Avoiding Home Buyer's Remorse
You have reached a huge life milestone and are ready to begin searching for a new home. This is going to be a time where you will experience many various thoughts and emotions as you go through the home buying process, whether it is your first home or not. People can feel buyer's remorse when purchasing most anything, from a car, to a computer, even dinner out with the family. If you have ever regretted a dinner purchase, you can immagine just how devastating feeling buyer's remorse over a house could be. As a Realtor, nothing is worse than having an unhappy client at the end of the day, and thus here are some helpful tips that will hopefully aid you in feeling nothing but excitement and joy in your new home.
Understand The Home Buying Process
If you have purchased multiple homes in your lifetime, then you will most likely have a good understanding of the home buying process. First time home buyers, however, may have little or no knowledge of what to expect, or even where to start. A good place to start is talking with a Realtor, and ask them to walk you through a home buying scenario. A good buyers agent will be able to give you a good basic understanding of how things normally go, time frames, potential road bumps that can occur, and a list of trusted industry professionals to help, such as inspectors, mortgage lenders, appraisers, termite companies, etc.
Analyze And Understand The Finances Of Buying A Home
Noone should ever enter into a purchase as significant as real estate without a full understanding of the amount of money they will need, and what it is to be used for. Your first step should be consulting with a mortgage lender to discuss your options, and to obtain pre-approval prior to looking at homes. The mortgage lender will be able to assist you in analyzing the cost associated with a home purchase, and will often be able to give you a "closing cost estimate". The closing cost estimate will give you an overview of the cost expected in buying, and an estimate amount of the monthly mortgage payment that can be expected. We all stress over money at some point and time or another. Understanding the facts up front, and not being surprised late in the game is the best way to prepare yourself, and not increase the risk of buyer's remorse.
There is no magic number of houses that a home buyer needs to look at before finding just that perfect home. Some buyers luck out and find the right place the first day out looking. We do suggest that buyers not look at more than 5-6 houses in a day as they can begin to blend together, and it is easy to forget which ones had which features. It is easy to tell when a buyer finds their dream home. There is an emotional change, an elation, and excitement that takes place, and you know this is the place. So be patient, the perfect place is there, and a good agent will communicate with you thoroughly to help narrow down the search to help you find it as quickly as possible. When you are looking at homes, it helps to take good notes, and share your thoughts with your agent to help them in future searches.
Place More Value On Needs Over Wants
The chances of finding a home that meets all of a buyer's wants is very unlikely. It is, on the other hand, very possible that your Realtor will be able to find a home that meets all of your needs. The best way to help your agent search for your new home is to prepare two separate lists for them. Basic items on the needs list will inculde number of bedrooms, baths, desired square footage, garage spaces, style of home, size of yard, pet needs, and handicapped accessable. Items that would appear on a wants list include floor plan (open concept), updated appliances, granite countertops, fenced yard, new windows/roof/ac/heat, etc. Creating these lists will help you to have a better understanding of you and your families needs/wants as you begin your new home search. You will also find that providing the lists to your agent will enable them to filter out unsuitable properties, and identify excellent matches for you to look at. When out looking at homes, consider the needs list first to help in eliminating properties quickly, and narrow down the search to the perfect place.
Location, Location, Location
This is not just a common theme in choosing a place for a new business, it is equally prevalent to new home buyers. Most buyers already have a good idea of what school district or neighborhood they would like to live in. Other things to consider when considering location are proximity to highways and main roads, parks and recreation, shopping, and home owners associations just to name a few. We recommend that clients thoroughly research the area of a home they want to make an offer on, even driving through at night to see what the neighborhood is like in the evenings and weekends. Due diligence always pays off, and helps to avoid surprises.
Don't Go Over Budget
When speaking to a mortgage lender, remember that while you may qualify for a home value of $500K, in reality you may only be able to afford the mortgage payment of a house valued at $300K. Don't forget to allow for additional expenses that are incurred with being a home owner. Some of the expenses to keep in mind are internet, cable, waste removal, gas, electric, water, and property taxes. Set a budget which will include expected expenses, and stick to it to help avoid buyer's remorse.
Ask Your Agent To Explain How The Written Offer Protects You
One of my favorite sayings is "Trust, but Verify". It is your Realtors responsibility to represent your best interest throughout your real estate purchase. Ask them to review the purchase and sale agreement with you to explain in detail how it has been written to protect your interests. There are various contingencies and stipulations in every purchase agreement. Make sure you understand everything before signing.
Do No Be Afraid To Ask Questions
We have all heard the phrase "There are no stupid questions, only stupid answers". Please remember that Realtors understand most people only experience a real estate transaction a handful of times in a lifetime. It is our job to be knowledgable, and to attend continuing education classes to keep on top of our industry. We also love showing off how much we know, so please do not hold back. Ask us every question you have, just be prepared for the occasional long winded answer. Also, if we do not have the answer, we should have the industry contacts to get you the answer you need, and within a reasonable timeframe.
In summary, the home buying process should be a time of excitement, and happiness for a buyer and their family. It is a Realtor's goal to take care of the detail minutiae so the buyer does can focus on what is important, enjoying the process.