When we first purchased our home, I felt one overwhelming feeling: regret.
It’s Normal To Immediately Feel Home Buyer’s Remorse
Commonly, people say that buying a home is the best investment one can make. In other words, home ownership is the “American dream.” However, the stress of taking on and maintaining this great responsibility can weigh heavy on your psyche. If you are buying a home or are a new homeowner and are feeling remorse, it’s actually normal to immediately feel home buyer’s remorse. I hope that by reading our story, you know you are not alone.
Regrets are common, says survey
In this current real estate market, it has been and still is extremely difficult to buy a home. Stories of intense bidding wars and offers of tens of thousands of dollars over asking price make buying a home extremely daunting right now. It is easy to see how one could be stressed out and even remorseful.
According to a recent survey, 64% of millennial buyers and 33% of baby boomer buyers experience regrets of some kind after their home purchase. Regrets range from worries about high interest rates to anxiety about location. No matter where your remorse lies, this anxiety affects more people than you may initially believe.
Although we purchased our home about 3 years ago, the home buying experience was also emotionally (and financially) challenging. As a result, I empathize with buyers in this climate right now. I know that these negative feelings around buying a home can lead to immediate regret.
No turning back
When I shared our story, I briefly mentioned that we only toured the house once in about 5 minutes. Therefore, by the time we got the keys, there were parts of the house that I, quite frankly, couldn’t remember. So, to my dismay, our new purchase was not as appealing as before signing on the dotted line. But, at that point, it was too late. It’s not like I could take it all back and ask for a refund!
Why I experienced home buyer’s regret
During our first walk of what now was our home, I was mortified. The stench of cigarettes permeated from every surface of the house. The house was dark, dingy, and had an ominous feeling. It also smelled of bugs. While visiting every room, I was disgusted to find huge dead bugs here and there.
Immediately, I felt deep feelings of dread and regret. It was me who urged us to purchase this house. It was me who wanted to buy it in the first place. I felt such deep guilt as if I brought on all of this drama. Lastly, there was no way I felt comfortable with hosting a housewarming party. I was ashamed of my decision to buy this property so quickly and, what I thought, haphazardly. In the end, I was left with one question: Did we buy a dud?
Addressing my home buyer’s remorse
No matter what the answer to the question nagging me, I knew that I needed to move past that feeling because the purchase was indeed official. I could continue sitting in remorse, or I could work on getting past focusing on getting past my regret. Over the years, we have worked on addressing the points of contention.
High interest rates
First, we made sure to live very modestly to financially recover from the closing costs. With advice from our bank, we realized that our interest rate was partially why we were stressing. About a year into home ownership, we refinanced in hopes of lowering our interest rate. Thus, I definitely recommend reaching out to your financial institution to explore your options if you are in a similar position. Beware that refinancing does mean paying for closing costs again. But if you think you are staying put for some years, refinancing may pay off.
Because the house was icky, The Honey got to ripping out the carpets on move in day. We couldn’t afford to pay for professional cleaning, so I quickly began disinfecting the house as he demoed. After that, I hired a pest control company that same day as the house would never truly be clean with bugs.
Let’s be brutally honest for a minute.
Once you have lived at least once in your life in a less than ideal situation, a month with your mattress on a concrete floor isn’t the worst thing ever. However, we all have our oh-heck-no deal breaker we refuse to live with. Bugs are mine. I’m genuinely petrified of them. Using the bathroom in the middle of the night became a nightmare of a task. As a result, getting rid of the bugs was my number one priority for the first year of home ownership.
With all of the carpet removed, we could clean the subfloor adequately. So while I was scared of the bugs, I began to change my perspective on the situation. Instead of feeling awful that absolutely no flooring was salvageable, I was thankful we could deep clean to the highest extent and find where the bugs were living! Moreover, we could choose exactly what kind of flooring we wanted.
Finally, after 2 years, it took an act of God to really flip my stance.
Choosing appreciation over remorse
A snowstorm wreaked havoc on Texas, specifically knocking our power out and leaving us in the absolute freezing cold. We were without power for nearly four days. We had pipes burst despite our efforts. My family had to bundle up and hunker down.
Now you may be perplexed after reading that. How could that make you feel more positively about your house?
Well…I felt deep appreciation.
See, while surviving in the freezing cold, buyer’s remorse tends to not cross your mind much. You start brainstorming on how your house can work for you. For example, other houses may or may not have a fireplace. Thankfully, we have one. It kept us warm as we made a wood-burning fire and bundled together. Furthermore, our gas was not disturbed. So even though our original stovetop is over 50 years old, I could cook a family meal to keep us nourished.
During the winter storm outage, I saw so many folks in condos and apartments whose homes were completely flooded. We were grateful that our busted pipes were ours alone and that water wasn’t spraying from the ceiling like at other places. Sadly, I even saw people’s houses burn to the ground in the middle of the snow event. Yet ours was left standing. In short, I saw how our home truly served us and kept us safe. At that moment, I had zero remorse in buying our home.
As the years go by, it’s not that time has healed my initial home buyer’s remorse. Rather, we divert that initial into the projects that we’ve completed to make this house our home on a tiny budget.
You are probably afraid because you just made what could be the largest purchase of your life. Your remorse is simply a sign that you deeply care about your financial and emotional stability. It is normal to immediately feel home buyer’s remorse. At the same time, it is possible to get past that feeling. In the end, did we buy a dud? The truth is, it doesn’t even matter. We have a place that has served us well that we are making work for us.