If you’re like me, you suffer buyer’s remorse any time you get a new pair of jeans. So what happens when you plunk down a quarter, half or million dollars for a house? Here are some great “homeopathic” remedies to help you avoid (or reverse) that bitter pill.
1. Before you start, imagine your life after you close the deal & move in. What are you trying to accomplish? What lifestyle are you creating by this move and how does it change your daily life? Write down everything that is good and what is changed, including the financial aspect. Write down your wants, needs, musts and deal makers/breakers. The more detailed you are, the more you will have something to compare your actual house to. Does your dream house a reasonable match to these things?
2. Ask yourself “How does this decision make me feel?” This is a highly emotional process, a decision made with head and heart. Approaching it with only reason or emotion might land you somewhere you don’t want to be. Check in with yourself about how the idea of living in a particular home makes you feel. Now ask yourself how you’ll feel when the mortgage is due or the water heater breaks. (I can feel really good about those jeans until I get my Visa bill.)
3. Don’t get caught up in the worry. If you hated renting and can’t wait to be a homeowner, take care of the details (like turning in your paperwork to your lender, finding homeowners insurance, etc.) and relax into the process. If you have a calm real estate agent*, that should rub off on the whole transaction. It is natural to be nervous and “high-center” as you move from contract to close, so practice gratitude. Stay in the remembrance that you are fortunate enough to own your own place on this earth and say lots of thank yous, it really helps. [*Don’t let my vivacious exterior fool you, I’m very calm under pressure.]
4. Stay grounded in reality. Getting lost in the illusory great deal you could have gotten last year doesn’t help you close the good deal you have today. Remember, home-prices are rising but interest rates are still at historic lows and that’s where your real savings lie.
5. Remember Rule #1: There are no stupid questions in real estate. If something doesn’t look right, feel right or seem right on your contract, with the inspection, or you don’t understand the loan paperwork ASK! Then ask again and keep asking, until you understand or it’s fixed. One thing real estate pros can forget is that it maybe perfectly clear to someone who does this all day long, but not for the one who’s doing it once.
6. If you’re planning to remodel, live there for a few months before you go all HGTV on yourself. Unless you know exactly what’s up and you can’t move in until the reno is done, I suggest habitation prior to rehabilitation.
7. Run your numbers and take responsibility for them. Over-spending on your home is as fashionable as acid wash jeans and a scrunchy. Just because I met George Clooney, doesn’t mean he wants to marry me. The best counsel is to find out the most you qualify for and then buy what your monthly payment says is comfortable.
8. If you still have post-purchase regret, try to resolve it systematically. Make a list of what drives you nuts and what you can change and work to change those things. Go back to the list you made in step one, the gratitude you had in step 3… If that doesn’t help, go buy a great pair of jeans. You never know when Clooney’s coming round the corner.