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The Bitter Pill of Buyer's Remorse

Aug 1, 2008
We've all felt that terrible pang in our stomachs when we think we've spent money on the wrong thing, like an expensive new gadget or designer jeans. Imagine multiplying that sick feeling by a hundred, and you might come close to knowing what it feels like to have home buyer's remorse.

Buyer's remorse is actually quite common in the real estate industry, mostly because of the magnitude of the purchase. If the simple act of buying $200 jeans makes your stomach do flips, then buying a house will make you positively ill. When you buy a house, you have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, which is usually going to be paid over a period of twenty or thirty years. Not only is this an enormous financial commitment, but you must also face the prospect of making this new place your home.

What if your children don't like the schools? What if the neighbors deal drugs out of their home? What if jet planes fly overhead every morning at 6am? Moving into a new neighborhood can be frightening because you don't know what to expect. While your rational mind knows that things will likely work out for the best, the emotional side of your brain can't help analyzing all the possible 'what ifs,' and make you feel you've made the wrong decision.

When people suffer from buyer's remorse, they ask themselves, "Did I do the right thing?" Financially, you need to know that you paid the right price for the property, and that the house and the neighborhood are actually a good fit for you. It's natural to question all these things once you've signed the purchase offer, simply because it's such a major commitment. You know that if you change your mind about buying the house, canceling the contract will be difficult and very expensive. And there's no guarantee that you would win your case anyway. It's much easier to stick with the house and deal with the anxiety as best you can.

In order to make you feel better about your purchase, focus on what drew you to the house in the first place. Right now you can only see the negatives about the property, and you have trouble thinking rationally. While it is important to listen to your gut, you have to remember that at the time that you signed the contract, your instincts were telling you to go ahead with the deal. You did your research, had a qualified real estate agent at your side guiding you along the way, and there were a number of factors that made you believe that this was the right place to invest in. Trust yourself, and know that you did the best you could in searching for a house. This is the home that made the most sense for you and your family, so rest easy knowing that.

During the throes of panic, it may be hard to remember what you liked about the place, so start now by making a list of all the positives involved with the home. What do you like about the architecture? How about the neighborhood? Was the price competitive with similar properties in the area? Like anything else, you probably just need to take some time to get to know your new home. Decorate it with love, and put your own stamp on the place. Of course, if three years down the road you still feel bad about the purchase, you can simply sell it for something else.
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