The regret you feel in the pit of your stomach after spending a small fortune on a home has a name. It’s called buyer’s remorse, and it’s a lot more common than you may think.
Thankfully, there are several practical things you can do if you’re dealing with home-purchase regrets.
1. Know That Buyer’s Remorse Is Common
First, understand that it’s normal to have regrets after buying a home.
Among millennial homeowners, 82% had a major regret about the first home they bought, according to a 2022 study by the Real Estate Witch. Some of the most common reasons included high interest rates (22%), not being educated enough about the home-buying process (21%), living in a neighborhood that changed too much (21%), and not anticipating the future needs of a home (18%).
“This doesn’t mean the buyer made the wrong purchase overall,” said Gina Baker, real estate analyst at Fit Small Business. “But it could mean there are portions of the situation they weren’t expecting and that could be better.”
Brett Rosenthal, a realtor and the team leader for Revolve Philly Group with Compass, said around 10-20% of his clients have regrets about buying their second home.
“People are sentimental about their old home,” he said. “Having buyer’s remorse doesn’t mean the buyer made the wrong purchase, and in most cases, they did not. It’s just generally an adjustment period. And once it ends, they’re very happy.”
2. Give Yourself Time to Pinpoint the Cause
To understand the underlying cause of your buyer’s regret, you should try to understand why you’re feeling it. List the specific reasons you feel this way and ask yourself if these problems are deal-breakers or not.
During this step, you may find it helpful to speak with others who have also experienced buyer’s remorse, said Boyd Rudy, co-owner and broker at Dwellings Michigan. He also urges new homebuyers to give themselves time to see if the feelings of regret subside on their own.
“It’s natural to second-guess yourself after making such a big purchase,” he said. “If you’re finding it hard to shake off the feeling, try reaching out to friends and family members who have gone through the home-buying process before. They can provide a valuable perspective and help you see your decision in a new light.”
Sometimes buyers regret spending so much money on a home that doesn’t meet their expectations at first. But Rosenthall encourages buyers to think back to why they made their initial decision to purchase. Sometimes even looking at other homes on the market can help alleviate the guilt of spending so much money.
“By doing this, it usually makes it easier for one to understand why they made the choice,” Rosenthall says. “Looking at the other options out there often helps as well.”
3. Reach Out to Your Real Estate Agent
If the problems you’re experiencing can’t be solved easily, it’s time to talk to your real estate agent.
“Were you rushed into buying the property? Did you have all the information you needed before making an offer?” said Rudy. “If you feel like you may have made a hasty decision, it’s important to get in touch with your real estate agent and see if there’s any way to renegotiate the contract.”
Sometimes, this step can help you see that you made the right purchase. And if not, an agent can help you figure out what to do next.
4. Decide How You’ll Solve the Problem
You may find that the solution to your buyer’s remorse is as simple as redecorating your house to match your unique tastes.
“When you move into a new house, it often doesn’t feel like a home until the buyer puts their own touches on it,” said Baker. “Repaint the walls, buy furniture, and add décor that makes the home feel like your own.”
There are times, though, when regret is tied to a more serious problem. If your purchase is putting you in physical or financial danger, talk to your real estate agent about putting your home back on the market, said Janine Acquafredda, a licensed real estate associate broker with RE/MAX.
“Be sure to contact your accountant to discuss taxes associated with the sale,” she said. “Broker fees, attorney fees, and taxes all have to be considered when selling, especially if it’s going to be a quick turnaround.”
Your other option is to rent out the home while living somewhere else, she added. Renting out the whole home–or even just one room–can help offset expenses if finances are the root cause of your buyer’s remorse.
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