Planning Ahead To Avoid Home Buyer Remorse

Earlier this week, my attention was drawn to a report by Trulia that looks at house purchasing decisions that some buyers ultimately regret.

The latest edition of the Trulia Regrets Survey reveals that over one in five Americans believe that a housing purchase mistake made by them in the past is now holding them back from changing their current housing situation.

Perhaps even more surprising is the statistic that 51% of homeowners have some sort of regret concerning their current home.

42% of buyers apparently believe they chose either too small or too large a home. 15% wish they had more information before making a decision and 26% wished they had either done more or less remodeling.

Another revealing stat was that parents of school age children were 50% more likely to have regrets about their neighborhood choice than those who were not parents.

As a seasoned real estate professional, I find these statistics simultaneously intriguing and not a little disappointing.

I'm sure that they at least partially demonstrate that many agents are simply not encouraging their clients to think very deeply about their likely current, short and long term requirements and aspirations for the property they are about to purchase.

That said, while it is absolutely our function to sit down and discuss the needs of buyers, and we always do this at The Nicoli Group, there is an element of planning that has to be down to how seriously the buyer has thought about exactly what's going to be needed from the home.

The key word in that last paragraph is "planning". If you're currently buying, have you sat down and written a detailed plan and/or specification for your desired home?

The benefits of taking yourself through this careful thought process are obvious, in as much as you'll be able to arrive at a set of criteria by which to measure how far any home you view meets your goals and needs.

But perhaps above all it will give you the best chance of not joining the ranks of buyers who are expressing some sort of remorse about the home they currently own.

Of course no plan is bullet proof and is almost invariably changed, if only by a small extent, as life throws a myriad of curve balls at each of us. Nonetheless, the more you can envision the future that lies ahead of you, the better the chances for long term happiness.

Perhaps one of the most obvious areas of careful planning for younger buyers is the possibility of starting a family at some point. As we've already seen from the survey, many buyers don't think they chose the right neighborhood for their children, most probably related to selecting an area without good schools. This typifies how home criteria changes as we mature. While it seemed a great idea to have lots of nightlife and great restaurants within easy distance of the home when you bought the home, does that mean you'll be equally happy with that choice once the kids start school?

Compromise inevitably forms part of any plan, as at some point you'll have to match your wants and wish lists to what you can actually afford. That's why it makes a great deal of sense to get pre-approved for a home loan extremely early in your home search, so that you can have a detailed discussion with your agent about what's feasible at your spending level.

In conclusion, what I really want to emphasize is that you're not alone in this process. Talk to friends and relatives who own homes about what they would consider when buying and then why not contact us for a detailed conversation about avoiding common disappointments by really thinking things through. As always, we'll be delighted to assist you in any way we can.

Dominic Nicoli