Hindsight is always 20-20. It never fails that when you make any life decision, as soon as you make it, you are flooded with thoughts. What ifs and I should haves. The same can be said with home-buying. Buying a home, whether it’s the first one or the tenth one, there’s always some excitement and anticipation of walking into a new space. But eventually the new wears off, and doubts may come to mind. While there’s nothing worse then regretting an investment such as a home, there are ways to avoid this post-buying slump.
One of the top regrets home-buyers have is wishing they negotiated a better price or a lower mortgage rate. It can be intimidating when the counter-offers start flying, but stick to your guns. Always be reasonable, but don’t be afraid to negotiate. It is your agent’s responsibility to work the deal. Review neighborhood comparables, be honest about your finances, and think realistically about your future. If you don’t feel comfortable with the price, lower your offer or keep looking at homes. Mortgage rates can be trickier. It is not uncommon for people to be intimidated when speaking with lenders. It is important to work with someone you trust. Now, there are several online options and advertisements for mortgages through apps, but nothing can replacement the relationship of an actual human that can talk to you and understand your needs. You are more than numbers on a online calculator. There are so many ways to finance a home, and a lender will help find the best option for you.
Other common regrets include disliking the neighborhood or parking situation. In rural areas, the neighborhood and parking are typically less of a concern. If you are interested or have an offer on a home, drive through the neighborhood on different days of the week and at different times of the day. Sure, parking might not be an issue and the neighborhood may seem quiet when you view the home during weekday mornings. But what does that look like on the weekends when you want to have friends and family over for dinner? Or after dark when you need to walk your dogs around the block? Also, as a general rule of thumb, never buy a home in a neighborhood you don’t like. The house isn’t worth it. It won’t matter if it’s the most beautiful home you’ve ever seen, if you don’t like the area or neighborhood, you won’t be staying there long.
Maintenance costs are often overlooked by home buyers as well. More seasoned home owners tend to be more sensitize to maintenance costs but can also have issues if they upgrade to a larger home or take on more acreage. Older homes almost always require some renovations, whether it’s new windows, new HVAC system, or appliance repairs. But new construction homes have their faults as well. A close friend recently purchased a brand new home in Jacksonville, Florida. The builder didn’t install the plumbing correctly for the washing machine, and when she washed her first load of clothes, the piping broke and flooded half their house. Yikes. Having contingency funds are necessary important when owning a home. Additionally, ask for copies of utility bills prior to making an offer. You want a clear picture of the monthly costs of the home so you can properly budget your finances.
The biggest takeaway is to do your research. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your agent or your lender. It’s your investment and money, and it’s important to have a realistic expectation of what you can afford and how you will handle living in the home, repairs and all. And in the end, regrets are only bad if you’ve learned nothing from them.