Buyer’s remorse

Nearly all buyers feel some remorse about their purchase just before or just after buying.

It can creep up on you. You begin to question the decision:

Did we pay too much? Can we manage the mortgage? Will the market finally crash now that we have bought? The best thing you can do is to recognise that buyer’s remorse is a common phenomenon. Understanding why it occurs helps you prepare for it ahead of time and work through it quickly if it occurs.

Some scenarios that can herald a bout of remorse are:

Conversations with family and friends

Well-meaning people may inadvertently tip you into a state of anxiety if you listen to their unqualified advice on ‘paying too much’ or other elements of property transactions that have little relevance to your situation. Experienced and successful advisors and your own informed judgment should have helped you make the right decision by this time.

Real estate agents who fail to guide you

Questions and doubts can easily occur when agents aren’t around to guide buyers, particularly if this is their first real estate transaction. Buyers can panic if they don’t know what will happen next in the buying process. Panic can lead to doubt then buyer’s remorse.

Continuing to look at houses

Don’t do it. Unless you are about to close the deal but believe the contract may fall apart, there is no sense in making life harder by falling in love with another property.

Creeping doubts

Dwelling on the negatives when you have made or are about to make one of the biggest decisions regarding your financial future would most certainly cloud your judgment. It is best to return to your list of buying criteria and re-check the positive aspects of your decision.

If buyer’s remorse strikes you, don’t act immediately. Psychologists say we buy emotionally and justify logically. Buyer’s remorse is your mind at work looking to logically justify a purchase. If you continue to ignore these questions, they will simply keep coming back. Don’t make rash decisions if you are experiencing buyer’s remorse — the desire to rescind or go ahead may be replaced with the opposite reaction after you have given yourself time to work it out.

Write your concerns down on paper and sleep on it. If those concerns won’t go away in a couple of days’ time, then take action. In most cases, your concerns are normal buyer’s remorse and the awkward questions and feelings will pass.

Economists who are devoid of emotion when assessing markets cannot price in the emotional attachment of a family home to a buyer. This is why they have been incorrectly predicting that house prices will crash for the last decade.

Remember, the residential real estate market has a strong emotional and financially illogical streak running through it. This is what makes it so unpredictable at times. If you can manage your own emotions and seek cool-headed advisors, you stand an excellent chance of winning.


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