The Latin word incido means ‘to cut’ and is the base of the words incision, excision, and decision. Incision means to cut into something, excision means to cut something out and decision means to cut off something.
Every time you make a decision you are cutting off possible options, which is why people struggle with making decisions.
The way to get over this struggle is to be super clear on your purpose. Understanding that saying no to everything else isn’t a negative thing; it’s how you choose your purpose powerfully and avoid buyer's remorse. Here are a few tips to help you buy your next place without remorse.
Set your expectations
Realize going into the process that there is no perfect home. If you can get 80-90% of what you are looking for in a home, consider that a good match.
Get your finances in order
Understand the costs of homeownership. in many cases, it might be cheaper than renting in the short term and in the long term, it is almost always better. You should be aware of what it will cost to purchase a home, including closing costs (3% of sales price is a rough estimate) and items paid outside closing (POC) like a home inspection. Know what your monthly payment is going to be and don't forget taxes, condo fees, and insurance.
Get clear on your priorities
Make a list of your wants and needs in a place. Understand there will always be tradeoffs to be made, especially around price, location, size, condition, and amenities.
I find that taking buyers out for the first time to look at properties is a real eye opener. I always like to ask them questions to start prioritizing things. How does this unit compare to the last one? Is the light adequate in this place? Can you live without a balcony/terrace/patio? How much do you think you would use the pool?
Once I get a sense of what is important to them, I will show them previously sold listings that might be a fit for them. If something stands out, I will dig a little deeper with questions as to why. Other agents might feel it is a waste of time to look at condos [online] that have already sold because, well, they are already sold. However, my clients find it helpful because it expands their range of options and lessens their chance of buyers remorse. I never hear my clients say ‘If I knew about that place, I wouldn’t have bought my place’ because they know about other places and what their options are.
Don’t box yourself in to a corner
The surest way to have buyer’s remorse is to put yourself under pressure and buy because you have to move. If you are buying and selling, protect yourself on both ends. See my previous posts on Buying & Selling Part 1 and Part 2.
If you are renting, consider going month to month when you can to give yourself more flexibility. Know what the penalties are for breaking your lease - they might not be as much as you think. Talk to the landlord or manager about your plans. They might be willing to let you go sooner if they know they can raise the rent or maybe they have plans to sell and were waiting on you to move first.
Talk to the neighbors
Talking to current residents in the building is an excellent way to get the inside scoop on a place. Because of fair housing restrictions, Realtors can’t say much about safety and schools, but there is no reason you can’t ask a neighbor.
Here are a few questions to start with:
- Do you own or rent here?
- What is the condo association like?
- Is there crime in the area?
- Is there construction in the neighborhood or do you know of any coming?
- Are there any reasons you wouldn’t live in this building?
Lastly, realize there will always be more places coming on the market that look attractive, but you can say that about most things in life - a better job, better partner, better car, etc. Don’t beat yourself up like that.