Avoiding Buyer's Remorse--Is That Possible?

Sometimes no matter how much research is done in advance, buyers may still suffer the pangs of remorse after a purchase, and buying a home is no different.  There are seemingly endless disclosures made in a California real estate transaction for buying a residence, but with so much going on after escrow is opened, a buyer should have "eyes open" as much as possible during the home search period.  Searching for homes on the internet, which is performed by almost all buyers in the initial stages, is one part of the home search. 

But in order to avoid the awful feeling that something is wrong after you've closed escrow, try to focus on what are the most important things to you from the very beginning.  For many people, having the right neighborhood, schools, as well as the features of the home itself, are key to their happiness.

Feelings of happiness/regret vary by age, region, demographics and income level.  According to a 2014 study of 2000 adults by Redfin (a large brokerage), if you lived in the West, were over 65,  male, and had an income over $100,000, you were more likely to have less buyer remorse.  For example, 85% of people over 65 said they would buy their home again.  Women with children under the age of 18 (27%) were more likely to express regret. 

How to avoid feeling regret?  Know your local market, i.e., shopping, schools, neighbors and neighborhood, commuting time, as well as loan types and interest rates, buyer competition (or months of inventory) and local list-to-sell percentages.  These are all basic factors about buying a home.  Determine your top priorities - and I do like to remind people that priorities can change as they become familiar with their actual buyer environment.  Knowing the neighborhood may mean knocking on doors to see the people to ask their opinions--a Realtor can go with you for introductions, but your Realtor cannot tell you information that you need to discover personally, if this is important to you. Taking time to order and review property reports, and review transaction documents are essential to homeowner happiness.

There will probably not be a perfect home, but the list of dissatisfactory items will be much shorter the more conscious the buyer is, and the more thought put into, about the home choice.  Not only does this extra work reduce later buyer remorse, but it reduces anxiety.  Prior education, in my opinion, reduces unrealistic expectations and produces more long-term satisfaction.  Going over the buyer/seller contract may seem very dry in the beginning before the home search, but there may be much later reward in owner satisfaction! Taking the time to discuss your opinions of homes you've viewed with the Realtor helps your agent help you.  Realtors know what size bathrooms and closets you can probably expect with a certain age of house, in a given area--most Cerritos homes are more contemporary in style than the majority of Long Beach neighborhoods which date from earlier eras.  This kind of discussion can help you judge if you should change a priority or not. 

Buying a home is a significant purchase, it should be accompanied by a corresponding understanding.

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