Entering the real estate market by buying a house can be a great way to grow your net worth and invest in your future. With the rapid rise of rent costs showing no signs of slowing down, it may be a good idea to purchase a home before the interest rates get even higher.
When jumping into a booming housing market, it’s easy to get caught up in the adrenaline rush of bidding wars. Putting offers in during a tight market makes it easy to max out your budget and end up with a home that you either don’t like or ends up costing you more money than you had imagined. How do you avoid home buyer’s remorse?
1. Don’t skip the house inspection.
In a seller’s market, often home inspections are avoided to beat other offers and speed up the home sale process. However, foregoing an inspection can pave the way for buyer’s regret house woes. In fact, many homeowners who took this step during the pandemic and purchased houses sight unseen are now regretting it.
Sometimes getting a home inspection just isn’t doable—we get it. If this is your situation, or if you live in an area notorious for bidding wars, make sure you have enough money on hand to fix any issues that may be uncovered once you move in.
2. Always view the house in person.
Ten years ago, this concept would seem like a no-brainer: Who is going to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into something they haven’t seen with their own two eyes? Nowadays, modern technology like video chatting and Zoom may make it feel less risky.
While virtual tours are convenient, especially if you’re buying a house out of state, viewing the home through your phone screen really doesn’t cut it. When exploring the house, you’ll want to be able to view the nooks and crannies, use your nose to smell any odors, and try to glimpse things like mildew and dampness.
Plus, you’ll want to experience the feel of the home. Often, you’ll know whether a house is a potential home as soon as you walk in. The last thing you want is to close on a house and have the buyer’s remorse hit you as soon as you cross the threshold.
3. Don’t look at houses that are at the top of your budget.
Perusing real estate apps is a great pastime, even if you’re not in the market for a new home. It’s fun to look at photos of seaside mansions and mountain escapes, dreaming of living in one after hitting the lottery. Once you start looking seriously, you should set filters to avoid seeing something you can’t afford. This may save some heartbreak and help you avoid house buyer’s remorse.
In some real estate markets, houses sell at thousands—even hundreds of thousands—of dollars over the asking price. Looking at houses at the top or over your budget will only accomplish one of two things:
- You’ll either buy a house you’ll grow to resent because it eats all of your paycheck, or
- All the houses in your price range will look small and unattractive in comparison.
You’re much better off setting the filters on the real estate apps at a lower price than your budget and telling your real estate agent that you don’t want to go over a certain amount. It will help ensure you don’t regret buying a house you can’t afford.
4. Write down your dealbreakers.
When house hunting, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. After seeing house after house, you may become impatient and decide to settle on a few things. This is rather common—unless you’re extremely lucky, the perfect home is rare, and you’ll likely have to let go of a few items on your house checklist.
However, if you let too many must-haves go, you may experience buyer’s remorse house anxiety. To avoid this, make a written list of the dealbreakers. Here are some things to consider:
- Work commute
- School district
- Number of bedrooms
- The size of the backyard
- Basements, garages, and attics
- Architectural style
- Feasibility of future remodels
Prioritize the items on your list so that when you are viewing a home, you can reference the list and remember which items are most important.
5. Beware of fixer-uppers.
If you’ve been on the path to homeownership for a while and still haven’t found your dream house, you may be considering a fixer-upper home. Before buying a house that needs remodeling, it’s important to consider a few facts to avoid home buyer’s regret.
- Construction companies are short-handed. Like many businesses after the pandemic, the construction industry has been hit with a major workforce shortage. That means the time it takes to finish a home renovation project may increase.
- Materials are expensive. Building materials are pricey. For example, lumber prices have almost tripled since August 2021. Even though you may have saved money by buying a fixer-upper, building materials may end up costing you more in the long run.
- Many materials are unavailable or on backorder. Due to supply chain issues, some building materials may not get to you for a while, which means you could be waiting for both materials and labor.
Buying a fixer-upper can allow you to transform the property into the house of your dreams. Just be aware of the potential pitfalls before you put in an offer.
6. Keep an eye out for flipped homes.
Are you wondering how to avoid buyer’s remorse as a first-time homebuyer? First, be aware of the signs that a house has been flipped. When looking for real estate, study the selling history. It might be a flip if it was bought a year ago and put back on the market.
Not all flipped homes are bad; however, their quality and craftmanship can vary wildly. The quality of a flipped home depends on the flipper’s skill, techniques, and ethics. If you decide to invest in a flipped home, hire a well-reviewed inspector with a lot of experience, and make sure to take action if they recommend a specialized inspector for a follow-up.
Here are more things to consider when buying a flipped house.
7. Protect yourself with a home warranty.
What is a home warranty? It’s an affordable investment you can make to help you with the costs of repairs on systems and appliances. Unlike homeowner’s insurance, a home warranty helps protect your budget when your home systems and appliances break down due to normal wear and tear. Learn more about the difference between homeowners insurance and a home warranty.
Investing in an American Home Shield® home warranty can protect your budget and help you avoid house buyer’s remorse, especially if you weren’t able to get an inspection. Check out our pricing and plans for more details.
8. Pay attention to your instincts.
When you’re in the homebuying process, always trust your gut. A little bit of stress is expected when making such a large purchase, but if something is nagging at you, don’t be afraid to take a step back and reassess.
In a competitive real estate market, taking too much time to put in an offer can mean losing out on a property. However, rushing into a home that doesn’t feel right isn’t the answer. If you’re in a situation where you’ll be without housing soon, you may have to make sacrifices. But, if you have time and a roof over your head, listen to your instincts and pass on homes that give you a bad feeling, are too pricey, or aren’t filling you with excitement.
Your house should be your sanctuary—not a place filled with home buyer’s remorse.
AHS assumes no responsibility, and specifically disclaims all liability, for your use of any and all information contained herein.