For many buyers, there’s no better feeling than receiving the keys to your new home for the first time. After months of searching and negotiating, you’re finally past the finish line and can look forward to a bright future as a homeowner. But, unfortunately, this sense of elation may not last forever. It might hold until a few days after a closing day or even a few weeks after first moving in, but eventually, it can fade and be replaced by feelings of doubt and regret. A nagging question starts to fester in your mind; “Did I make the right decision?”
Post-purchase blues, also known as buyer’s remorse, doesn’t happen to everyone. But it is common enough that it deserves consideration. Moreover, it seems to affect some age groups worse than others, with one survey finding that 63% of millennial buyers had regrets about buying. The exact causes of it vary, but you can break it down into four main reasons. Below, we’ll explain each one and how you can overcome them.
Not being entirely happy with the new home or neighborhood.Not being entirely happy with the new home or neighborhood.
Moving into a new home usually doesn’t take long before you start to notice some of its quirks. Maybe it’s a noisy neighbor, a drafty window that leads to high heating bills, or just a feeling that it’s not big enough now that you’ve moved in. Some of these might be things you could (and should) have caught during the due diligence period. Others may have been unforeseeable until after you’ve lived in the home for a while.
It’s perfectly normal for the initial feelings of love for a new home to cool over time. Like a relationship that’s past its honeymoon period, imperfections become more noticeable and harder to ignore. But as with any strong relationship, this is also a chance for growth and maturity. Remind yourself of why you bought the home in the first place. Chances are, it still has that special thing that initially caught your eye. Learn to love and accept it, warts and all.
Also, stop looking at home listings and filling your head with “what ifs” and “could haves.” Instead, if you’re truly dissatisfied with some aspects of your home, then put together a plan to fix or mitigate some of those. After all, what is a home but an investment to build on with time?
You’re having mortgage problems.You’re having mortgage problems.
Many first-time buyers report having feelings of regret about some aspect of their mortgage. Did I choose the right loan program? Could I have gotten a better interest rate with another lender? Can I keep up with my monthly payments? You may be justified in asking some of these questions. But so long as you’ve still got job security and aren’t at risk of becoming house poor, you can probably discount most of them.
Besides, if you really feel like you got a bad deal with your mortgage, you can always refinance and shop for a better one later. Of course, this does mean you’ll have to pay new closing costs and go through the whole mortgage application process again. But if that’s what it takes to achieve your financial and homeownership goals, then refinancing is something you should consider.
Having doubts about being financially prepared for homeownershipHaving doubts about being financially prepared for homeownership
It’s a big responsibility to become a homeowner, so you’ll want to be sure you’re ready before you jump in. This means having enough confidence in your financial stability to weather any storm ahead. Failure to do this could lead to being overwhelmed by debt. If you haven’t bought yet and don’t feel financially ready, wait until your situation improves. On the other hand, if you have bought and are feeling stressed out by its expenses, make a plan to improve your financials.
One thing that almost always trips up new homeowners is the unexpected costs of maintenance. Things break down, and as the owner, it’s your responsibility to deal with them. If you haven’t budgeted properly for this, then now is the time to do so. The standard advice is always to set aside at least 1% of your home’s purchase price each year to deal with any unforeseen expenses. This may require reevaluating your budget and finding ways to reduce your monthly expenses. If you have any debt that can be quickly paid off, focus all your energies on doing so until your financial situation stabilizes.
You’re facing a sudden loss of liquid savings.You’re facing a sudden loss of liquid savings.
A home purchase is a significant investment, requiring tens of thousands of dollars (or hundreds of thousands) to cover the down payment. Most average buyers take years to save up this much money. When it’s finally time to buy and hand over all that green, expect to feel a little less certain in your financial position. Sure, you’ve bought a house, but now your bank account is a lot lighter than it’s been in a long time. At this moment, it is common to feel some doubt about whether buying a home was the right move.
If you’re feeling down about this, remind yourself that the money is not “lost.” Instead, you’ve transformed it into a less liquid asset. This is what it means to invest in a home. Your money hasn’t actually gone anywhere. It’s in the very building you’re now standing in and will continue to grow as you build equity. But if you’re really concerned about your bank account being lighter, then set a savings goal to build it back up again. This might mean putting off some home upgrades and new appliance purchases for another time. But if having a large financial buffer is important to you, you should waste no time working towards it.
Final ThoughtsFinal Thoughts
For most people, buying their first home will be one of the most significant milestones in their lives. Even those on their second or third home purchase will still feel that same rush they did the first time. But as with anything involving high emotions, there will be a come-down period when you wonder whether you made the right decision? Try to expect a bit of buyer’s remorse, no matter how good you feel about the purchase beforehand. It may help forestall its impact if it does hit.
Ideally, it would be best to prevent post-purchase blues by conducting proper due diligence before the purchase is complete. Get a full home inspection is done, and call in other experts if you suspect something. Next, take plenty of time to choose the right lender and loan program for your needs. Finally, do a careful analysis of your own financial position to ensure you’re ready for homeownership. You might miss a few things but don’t let that get you down. The important thing is that you now work towards building up what you have and making your home investment work for you.