How to avoid buyer's remorse when purchasing a home

Buying a home is an emotionally charged decision.

First, you are trying to decide where to spend the majority of your time in the years ahead. Second, you have to beat every other buyer who wants the same home and third, you have to reach agreement with the owner on price, conditions and settlement date.

During this process our competitive nature and desire to nest come to the forefront. Determined not to miss out, we focus single-mindedly on securing a home at all costs, fearing the rejection that comes with missing out. We fear that we won't find another home like this. That we'll be looking at open homes forever.

When your offer is finally accepted, the sudden relief can bring with it moments of high anxiety. Thoughts like 'what on earth have we just done!' naturally pop into our minds as we ponder the size of the mortgage we are about to take on. These feelings can be compounded when you move into your new home and see it empty for the first time. Barren and furniture-less, suddenly every spot on the wall or faded patch of paintwork stands out.

If your mindset isn't right at this point, you could fall into the rabbit hole of buyer's remorse, convincing yourself that you made a bad decision buying your chosen home. These negative feelings can take months or years to shake due to the value of the transaction and the impact our choice of home has on our day to day lives.

To help you avoid slipping into the mire of buyer's remorse, here are some tips to keep your head in the game and approach the home-buying process with emotion and logic.

1. Get to know the area you are buying in.

Buy with emotion but justify with logic. Visit at least 5-10 houses in your target suburb before making an offer. Find out what else you could buy for your money so that when you do purchase a home, you can be confident it was good value at the time.

2. Don't skimp on research.

Buyer's remorse is most prevalent when you feel short-changed after moving in. This could occur if buyers avoid paying for a professional building inspection, only to find that the roof needs replacing within 6 months. Or that the garage floor gets covered in water during winter.

Paying for independent advice when there is no guarantee your offer will be accepted can feel like throwing money away at the time, but your future homeowner self will thank you for it.

3. When you miss out, take a few days off.

When your offer gets rejected it can be heartbreaking. You have imagined yourself living in this home, raising your kids there, and now someone else has taken it away from you! It's at this point where many buyers rush out and buy the very next home they see, even if it doesn't suit their needs. Just to erase that bad feeling in their stomach.

If you miss out on a home, take a few days off looking. Take the time to acknowledge the loss and prepare yourselves to re-enter the market with fresh eyes and fresh hope.

4. Forget about timing the market.

The right time to buy a home is when you can afford to do so. If you wait for the market to fall you could end up waiting a long time. Conversely, if you plan to hold onto your home for the medium term (5-10) years then you will give yourself plenty of time to ride out any potential blips in the market.

5. Second-hand realism.

If you are buying an older home, understand that it probably won't be in perfect condition the day you move in. There will be nicks in the walls and scuff marks on the floor. There may even be faded spots in the carpet where the sun comes in, or where a soggy pot plant once stood.

6. Buy for location.

You can change everything about a home, except where it is. Choosing a home in an area you like, close to the schools you want and with the sun aspect you desire, will help you avoid buyer's remorse. Anything cosmetic that isn't up to snuff can always be fixed!

7. Have a move-in budget.

Inevitably, soon after you move into your dream home, something will unexpectedly break. Welcome to the joys of homeownership! This can trigger feelings of buyer's remorse if you don't have some money set aside to fix any small issues that come up after you move in. Take this into account when you make your offer and keep a small fund in reserve for unexpected costs.

Bonus tip: Already own a home? Smart sellers understand the value of selling first. This allows you to know exactly what you have to spend, puts you in a strong position as a cash-buyer and can remove a lot of stress from the process. Get in touch today to book a no-obligation consultation and we can talk through your options together.