The long awaited day is here; finally it's closing day! The loan documents are signed and the keys are handed over. After months of searching and preparation, the dream of homeownership is now a reality and it's now time to begin the transition from home seeker, to home owner. For many new home owners a period of "buyer's remorse", or a a sense of regret after making a purchase of an expensive item is not uncommon. It may stem from a fear of making the wrong choice, guilt over extravagence, or a suspicion of having been overly influenced by the seller. If a homeowner is having these feelings, it's important to realize that they are completely normal, and many homeowners feel the same way. Knowing that these feelings are experienced by many new homeowners, and some strategies to transition through them, will assist in settling in to the change of lifestyle in the new home.
When having an initial Buyer's Consultation, many Buyer's Agents will ask their new clients to list their "Must Haves" in a new home to assist in determining the best match when choosing a home to make an offer on. Once an offer is made, along with the "must have" list, write a letter to yourself specifically pointing out all of the things that you love about the home. The great school system. The proximity to family. The gorgeous kitchen. The finished basement. Whatever those things are, write them down, and why they are important to the you, the buyer, and your family at this time. The "love letter" to yourself (and your new house) can be pulled out all along the time from accepted offer to closing, so when challenges happen, (and with things like the home inspection and lending to consider, there's more of a chance that they will, then they won't during the home buying process) the letter can be pulled out and re-read to remind the buyer why they're going through the process in the first place. It also can be pulled out after closing, when a buyer might have some regretful feelings about their purchase.
If you're continuing to look at other houses after closing...stop it. In continuing to look, you may see something that was "more" perfect, a "better" deal, with "nicer" finishes, etc., etc.. Stop it. Remind yourself of all of the time, money, and effort that it has taken to get you to this point in the transaction. A lot has gone in to making this decision, and because of that, it's ok to realize that this is your reality now, It's ok to make the best of all the things that you love about your new place, and enjoy it.
Perhaps you've bought a home that needs extensive rehab right off the bat, or all of the projects that you had intended to undertake now seem like pipe dreams both from a financial position or a skill-set position or the availabilty and time to complete them position. Maybe you're worried that you'll lose your job and won't be able to make your mortgage payments. Since you can only control what is in your power to control, make a list of all the things that are worrying you, and focus on one thing at a time. Maybe it's paint the bathroom, upgrade the appliances, or work extra hours at work. Focus on one thing, so that you feel in control of it. Pretty soon you'll begin to see progres, feel like you're getting somewhere, and then you'll be able to move on to the next "thing". One step at a time.
For most it's becoming accomosted to a change-of-lifestyle, not so much the house itself, that is what takes getting used to during this period of transition. Perhaps it's a new school system, a different commute to work, or something like having the master bedroom on the ground floor, and the kids upstairs. A lot of the changes that come with a home you won't fully understand until you're actually living them. Some may take more getting used to than others. Recognize that what you're experiencing is normal and that in time, the changes will become the "new" normal.
Homeownership can be stressful and no home will be perfect all of the time and that a period of Buyer's remorse is not uncommon. Remember the reasons why you put your offer in on the house that you did in the first place. Know that all of the time, thought, money and effort gone in to the home buying process prior to close will give you greater peace of mind now, and in the future.
Melissa Rolland is a licensed Connecticut realtor. She lives in Tolland, along with her husband Todd, a licensed broker. Together they manage the Rolland Realty Group at Keller Williams Realty. You can connect with them at www.RollandRealtyGroup.com.