So, you're on the lookout for your next home. What could possibly go wrong? Well…erm… quite a lot actually, and if you're not careful within your property search, you might well end up with a home that you aren't particularly happy with. Hence the term ‘home buyer's remorse,' the post-decision stress that comes from wasting your money on something you wish you hadn't. Yikes! This isn't a position anybody wants to be in, so before you sign any contracts with a home seller, it's best to take steps to avoid the grief that will surely follow if you buy the wrong property for you.
Here's how you can avoid home buyer's remorse.
#1: Seek advice from a real estate professional
Sure, you could commit to a property search alone, but if you don't know one end of the property market from another, then you may well end up making a costly mistake. You might pay too much for a property, for example, or you might buy the wrong property for your needs. Our advice: use a real estate agent or broker. Not only do they use systems such as Flexmls to detail the best properties for sale, but they also know when house prices are likely to rise or fall. They will discuss your needs with you, support you with your search, advise you on the best time of year to buy, and more. Of course, you will need to work with a trusted real-estate professional to gain the best advice, so do your research online and speak to any friends and family for their recommendations.
#2: Hire a property inspector
Especially when it comes to cheaper properties, you do need to be mindful. Some houses will cost less than others, and while location will be one factor (see below), the state of the property is another. If it's in a state of disrepair and requires more home improvements than you're willing to pay for, then you should continue your search elsewhere. We are thinking about properties with signs of structural damage, excessive mold and damp, and faulty fixtures. While you will spot some of these problems yourself – you will know you're in trouble when you lose your balance when walking on a supposedly even floor – you might also want to hire a property inspector. This professional will let you know how much damage any repair jobs will do to your pocket, and will advise you on any hidden problems that you weren't able to spot yourself. Home buyer's remorse will be the consequence when you realize you have wasted your hard-earned cash on a money pit, so consider the expense of a property inspector a necessary one.
#3: Investigate the neighborhood
Here's another reason why the property might be going for a bargain price! If the location is in any way undesirable for buyers or renters, then the seller might be keen to get rid of the house as soon as possible. It might be located in the middle of a crime zone, for example, or there may be pressing issues with nearby neighbors. Therefore, you need to don your Sherlock Holmes hat and investigate. Walk around the locale and look for signs of crime. These won't be as blatant as ‘Wanted' signs pinned to lampposts, so look for evidence of vandalism and property damage in the area. Visit at different times of day to get a better impression too. The area might be quiet in the daytime, for example, but at night you might notice a difference, especially once the next door neighbors are home, or if gangs of youths patrol the area.
Of course, there are other things to look out for, other than signs of an undesirable neighborhood. There may be issues that are personal to you. For example, there might be limited commuting options to your workplace, or there might be a lack of amenities that suit your tastes. Do your research then, because you don't want to buy a property, only to then discover you have the neighbors from hell, and there is no viable bus route to your place of work!
#4: Don't go over your budget
This could happen if you fall in love with a property. It might have everything you have ever dreamed of, from a luxury bathroom to an indoor swimming pool, but if you borrow way money more than you should to help you afford the dream property, you might well end up scuppering your chances of financial freedom forever. Of course, any bank manager in their right mind wouldn't let you borrow more than you should anyway, so he or she may be able to curb your temptation to buy. But still, work out your finances ahead of time, use a mortgage calculator to help you work out what you can reasonably afford, and then narrow down your house search to those properties that you are actually able to afford. Remember to factor in all those other house expenses too, such as utility bills and insurance costs, to ensure you don't run the risk of further financial trouble.
#5: Think about your long-term future
Assuming you are buying a property for long-term use, you need to factor in any future changes in your life. If you're planning on having children, for example, you want to make sure the house is both big enough and in the right location to bring up your little ones. And if you're planning on a change of job, you want to make sure the location has plentiful opportunities for your career. These are just a couple of examples but think about any major life changes that could determine the property you buy. You don't want to end up in a house that eventually becomes unfit for purpose, so think ahead to save yourself the stress of another house move down the line.
Moving house is stressful enough without the realization that you have made a big mistake after moving in. Follow our suggestions then, and hopefully, the house you buy will bring you happiness, and not years of terrible misery!