Congratulations on your decision to buy a home in Richmond! It is a great time to buy, even if the interest rates and prices are higher than where you would like them to be! But whether this is your first home, or you are selling your current home and moving up/down to another home, you may, at some point during the transaction, experience what I would call “Buyer’s Remorse”!
Relax – this is normal for many home buyers in the area! And, yes, there are some ways you can minimize or eliminate Buyer’s Remorse!
USE A REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONAL!
A real estate professional is your first line of defense against future Buyer’s Remorse! The Realtor you choose to help you will be a great asset in helping you know about the area, about the house and can recommend good professionals to help you with your purchase! Use their knowledge about the mortgage market to make sure you are using the best lender for your particular situation!
KNOW WHAT KIND OF MARKET YOU ARE IN!
The term “real estate market” is a pretty broad term! Are you in a buyer’s market? Are you in a seller’s market? And, in the Richmond area, you can be in a “buyer’s market” in one neighborhood, yet be in a “seller’s market” a mile or two away! And if you have been listening to the news lately, you will hear these terms thrown around all the time! But do you know what those terms mean and how they impact your homebuying decisions! Your Realtor will be able to tell you just how the real estate market is in the areas you are looking in!
KEEP EMOTIONS AT BAY, AS BEST YOU CAN!
Sometimes when you find the house of your dreams, you become emotionally attached to it! But when you get into a multiple offer situation, sometimes you want to be the “winner” because it is a house you love! If you are in a multiple offer situation, know what your top price is, and be prepared to walk away if the bidding for the house goes above this limit or if the price and terms are not what you want!
KNOW ABOUT YOUR LOAN!
Make sure you have gone over the entire loan with your lender – not just the interest rate you will be paying, but the closing costs, knowing whether or not you have rate increases in the future, etc. If you are getting grant funds, make sure you understand how they work and what happens if you sell your home in the next few years! If you are getting a VHDA loan, make sure you understand how the loan works, especially if your situation changes in the future!
INSPECT THE HOUSE – AND MAKE SURE YOU USE A GOOD INSPECTOR!
Even if you are buying a home being sold “as is”, make sure you get a good and thorough home inspector to do the home inspection! This will let you know what you will need to take care of after closing, if the seller will not do the repairs prior to closing! And if you can’t reach an agreement with the seller on repairs, you can walk away from the contract if you need to!
MUST HAVES – WANT TO HAVES!
If you have to have four bedrooms in your home, don’t look at 3 bedroom homes! Unless you are wiling to finish off an unfinished space into that fourth bedroom, the house will ultimately not work for you! So before you go out looking at homes, make sure you know exactly what your Must Haves are – and look only at those homes that have them!
TAKE A SECOND LOOK!
I know that in this market, it has been very difficult to be able to take a second look – the houses come on the market and are under contract in only a few days! But if you can, if you like the home, see if you are able to take a second look at the house, even if it is only to drive by the house at a variety of times of the day!
MAKE SURE YOUR FURNITURE CAN FIT!
There is nothing like buying a home, only to find that your furniture will not fit into the house! Take measurements of your largest pieces of furniture to make sure that it will fit into the rooms the way you want them to!
WALK THROUGH ALL THE ROOMS!
It still amazes me that there are buyers out there who have not taken a look at all the rooms! That would include bathrooms, closets, even the attic space and any sheds! Even if you have a 15 minute window to see the house, make sure you have checked out all the spaces and rooms in the house you are planning to purchase!
IS THE HOME LOCATED WHERE YOU WANT IT TO BE!
There are many things you can change about your new home – but the one thing you can’t change is the location! If you originally wanted to be 20 minute drive from your job, and the home is a 45 minute drive from the office, make sure you are fine with this! It may be that what the home has to offer at the price you will be paying for the home may be worth the trade off – but this is something only you and your family can decide!
THINK ABOUT THE HIDDEN COSTS OF BEING A HOMEOWNER!
This is especially important if you are currently renting! As a homeowner you will now need to take care of the maintenance of the home, where you did not need to do this before! The utilities may be higher than what you expected! Make sure you take into consideration all these additional costs before you have committed to the house!
CAN YOU LIVE WITH THE RESTRICTIONS!
If you are buying a condo or townhome, or a home in a neighborhood with an association, there will be covenants and restrictions you will have to abide by! Make sure you have reviewed these association documents and are comfortable with the restrictions you have to live with! I once owned a condo that did not allow the garbage to be put down the garbage chute after 8 pm because of noise! I was fine with that, but some people may not be!
RESEARCH THE NEIGHBORHOOD!
If you are not familiar with the neighborhood, or are concerned about noise, safety, etc., why not go talk to your future neighbors! They will be a great source of information about the neighborhood – good and bad! Why not talk to the local police department? Why not visit the schools your kids will be going to? Why not drive the neighborhood at different times of the day and night to get a feel for what you will be living with! Although it may be hard in this market to do this after you have found a home to buy, you can always do this before you even begin looking!
This is particularly important if you are purchasing a new construction home! Many times, buyers walk into a model home and fall in love with it because of all the upgrades and interior designer touches they see in the house! But the house that you will purchase will not have all these things in it! And many times, buyers will add in all the bells & whistles, driving the price way up above what they are comfortable paying! Before adding in all the bells & whistles when writing up an offer on a new construction home, make sure you are comfortable paying the price for these things!
If you are buying a home and you experience Buyer’s Remorse, don’t worry – you aren’t the first buyer to experience it – and you won’t be the last! By following these simple tips, you can help to minimize it so that when you are ready to close on the house, you are excited and ready to call it HOME for the next years to come!
Thinking of buying a home? Thinking of selling a home? Have questions? Feel free to contact me and I would be happy to help!