When you buy or sell your house or an investment property, there is an unexpected surprise that is thrown in for free.
It’s called buyer’s or seller’s remorse.
Call it a lingering feeling, but it can throw shadows of self-doubt which drag down the overwhelming relief and excitement of making a brilliant purchase or sale.
Familiar with it?
Rest assured you’re not on your own.
Let’s first take the experience of the buyer
I’m not sure about you, but if you’re anything like me just after you buy something, whether it is a new pair of shoes or in particular if it is something more expensive, like a car or a house, you will ( for a moment) regret the decision or at least question it, wondering whether you could have spent the money on something wiser.
When it comes to a really big purchase such as your home, that perfect piece of real estate that you have been searching for and was so hard to find, it’s very likely you will have second thoughts.
And it’s much the same with buying an investment property.
You see…buying a property is an emotionally-charged process.
During the initial search process, many buyers may go from feeling excited to frustrated when they realise the constraints of their budget.
Then you find what you think is the perfect property and miss out on it for one reason or another. Maybe someone bids more at the auction than you, or the vendor just won’t drop their price enough.
This may result in a feeling of disappointment and loss.
When when you eventually sign a contract you feel a sense of relief and euphoria.
Considering all of the emotions that have gone into getting there and then all the new things that are going to happen now that you have bought your home or investment, it’s perfectly normal for buyer’s remorse to set in.
You may worry about things like:
- Have you made the wrong choice?
- Have you paid too much?
- Have you bought at the wrong time of the cycle?
- Is there a better property around the corner?
- Have you taken on too much debt?
You may be concerned about the mortgage and start to think, ‘What if interest rates go up?’ or ‘What if the bottom falls out of the property market?’
‘What if I lose my job and can’t pay the mortgage?’, or ‘What if a better home comes up for sale around the corner now that I’ve spent my money on this one?’
Obviously you want the best home for you and your family, and you want to make sure you have made the right decision. Or you’re after a top performing investment property.
Even though you have visited hundreds of homes, buyer’s remorse is a healthy reaction. In fact it’s is a normal reaction.
In time you will realise that your new property was a good buy.
That mortgage payments will go through smoothly.
That property prices will increase and most importantly, you will enjoy living there.
But in the meantime you are likely to do some of the following:
1. Read the ads in the real estate section of the paper even more carefully than you did before and keep searching the internet just to make sure there isn’t a better property around.
2. Drive past houses with ‘for sale’ signs and check them out carefully to make sure that you haven’t missed anything.
3. Discuss your purchase with your family, friends, and business colleagues and ask anyone and everyone if you have paid too much.
To start falling in love with your property again and leave the doubt behind, just think back to all the research you did and remember that no property has one exact or correct ‘market value’.
There is a range of prices for any property and every property has pros and cons – good things about it and things that may not make it your perfect home.
Take heart in the fact that property markets in Australia have always increased in value in the long term, and that well-located properties double in value every seven to 10 years.
Remember, it’s better to have made a decision and stake your claim in the property market than to have held back because of your fears and not moved ahead to become a home-owner.
Look forward to all the good times you and your family will share in your new home, or the great returns you’ll get from your new investment.
Sure the uncertainty of all these new things is scary, but think of all the good times ahead and it will get you through.
Beware the pre-settlement inspection.
And just when you think you’ve got this buyers remorse thing licked, you get a whammy you didn’t expect.
You conduct the pre-settlement inspection a few days before you take possession and the place doesn’t look as good as you remember.
Fact is many properties have been scrubbed clean, landscaped and styled within an inch of its life just prior to sale.
Then when you get to see the property empty and with a slightly overgrown yard for example, the gloss of the marketing campaign is gone and you’re faced with a little bit of reality.
That’s O.K. – remember no one really lives in a house the way it’s presented for sale.
Now for the flipside: the remorse of the seller
You might find that you experience the same anxiety as buyer’s remorse, but in reverse.
You’ll start to think that you sold your home for way less than what it’s really worth, that the property market is about to boom and that you shouldn’t have sold so soon.
For obvious reasons, this is particularly likely to occur if your home sold relatively easily and quickly …
‘Should I have held out for a better deal?’ … ‘Would I have got a better price if I just waited a little longer?’
Frankly, it’s likely you’ll still suffer from seller’s remorse even if your home achieved an all-time high sales price for the neighbourhood.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone … the buyer probably has buyer’s remorse!
And if you’re selling your home and buying a new one at the same time, you could be in for a double-whammy: simultaneously feeling seller’s remorse and buyer’s remorse (you’ve sold your property for way too little, bought your new home for way too much and been taken from both sides).
You’ll find yourself discussing your fears with your friends, you’ll read the real estate ads in a bid to allay the fear that you made the wrong decision and you’ll spend your weekends looking at open for inspections.
It’s important to understand that these are normal feelings that almost everyone experiences and the best way to confront these fears is with knowledge.
If you’ve done your homework, looked at comparable sales prices, marketed your home properly, had as many potential buyers through as possible and accepted the best offer, then take it for what it is – the best offer at the time and, in the long run, it really won’t matter all that much.
So don’t keep looking online to see what other properties have sold for.
Don’t ask your friends whether they think you’ve got a good deal.
Rather, accept the fact that no property has one correct selling price – its fair market price is a range, not an exact number.
If you look hard enough and long enough you will always a find property that has sold for more, and you may come across a buyer who would have paid that little bit extra, but you’re also likely to find many houses that have sold for less and many buyers who would not be prepared to pay the price your home achieved.
Instead of focusing on what might have been, turn your attention to what lies ahead – look forward to moving into your nice new home and enjoying living there.
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