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Buyer’s remorse? You’re not alone
RE/MAX Genesis
Wednesday, October 3, 2007 • Posted October 2, 2007 10:00 PM

Woulda, coulda, shoulda.

If those words describe how you’re feeling lately, you’re not alone. Buyer’s remorse sometimes plagues homebuyers – people who think they missed out on the house/deal/yard/school district/neighborhood of a lifetime when they recently bought a home. Buyer’s remorse can even set in after the buyer has a contract on a property but before the sale closes.

The fact is that buyer’s remorse is a common emotion for some when making any sort of purchase – especially when buying something as expensive as a house. You might scour home sale ads after you’ve signed on the dotted line, thinking there’s a better deal out there than the one you got. Or, a home might have just listed in a neighborhood you perceive to be a better one than where you’ve already purchased a home.

And that is okay.

After all, we’re only human. Buyer’s remorse is simply our fears intensified – and usually for no good reason. Here are some tips to help avoid experiencing buyer’s remorse in the first place – and to ensure that you really did get the great house/deal/yard/school district/neighborhood you always wanted.

Take your time

Even if you’re in a situation where you need to buy quickly – say, for a job move – you don’t have to rush into such a big financial decision. The job move? If you don’t feel comfortable making a purchase decision by the time you must move, rent a place first; there’s no law that says you must own a home immediately (though it is one of the best investments one can make). Keep time on your side – and your sanity in check – by looking around and deciding what appeals to you, and what doesn’t.

If you’re looking to buy in a new neighborhood, make the effort to thoroughly check it out. How long will your commute times be during rush hour? School district doesn’t measure up to your expectations? Again, consider these important factors before making a commitment to purchase a home.

Do you have friends or family in your target neighborhood? See if you can spend the night at their home and keep an eye – and ear – open to the possibility that this could be your new surroundings. Even if you don’t stay overnight in the neighborhood, visit it several times at different times of day. Do you like what you see? How’s the traffic? Can you get to and from a grocery store that you like in a reasonable amount of time?

Rely on your Realtor to give you a realistic estimate of the top – and bottom – you should pay for a house in your target neighborhood or for a specific house you’ve identified. That way, you won’t worry after the sale that you may have paid too much, because you’ll know that your offer was right where it should be.

Will the house work for your needs?

This is a biggie. Once the surroundings pass muster, the next step is making sure the house does, too. Now, no house is going to be absolutely perfect down to the last little detail. But if the house doesn’t meet the needs that are high on your priority list, there’s no point in considering it.

Here’s an example. A young couple bought a great house in a desirable, move-up neighborhood with great schools, great trees and great neighbors. They were so enamored with the large, modern kitchen and its huge island (something the wife, as an avid cook, had always wanted), they decided to overlook the fact that the house didn’t have enough rooms to accommodate the home office they desired.

From the first day they moved in, they regretted not having the space for a home office. And their disappointment did not abate.

If you love most things about the house but know that some aspect of it will seriously bother you every day, keep looking.

Getting off the hook

What happens when you decide you don’t want to buy the house after the seller has accepted your offer? Well, that depends on what is written into the contract and your timing. That’s why you should discuss the contract with your Realtor before you ever make an offer, so you will know your options. One part of the contract is an option fee, which is a fee a buyer can pay for the right to cancel the contract for any reason within a specified amount of time. So if something turns up on the inspection that the seller won’t agree to fix or you simply decide you really don’t want a two-story home, you can terminate the contract – within the specified option time frame. Wait until that deadline expires to change your mind on a home purchase and you’ll likely face major complications – perhaps even a legal battle.

Finally, be realistic. If you’re buying a pre-owned home, know that resale homes do have problems. The point is to go into a sale without the rose-colored glasses. If you know what you want, trust your instincts and rely on professionals like Realtors, inspectors and others to help, buyer’s remorse will be the furthest thing from your mind and you’ll be able to thoroughly enjoy your home purchase without any regrets.

For more information, visit TexasRealEstate.com. For professional services, contact RE/MAX Genesis at 830-833-2000 or lightfoot@moment.net.

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