A First-Timer’s Guide to Buyer’s Remorse

June 28, 2021

During the first week of real estate school, instructors bring up a serious affliction that grabs virtually everyone who buys or tries to buy a house or condo. It even has a name: Buyer’s Remorse.  And almost everyone gets it at some point in any real estate transaction.

And it’s rarely about the house or condo!

Buying your first home can be a little scary.  You are about to make a huge financial commitment – a mortgage that will take three decades to pay off. Unlike a rental home, you can’t just give your landlord notice and call the movers. To get out of the mortgage, you have to find someone else who will buy the place, hopefully for at least the amount of money you’ll need to pay off the mortgage and your closing costs.

And then there is the responsibility of keeping the house properly maintained. You can’t call your landlord when a roof starts to leak or the toilet won’t stop running – things you are sure will begin to happen the minute your mover’s truck pulls away.  It is up to you to either fix the problems or, if you’re smart, call in and pay a professional.

At the same time, there are huge rewards.  Over the years, homes increase in value, often by a lot.  You are not at the mercy of a landlord who can raise your rent or insist that you get rid of your dog.  You can paint the walls any color you want, and if the kitchen doesn’t work for you, you can renovate.  It’s your home!

Whatever the risks and rewards may be, you will be especially vulnerable to buyer’s remorse right after your home inspection.  You’ve found Dream House, then a compulsive house nerd comes in and finds all kinds of stuff that might need attention.  Rather than ask the seller to make needed repairs, you are overcome by panic – and the urge to run to the airport and catch the next flight to Cameroon to get out to the deal.

And there can be other triggers, usually at or just after the time the contingencies that could help you escape from the deal expire.

And usually, whatever the trigger for your case of Buyer’s Remorse might be, it has nothing to do with the house. The whole process has become trickier as buyers deal with bidding wars.  To win, they might do something that, a few days later, looks terribly foolish.  But in a few years time, you’ll think that whatever you did to get a place you love was very smart after all.

After you settle, the roof won’t fly off with the next gust of wind.  The toilet isn’t going to dance across the bathroom floor with your first flush as a homeowner.

I’ve only had one client in almost 40 years who managed to get out of a deal and not regret it later.  But I have had many call the next hour or the next day wanting to put the dead deal back together again. And usually I can’t make that happen, especially in this market where bidding wars can create at least one backup offer for each house.

There are times when it makes sense to walk away.  But I can’t prepare you for how you will feel the next day, or the next week, if based on a temporary panic, you prematurely pull the plug on a great house.  That’s when you figure out that the market is just more bidding wars that can make you crazy.

If you a planning a move, please call or text me at 202-549-5167 and we can arrange to meet, either in person or virtually.  Or drop me an email at housepat@mac.com.