How to Shop Smarter and Avoid Buyer's Remorse

How to Shop Smarter and Avoid Buyer's Remorse

Since the onset of COVID-19, and the subsequent shelter-in-place ordinances, spending has generally decreased for Americans. Consumer preference shifts for essentials and reflecting on our values are shaping how we think about spending our time and money moving forward. Consumer marketing experts are predicting that these preferential shifts will not change post-COVID, but will persist long after life goes back ‘to normal’.

We all experience buyer’s remorse in some form or another at some point. Whether it’s as small as splurging on a fancy coffee shop drink or buying a motorcycle! Purchasing a home is a big decision, quarantine or not, and you want to go into the process feeling confident and clear headed. It’s normal to have questions and even feel some doubts throughout the process, but after you’ve signed the papers and received the keys to your new home, you want to feel excitement, not dread!

If you’re trying to be more intentional about your purchases lately (a good practice to get into anyway!), consider these strategies to help avoid buyer’s remorse in homebuying.

1. Take Your Time

Bigger decisions need a bigger timeline. Before you start seriously looking for homes, make a list of home features and amenities that you want and those that you need. What’s important to you in a new home? What features can’t you live without? What features are more dream home status? Keep this list accessible - on a note in your phone or written out in your wallet to reference during your search or if you feel you’re getting carried away. Don’t let fancy details or that one amenity overshadow the fact that a home might not exactly fit your needs. Pay attention, take a pause, and listen to yourself!

If you land on a home you really like, stop and ask yourself, “Does this home include the most important things on my ‘need’ list? Why does it stand out from other homes I’m looking at? Are there several houses that fit my criteria? What makes this one special?

If you’re thinking about purchases outside of homebuying, try the 24-hour rule. When online shopping, put the desired item in your shopping cart…and leave it there. If you still have the urge to click the ‘buy now’ button the next day, consider making the purchase (keeping your budget in mind). We all deserve a little indulgence now and again, especially during this tough time, but when making any purchase, try and think about why you want to buy it. What need does it satisfy? Will it be a timeless purchase? Or is it a passing trend?

2. Listen to Yourself!

You know the feeling - when you’re really excited about something you just did or bought, but when you share it with your friends and family, there’s one naysayer that causes doubt to creep in. While getting external advice can be helpful, it’s important not to get too hung up on what other people have to say. Listen to yourself! Remember why you chose your new home and revert back to your wants and needs list if necessary. Also keep in mind that other people’s opinions about homes are shaped by their own preferences that may be different from yours!

Where is the advice coming from? Does your friend with input know the market or just recently buy a home? Are they a housing professional themselves? Most people mean well when they offer up advice, but consider their unique experience, situation, and motivation.

3. Stop The Search

This one can be hard. Getting those notification emails about new listings and scrolling Zillow can definitely get addicting. The dream phase and search is such a fun part of the homebuying process, and there will always be amazing homes out there. But just remember that you found ‘the one’ that works for you right now and revel in the excitement that you’ve purchased a home! Don’t look at other properties and think, “what if?”, that will only fuel buyer’s remorse and sour what should be a really positive and exciting time.

Tip: Unsubscribe from any email alerts and delete home search apps from your phone to avoid temptation as soon as your offer is accepted. You’ll thank yourself later and you’ll be able to completely enjoy and celebrate your new home!

You should always listen to your gut throughout the homebuying process. Of course there may be situations where you might want to consider cancelling your contract:

  • Problems with your prospective home’s title history
  • A home inspection that reveals serious issues
  • If a seller won’t take care of requested repairs or offer repair credits
  • Home appraisal differs from your offer price
  • Financing falls through

If you do have concerns or questions about a home that you’re interested in or have put an offer on, talk to your Loan Officer or Realtor. They’re there for you throughout this process!