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Buying a house often comes with an entire array of different emotions, most of them are usually of excitement. However, some buyers can be hit with the unexpected feelings of buyer’s remorse, which can be quite straining on someone's mental health and financial stability. 

In 2021, over 19,000 UK homeowners said they regretted buying their property, with almost half saying they regretted the purchase due to unforeseen problems with their homes. Luckily, there are ways to combat buyer’s remorse, and there are avenues available for help if you need it. 

In this article we will be covering what buyer’s remorse is and how you can avoid and deal with it.

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What is buyer’s remorse?

Buyer’s remorse is when someone experiences regret, anxiety, depression or guilt after they make a significant purchase or investment, like a car or house. The feelings associated with buyer’s remorse are usually a result from a feeling of financial insecurity and can cause friction between relationships.

Home buyers remorse doesn’t always come when a property has been bought, it also comes before you make a purchase, which can mean that potential buyers with buyer’s remorse pull out of a sale. If you are feeling home buyers remorse before you have exchanged contracts, it's essential that you have completed as much due diligence on a property as possible. 

What is the fear of buyers' remorse?

The fear of buyer’s remorse is the fear or anxiety of having buyer’s remorse, which can create negative emotions like anxiety. People who have fear of buyer’s remorse are far more likely to pull out of a house sale than people who are not. 

Property sales are a massive investment and the amount of funds needed to purchase a property outright or with a mortgage is substantial. 

How long does buyer's remorse last?

After the initial excitement of buying a house, buyer’s remorse tends to set in. The guilt associated with such a large purchase can last years after you have bought a property, and will vary depending on your mental health.

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Why do I regret buying a house?

It’s completely normal to feel some form of regret when spending significant amounts of money on anything, especially a house. Regret from buying a house often comes in two different forms; based on the outcome of a purchase, and based on the process of the purchase. 

Some people face regret from buying a house when their situation changes after the initial purchase, for example when someone faces redundancy after buying a property and is unable to keep up with their mortgage payments. 

Alternatively, other people face buyer’s remorse during the property purchase, usually due to over consideration or under consideration of the investment. For example, if they put an offer for the property over their agreed budget, then they could face buyer’s remorse and cancel or pull out of the process.

What is the most common cause of buyer’s remorse?

The most common cause of buyer’s remorse is the realisation that you overspent on the property and will be recovering from the financial loss for years to come. Spending over your predetermined budget can create a sense of regret for anyone, no matter the size of investment. 

Other causes of buyer’s remorse include:
  • The realisation that you have invested in a home that you like but don’t love, and that your dream home may be elsewhere.

  • The concern that you have a lot of things going on in your life and you don’t want to have to think about a house and mortgage payments as well.

  • The sense of being trapped, especially if you got a joint mortgage with your partner and don’t see the relationship lasting. 

  • If you purchased a property with concerns over structural issues, you may face buyer’s remorse when the property needs to be repaired causing you financial loss.

What properties cause the most buyer’s remorse?

The most common type of property to cause buyer’s remorse are older mid-century or post world war properties. This is mainly because they tend to have hidden structural issues, which can become costly to repair for new homeowners. 

Secondly, many homeowners regret buying bungalows as they don’t offer the room for a growing family and don’t usually have space for home extensions.

How do you avoid buyer’s remorse?

If you are looking to avoid buyer’s remorse, there are a few things you should consider before purchasing a property, these include:

Seek expert advice

We would recommend that you speak to estate agents, financial advisors, mortgage brokers and get independent house surveys in order to get the best possible overview of your potential property. Seeking advice from these property experts will also help you ensure you spend the right amount of money on a property in accordance with your own financial limits.

Create a property checklist

Before you commit to buying a property, you should ensure that the property meets your expectations, here are some questions you should ask yourself:

  • How many bedrooms and bathrooms does it have?

  • Does the property have good accessibility? Is the property suitable for any health conditions you have?

  • Does it have the potential to be child proofed?

  • Does the age of the property concern you?

  • Does it have enough outdoor space to accommodate children, gardening or space to unwind?

  • Does it have the potential to extend or add value to?

  • Does the location of the property allow you to commute to work, schools or shops?

  • What is the local crime rate of the area?

Take your time

When you start looking at properties on the open market, you should take your time and allow yourself to evaluate potential properties. There is no point rushing into a transaction or contract if it’s going to cause you stress later down the road - only purchase when you are ready too.

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How do you deal with buyers' regret?

If you feel like you have buyer’s remorse, the first thing you should do is open up and communicate with a loved one, financial advisor or therapist, who doesn't have a stake in the property ownership. Feeling trapped due to financial insecurity is not something anyone should do alone. 

Create a SWOT analysis

If you currently have buyer’s remorse, you may benefit from creating a SWOT analysis on the property you have bought. This is where you write down the Strengths (pros), Weaknesses (cons), opportunities and threats to owning the property and how you can overcome any of the downfalls. 

Using a SWOT analysis allows you to get a wider perspective on owning the property and acts as an actionable plan. The analysis can also help switch perspectives on the negative aspects of the property, and turn them to positives. 

From the SWOT analysis, it could come to your attention that the property has potential for a single storey extension in order to add more value to the property. 

Alternatively, you may realise that the property’s value is less than comparable properties in the neighbourhood, in which case, there may be potential for a property renovation to increase the value. 

Even if this property isn’t your forever home, you should always consider getting planning permission, as this could make the property more attractive to potential buyers in the future. 

Sell and move on

If you have buyer’s remorse and after your SWOT analysis, you realise that there are more weaknesses and threats than strengths and opportunities. It may be worth cutting your losses short and selling.

We are a leading UK cash buyer and can help you sell your house in as little as seven days. Our sell house fast service can help you move on with your life after feeling buyer’s remorse, and move towards finding your dream property. 

Throughout the selling process, you won’t be faced with any more financial strain as we cover all the fees associated with selling your house including all legal fees.

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Tom Condon

Tom Condon, one of our content writers, has fascinating expertise in sustainability in the property industry. Tom thoroughly understands the market and has experience in both residential and commercial property. He enjoys attending conferences and staying current with the most recent property trends.