Buying a new home is one of the largest purchases most of us ever make, and with a mortgage, it’s also a commitment you’ll keep paying for 15, 20, even 30 years. Once the excitement of your purchase wears, however, that commitment can start to weigh on you, giving buyers remorse the perfect opportunity to wreak havoc on your conscience.
If you’re feeling anxious after buying a new place, you’re not alone — according to a study by Bank of the West, 68% of millennials regret buying their home. While 44% said they had issues with the actual house itself, 41% admitted to feeling anxious about their finances, worrying that they may have purchased more home than they could reasonably afford.
But all is not lost. These tips can help you get over the feeling and get on with enjoying your exciting new life as a homeowner.
6 ways to manage buyers remorse
1 – Take a breath
The homebuying process can be a whirlwind. Between rushing to open houses, negotiating with the sellers and stressing over whether you’ll close the deal, it’s easy to feel drained at the end of it all, which could put you in a negative mindset.
If you’re feeling unhappy with the purchase after the fact, don’t make any decisions until you’ve had time to relax. Go for long walks, talk over your concerns with friends and family or treat yourself to a short weekend getaway. If you moved to a new city, look for free activities or events that can help you connect with the neighborhood. This can help put things in perspective and let you see whether you truly miscalculated or if you just needed time to calm down.
2 – Keep refinancing in mind
The costs of homeownership can sneak up on you, especially if it’s your first time. Between the mortgage, property taxes, insurance and utilities, it all adds up quickly and can really weigh you down. If the current monthly payment is squeezing your budget, remember that you can always refinance your home loan in the future.
Refinancing replaces your existing home loan with a new one and has the potential to cut your mortgage interest rate by up to 0.50%. To increase your chances of getting the best deal on a refinance, consider working to improve your credit score or starting the process after market interest rates have fallen.
If you’re also paying for private mortgage insurance, focus on paying the mortgage down to 80% of the home’s original appraised value so you’re no longer required to pay for added protection.
3 – Don’t feel pressured to fix everything at once
Any home is going to need some renovations, especially if you bought a fixer-upper. Whether it’s replacing the furnace, fixing a deck or installing new countertops, seeing all the necessary work can make it seem like you’ll never get there. But you will.
A home is a long-term commitment, so tackle these projects one at a time. Consider making a list of the order you’ll work through all the repairs and when you expect to finish each one. That way, you can start visualizing the progress from fixer-upper to dream home.
And remember, putting your personal touches on your new place should be fun.
4 – But start decorating right away
Repairs take time, but you can start decorating immediately. Until you’ve put your own spin on your living space, it’s easy to feel like a guest in your own home. But some quick improvements can immediately help you build an emotional connection to the house. It doesn’t have to be expensive, either. Start by hanging up your family photos, tackling an easy paint job or rearranging the furniture. For more ideas, check out this list of quick ways to make your house feel like home.
5 – Avoid comparison shopping after the fact
If you’re still in the habit of checking new housing listings, it’s time to step away. Those ads are designed to make every property look perfect, and monitoring them can easily make you start to second-guess your purchase.
The truth is, most of those houses will have the same issues you’re dealing with now, whether it’s a room that’s not the right color or a lawn that has been neglected. Instead of wasting time thinking about what might have been, revisit your list of “must-haves” in a home and remind yourself that you just bought a house that checks most, if not all, of those boxes.
6 – Remember that nothing is permanent
Buying a home can feel like you’ve signed up for a lifelong commitment. But just because you’ve agreed to a long-term mortgage doesn’t necessarily mean you’re sticking around to the end. You might have to move to a new city for work, or you could flip the house quickly for a profit or you may get a pay raise which lets you afford something even better in the near future.
Just remind yourself that you’re not locked in can help you put your buyers remorse in perspective.
In the end, there’s no such thing as a 100% perfect property — you’ll always be able to find problems with your decision. But by taking a breath, making efforts to transform the house into a home and keeping things in perspective, you can help yourself feel more confident about your purchase. And in the meantime, congrats on your new home!