How to Avoid Buyer’s Remorse

If you are buying in a seller’s market, it is easy to get caught up in multiple offer situations, counter-offering, and low inventory. The home buying process, in this market, is competitive, and all you want is to win.

You finally find the house, you’re under contract, you get those keys at the closing table, and you post pics over social media to show the world, “I did it!” Then a month later, after you’ve moved in, you wake up one morning and think, “Oh sh#t, what have I done?.

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1. Make a List

Before you even begin looking for a home, write a list of YOUR must haves. I recommend at least, five things YOU can’t compromise on: “a kitchen size, yard size, age of home, closet size, etc”.

No one knows you better than you know yourself. You will be influenced by family, coworkers, and your Realtor on what home they think is right for you. Share the list with your Realtor, and put everyone else on notice.

Make sure YOU know your intentions. At the closing table, you are getting the keys, and you are paying the mortgage.

For example, do not buy a home with an HOA if you know you want to have an organic farm and raise goats (true story). You had on your list not to purchase in a subdivision because most covenants do not allow livestock animals;  so now, you have to defer your dream for at least, a year, to save more money to buy another home.

2. Take advantage of your due diligence

Make sure you know when your due diligence period ends. Once you are under contract (or in escrow), you will have a time frame (agreed on by all parties) to inspect your home for issues and address any concerns with the seller. If the seller does not agree to the repairs, and you and the seller can’t compromise - terminate.

If you did not inherit the HGTV fixer-upper gene, do not convince yourself you can replace the flooring or update the light fixtures, when you do not have the time, skill, nor budget to do it.

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3. Meet with contractors

This is very important! Most buyers wait and speak to contractors after the purchase, and this is wrong.

If you are considering tearing down walls, finishing basements, remodeling  a kitchen, you need to know if you are staying within your total budget, which includes remodeling before you buy.

4. During your due diligence, stalk your house.

Your location is changing. Pay attention to your new commute. On a Monday, intentionally be at your new home at the time you would leave for work. Get your morning coffee, take in the traffic, find alternate routes, if necessary. Can you do this daily?

Leave from work on a Friday to your new home. Do you pass restaurants, grocery stores, and the places you would like to go? If the commute is not what you expected - terminate.

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5. Show me the money

Ask your lender to provide your closing disclosure or closing cost estimate sheet as soon as your are under contract. This document provides you with your monthly mortgage amount, interest rates, and closing cost you will need.

Are you comfortable with the monthly payments? Can you afford this home? Will you have enough money after paying your mortgage to invest in your retirement account, pay other bills you have, and still maintain your current lifestyle?

6. Look at your new neighbors.

No, seriously, look at them. Are you buying in a neighborhood where empty nesters reside, and you are single, in your 20s? Do you feel comfortable having gatherings or parties, when other residents will be asleep? Have kids? Will your kids have playmates in the neighborhood?

Take action, when you see your future neighbors outside, stop and speak to them. Let them know you are buying a home near them, and you want to know about the neighborhood.

How well do they get along? Do they have annual events where you can meet more neighbors, or are they quiet and stay out of everyones business?

They will be happy to talk to you. Trust me, they want to know all about you as well.

7. One tool can change your life

Most buyers buy too small for their belongings. Measure all the furniture you plan to move in advance, and bring this information with you. It may be needed. Bring measuring tape during your home search.

If you have a king size bed you plan to move into the new house with, measure the walls to make sure it can fit along with your other furniture. Never assume by looking at a vacant room all your furniture can fit.

Once you’re in your new home, it’s going to be inevitable to find something wrong. Hopefully, applying these tips will help you avoid some mistakes.

Focus on the positives, and remember why you purchased the home:

  1. you are paying yourself instead of a landlord (you are making yourself rich)

  2. your home is earning equity as you pay it off (a forced savings account), and

  3. it’s yours!