Oh no, what have I done?
It’s hard to relax when you realize that you’ve just made one of the biggest purchases in your lifetime.
Maybe you bought your home when the market was hot or your friend pressured you into house hunting because they thought you were throwing away your money by renting. The shock of having a huge new responsibility added to your plate can uproot the positive feelings you once had about the home.
Fortunately, you’re not alone in feeling some regret or anxiety after you receive your new house keys. In this article, you’ll discover ways to take healthy actions that can combat your newfound stress and help you start homeownership off right. You might even love your house more once you’ve had a chance for the shock to wear off.
What Is Buyer’s Remorse?
About half of all homebuyers experience buyer’s remorse at some point, a feeling of trepidation when they think about their new digs. Maybe you regret the location of the home or the mortgage payment seems daunting. It’s easy to ask “What if?” questions but that’s not very productive—instead, tackle your insecurities or fears one by one.
How to Cope With Buyer’s Remorse
Review Your Wants and Needs List
Pull out the list you created when you browsed for homes, and remind yourself why you picked this particular one. Place checkmarks by each feature your home has that is on the original list. If there’s a feature you want and can either save up for or achieve in the future, write it down.
Pro Tip: Write down your remaining wants on your “to do someday” list electronically or on paper, in a place you’ll check often.
Go for Small Wins
Sometimes it’s best to use your energy knocking out small projects on the weekend that will take three hours or less. Think: mowing the lawn, weeding the garden, adding personal touches to your front porch. Starting small will help you find the motivation to tackle larger projects and reinforce the pride that comes with owning a property.
Pro Tip: You can rent tools from home improvement stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s for the weekend or by the hour before you invest in a hefty purchase.
Sort Out Your Projects
Reduce stress by making a list of the projects you want to complete and separate them between the ones you can do yourself and the ones you want a professional to do. Prioritize projects that will add to your quality of life or that address serious safety or structural concerns. Remember to pace yourself and set realistic expectations. If the project needs to sit on the back burner for a while, that’s fine!
Pro Tip: If your new neighbor is handy, he or she might be willing to help you out with a project.
Try to brush off comments from people in your inner circle who are negative about the home you bought. Keep in mind that friends and family might want to offer unsolicited advice and that while they might mean well, they won’t fully understand the market you faced or the experiences you had. Focus on positive people who are genuinely happy about your new adventure.
Pro Tip: Remember to go with your gut and recognize all the hard work you’ve done to get to this point.
Get Away From It All
If you can, take a weekend trip and don’t think about the house at all! Spend time taking care of yourself and come back with a fresh perspective. You might generate some new ideas for managing your home when you’ve had a chance to breathe.
Pro Tip: Indulge with a favorite meal or treat yourself to the spa.
Unpack your personal belongings and organize your home. Chances are you’ll start feeling comfortable. Another plus of unpacking boxes is that you can find things you’ll need immediately and decide what exactly you need to buy to personalize to your taste.
Pro Tip: Set a timer for 20 minutes and see how much unpacking you can do. No, really!
Plan Ahead for Big Purchases
Feel like your cash reserves are spread thin? Save expensive purchases for later, like a new sofa or dining room table, if you’re feeling a little financially insecure. Better yet, search for the best times of the year to buy big-ticket items or home goods, such as the end of winter, Memorial Day, Labor Day, or Black Friday.
Pro Tip: Do your research ahead of time to understand what truly constitutes a good deal—look beyond the red sale signs and comparison-shop online.
Decorate in Small Ways
You don’t have to go full-blown Martha Stewart right away. Buy a planter, wreath, or other decoration that makes the place more vibrant. Better yet, if you’re crafty, you can save some money and make decorations yourself!
Pro Tip: Buy storage bins for your decorations and label them for each month of the year.
Address Any Major Concerns
If your home has serious flaws uncovered by a home inspection or the home doesn’t appraise, you can back out of the purchase if your contract allows. Speak with your agent or attorney who can help you will know the next steps to take.
Pro Tip: Seek a second opinion if you have questions about your contract.
The Bottom Line
Hopefully, your buyer’s remorse will melt away gradually and you’ll be able to move forward with your home goals. Make sure to have patience with yourself and spend time personalizing your space. Utilizing the top tips and tricks for dealing with buyer’s remorse can help you stay motivated and learn new skills, too.