Unlike store merchandise or a car, you can’t ‘try before you buy’ a home, which makes your decision to buy or not buy even more stressful. So, in this hotly competitive market, avoid home buyer’s remorse by asking yourself these nine questions.
1. Am I trying to own the house or win a competition?
Often, in a competitive situation, you may lose sight of your goal. If you’re forced into a multiple counter-offer situation, take a deep breath. Ask yourself: Is this the home I really want or do I just want to beat out the other buyers?
2. Has the potential purchase price exceeded the list price?
Putting an offer on a home at $425K is one thing. But several counter offers may bring the price up to $500K. This can create a completely different set of circumstances, and the home may no longer be right for you.
3. Have I seen the home more than once?
No matter how much you love the property, if you’ve only seen it once, you could be heading for buyer’s remorse. Going back in the evening or a different time of days provides another perspective. Also, you may see things differently the second time around and discover something you missed the first time.
4. Have I opened every door and seen every inch of the property?
A quick tour provides a basic understanding of the floor plan, condition and size. But to really know a home, walk to the end of the lot and look at the back of the home. Open every closet. Go in the attic, basement, and garage. Look at the neighboring houses, too, and try parking your car in the garage.
5. Have I seen a floor plan (if available)?
An architectural floor plan provides an opportunity to see the home in a different context. It’s possible you’ll pick up on things you might have otherwise missed.
6. Have I gone back through the pictures after seeing the home in person?
Returning to the listing photos after visiting a property is always useful. Seeing the photos, which are snapshots in time, gives you a different perspective and may raise important questions. Was the shade closed in the photo and if so, why? Did you ever look out that window? Does the photo remind you that the bedrooms are small because there are only twin or queen sized beds without any nightstands? These types of questions are a great way to evaluate if a home will work for you.
7. Have I had a private tour?
Visiting a home during open houses isn’t ideal. If you’re serious about a home, go back for a private showing. A lot more is revealed when you have time alone in the property.
8. Have I read the seller’s disclosures (if available)?
If you haven’t seen or heard about any disclosures before making an offer, it could be a red flag. In many markets, disclosure packages are available prior to making an offer. If not, a good listing agent will lay out the major disclosure items verbally. Ask if any disclosures are available and read them thoroughly before making an offer. If you’re too busy to review the disclosures, don’t make an offer. Find out if there are inspection, termite, or other reports, too, and review them.
9. Is this home what I set out to look for?
When buyers are in the throes of a competitive market, it’s easy to settle on a home that “kind of” works or lapse into autopilot mode. You may just be ready to buy and be done with it. A good agent will bring you back to your original plan before you sign a contract.
To help protect you from buyer’s remorse, always have an inspection contingency in your purchase agreement. An inspection contingency should be reserved for something serious about the property you didn’t know before making your offer. However, some agents call it the “cold feet” or “buyer’s remorse” contingency because it allows buyers to exit the agreement should something come up.
Bottom line: Never sign an agreement if you aren’t completely convinced this is the home for you.