Here are some tried-and-tested preventatives for what is known in the real estate industry as ‘home buyer’s remorse’ - it is worth running through these before you go house-hunting.
A recent study in the UK revealed that about one new buyer in 10 regrets their choice to some degree, with the most common cause of their dissatisfaction, thinking they could have got a better deal if they had taken more time to choose.
You need to feel sure that the home you’re buying is good value and will meet your needs at this time of your life. Getting caught up in a bidding war early on in your home search can also lead to you making emotional decisions that you may regret later.
Other reasons why buyers may suffer remorse include not liking the new neighbours, finding that their new home is too small, finding that their new home requires more work than they expected and finding that their mortgage payments put them under financial strain – and that with this in mind, Harcourts has the following advice for prospective buyers:
Think very carefully about what you need from a property, and may need five or 10 years from now. For example, a large garden might appeal to you, but will you really have the time – or money – to maintain it? On the other hand, we find that people who are downsizing are also liable to underestimate the amount of space they will need – such as an extra bedroom to use as a home office or to accommodate family visitors.
Double check your finances to make sure you can comfortably afford the mortgage payments and the other ongoing costs of home ownership, such as insurance, rates and maintenance. And be sure to create a contingency fund so that an unexpected repair or interest rate increase won’t send you into a tailspin.
Research the area in which you are thinking of buying. Picking the wrong location can have a negative effect on the future resale value of your property as well as your current lifestyle. Look out for positives such as good schools, public transport, medical facilities and clean parks, and for negatives such as nearby road-building or large commercial developments.
Visit the home you are thinking of buying at different times of the day and on different days of the week. In this way, you may well discover noisy neighbours before you move in next door to them – or a noisy local gathering place that only gets busy after dark. In addition, you may find that traffic in the area is worse than you thought, or that the commute to work is actually further or more difficult than you estimated.
Don’t let a lovely entertainment area blind you to a floor plan that won’t suit you. Try to find the home that most closely matches your original wish-list and that is within your budget. It is not worth buying a home you can’t afford as it will very likely prevent you from reaching other financial goals.
Home sellers don’t offer a refund policy, so take the time to make your decision when buying and avoid being counted amongst the regretful home owners.