction, road closures, or accidents. After a few months, you may feel like you’re spending most of your time behind the wheel, and you’re ready for a new job or a new house. Either way, it’s time for a change.
With the competitiveness of the current housing market, it’s easy to feel like it’s better to jump on any property than to have to keep looking, but in my experience that’s simply not true. Being tethered to a house you either can’t afford or don’t want is much worse than having to keep looking. The best tactic when you’re looking to buy a place is to make sure that you’re clear on what you can afford, and to have that number in mind. Also, if you have certain areas you’re interested in, make sure you’re familiar with the pros and cons before you buy. That includes learning as much as possible about the schools, the crime statistics, and any major developments on the rise. The best way to prevent buyer’s remorse is by knowing as much as possible before you buy.