Homebuyers can count on having qualms

STARTING OUT

December 26, 1993|By Dian Hymer

Did I buy the right house? Will I be able to afford the monthly payments? What if I lose my job? What if home prices drop? Did I overpay?

If these worries plague you, don't despair. You're probably suffering from a common homebuyer's malady called buyer's remorse.

Buyer's remorse is an emotional response many homebuyers experience during the course of a real estate transaction. It's usually manifested by feelings of regret, fear, depression or anxiety.

Typically, buyer's remorse sets in after buyers have entered into an agreement to purchase a house. But it can strike even before an offer is written. If you find yourself searching for reasons not to buy a house that you've searched for months to find, you may be suffering an early onset of buyer's remorse.

It seems to be triggered by the uncertainty that results from relinquishing control. Even though your present abode may no longer suit your needs, it's home; it's comfortable and it feels secure. When you decide to buy a new home, you're forced to step outside your comfort zone into the realm of the unknown. You may try to talk yourself out of buying the home you've fallen in love with.

Couple feelings of uncertainty with fear of long-term commitment and it's easy to understand why homebuyers can feel anxious.

Some people won't experience remorse at all. Others will worry incessantly. A lot depends on the individual. If you have a high tolerance for uncertainty, you'll suffer less than someone who has a need to feel in control.

FIRST-TIME TIP: The first thing to do if you suffer an attack of remorse is to remind yourself that what you're feeling is normal. It will pass. Don't attach more significance to these feelings than warranted.

Some people will be inclined to think that if their decision to buy was a good one, they wouldn't be feeling anxious. To the contrary, people who are prone to suffer from buyer's remorse will probably feel uncomfortable about any major commitment.

One way to minimize buyer's remorse is to do your homework. Become knowledgeable about home prices in the area. Find out about different kinds of mortgages. Study a sample purchase agreement. Have the house you're buying thoroughly inspected. Budget your finances to make sure you aren't getting in over your head.

THE CLOSING: Revisit the house if you suffer from doubt; this will help put your decision in perspective. Some buyers validate their decision by continuing to look at other houses until they have inspected the house they're buying and have lined up financing. Ask your agent to keep you informed about other sales in the area. And make sure your agent keeps you well-informed during the transaction.

Prepare yourself for one of the most important, and gratifying, purchases you'll make in your lifetime. This will help to diminish the uncomfortable feelings that can go along with such a big commitment.

Dian Hymer's column is syndicated through Inman News Features. Send questions and comments care of Inman News Features, 5335 College Ave., No. 25, Oakland, Calif., 94618.

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