"Remorse is the poison of life." ~Charlotte Bronte
How To Avoid Having Regrets About Buying a House
Buying a house is a huge decision and not one to rush. And it is not something you want to regret later.
Surveys showed that 1 in 4 buyers would not buy the home they are in if they could do it again! Another survey showed that 52% regret something about their home or the home buying process.
It does not matter if it’s your first house or the fifth, you do not want to regret such an important purchase!
Buyers regret can happen when buying anything (Bad lunch choice, perhaps?) Regretting buying a home can be devastating since this is usually the biggest purchase you will ever make.This is why it is important that you know how to avoid home buyer’s regret. Here are some of the most important things to remember when entering the market.
Whether you have home buying knowledge, or if this is your first jump into the market, the best way to prevent buyers regret is by having an experienced buyers agent on your side. Most experienced buyers agents will close more home sales in a month than the average person buys in their entire life! After 21 years, we feel that we are experts in the market and can guide you through the peaks and valleys that you may experience.
We will be able to explain the house buying process. We can also recommend other professionals who you’ll need during the house buying process such as inspectors.
Many people start looking at homes BEFORE they determine their budget. Know your buying power- call a lender before even looking online.
The main reason to get pre-approved before looking at houses is to ensure you’re able to get a mortgage. Mortgage brokers understand the constantly changing mortgage regulations and lenders requirements.Your mortgage professional can help you understand how much cash you need for down payment and closing costs. Your lender should give you a closing cost estimate that outlines all of your costs for owning that home.
A closing cost estimate will explain your home buying costs and your approximate monthly mortgage payment. Obviously, this is an important way to avoid having buyer’s regret! One common house buying regrets is using a small down payment. I know no money down sounds attractive, but it may not be the best option for you in the long run. A small down payment means paying PMI or private mortgage insurance.
Also, you MUST remember all the other stuff that you must pay for when you own a home. Some common additional expenses are:
Cost to Commute
Your monthly housing budget should include the mortgage payment PLUS all the additional expenses. This will help reduce the chance you experience any buyers regret.
ALWAYS remember your maximum price. Do not get caught up in the excitement and start bidding out of your financial lane. It is always better to NOT buy a home than to overpay! Whether it is a bidding war or multiple offer situation does not matter. You have a budget and you must stick to it! It is possible the bank will approve you for more than you should spend. I know this sounds crazy but the banks will lend some people more money than they should…Don’t Let This Happen to You!
Maybe you have found a home that is almost perfect. All you need to do is take down a wall, add a few windows, build a new master suite, etc etc…
There is nothing wrong with having dreams about how you’d like to improve your home. Making home improvements takes time and money. If you lack time and money, you could soon regret buying a house! Do not overestimate the renovations and repairs that you can safely do or afford. Rehabbing takes a toll on your bank account and on relationships as well. The smart thing to do is to get some estimates before you make an offer. Most contractors offer free estimates that could help you avoid buying a home that you cannot afford to improve. You must find out if there are any laws, rules or regulations that could prevent you from making any changes. This could mean talking to HOAs, Zoning and Regulation Departments, Historic Districts, etc.
One of the biggest causes of home buying regret is rushing the home search. Many buyers wonder how many homes should I look at? There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It is possible that you could find the right house after just looking at a couple of houses (HGTV Style) or it may take 20-30 showings to find the right match.
Most home buyers know when they find “the one”. If you feel unsure after making an offer, you should remember to stay calm. Second guessing yourself can cause you to have buyers regret in the future. Call it intuition or a gut feeling or whatever you want. But you will know when it is "the one."
You need to think about the future. How long do you intend to stay in the home? If the bedrooms are upstairs, will that cause a problem when you are older? If there a possibility that you will need to move in the future, then you must consider a home’s resale value. Hope for the best but plan for the worst!
You probably won’t ever find a house that is perfect. To make the correct decision for you and your family, we strongly recommend the following list:
Some of the most common NEEDS you should consider:
Number of Bedrooms
Number of Full Bathrooms
Minimal Square Footage
Size of the Lot
Too few bedrooms or bathrooms is often a cause for regretting a home purchase. There may come a day that you need additional bedrooms or bathrooms! If a home does not check the "needs" boxes, we would strongly advise you to mark it off your list. You risk regretting your decision if you do not stick to fulfilling your needs first.
What are some common wants?
Open Floor Plan
Style or Type of Home
What are some things that could make you say “No Way!”
Knowing your wants and needs means your agent (MHG agents, of course) will be able to find more homes that suit your unique criteria!
Unique features such as a pool or a shop can either be good or bad depending on the buyer. These features will affect how much you enjoy the home and how attractive the home is when/if you need to sell.
You want to avoid buying a home that is too small, as being cramped will cause regret. Since a larger home is more expensive to buy and own, it can also cause you to regret your purchase. You must decide what size home is best for your lifestyle and budget to avoid home buyer’s remorse! Another size that matters is the size of the property. A larger yard means time or money must be spent on yard maintenance. You must decide what size home and lot is best for you.
“Location, Location, Location,” may seem like an overused expression but it is absolutely true. You must consider the importance of location when buying a home! You can change, update or improve many things about a house. But you can never change the location! Don’t let the condition or price of a home is cause you to ignore the location! Do some research and investigate the neighborhood. I suggest visiting the neighborhood at different times. Drive by the home at different times and if possible, both during the week and on the weekend.
You should try to talk to some of the neighbors if you can. We always recommend a weekend stroll through the neighborhood. Say hello, bring the kids, the dog, even relatives, and just talk to the people you meet. We find that neighbors are always willing to share.
Some questions to research are the distances to shopping, medical facilities, and your work or business? If your commute takes too much time it means missing stuff that is more important to you!
Some things to consider when looking at a home’s location include:
Busy Roads or Railroad Tracks Nearby
Distance to Work and Shopping
Nuisances Such as College Housing or Manufacturing
Neighboring Properties Style, Upkeep, Type
Remember that traffic varies greatly during the day and from one day to the next. The noise from traffic as well as the safety concerns should never be overlooked! If you ignore potential problems about the location, you could find yourself annoyed down the road.
Finding the right property is only part of preventing house buying regrets. Writing an offer correctly is also essential! The internet has made finding homes for sale much easier than years ago. You can even find lots of information about the house buying process also. But that does NOT take the place of having the experience and knowledge to write an offer that is the total package! We are looking out for your best interests when writing an offer. When you have decided to make an offer, make sure your agent helps you understand the offer.
A good offer protects you by getting you the best price, terms, contingencies, conditions, costs, dates, etc. As your agent, we should explain in detail what you’re signing and what it means. There are ways to write a contract that will help to protect a home buyer. Every home is different, every buyer is different and every offer is different. We will be able to take all the various factors into consideration when writing an offer for you.
If the listing agent writes an offer for you, it is highly unlikely that your offer is in your best interests! The price may be correct but you have to ask yourslef who the agent is truly representing in this transaction.
Some people are embarrassed to ask questions about the home buying process. Answering your questions, and providing education is part of our job! Neglecting to ask questions almost guarantees a case of home buyer regret later on! If we don’t know the answer, we can suggest the appropriate professional that does.
Home buying regret is too common in real estate. The good news is that there are agents out there who will remember to act in your best interest to ensure that you move into the home you want. As always, our family team here at MHG is available to help you get started. From introduction to closing, we are there for you every step of the way.