Picture this: after months of combing the market, weeks of packing, and hours poring over closing paperwork, you’re finally ready to move into your dream home. Once you’re settled, however, you notice that your new digs aren’t as dreamy as you thought. Maybe that busy road your home backs onto that you were sure wouldn’t bother you getting louder by the day, or perhaps you’ve learned the hard way just how much space your family needs in a home. You’re starting to realize that your new place may not meet your needs, and then a sinking feeling begins to take hold – you’ve got buyer’s remorse.
We’ve all faced buyer’s remorse after making a less-than-prudent impulse purchase, however, there’s a world of difference between having second thoughts on a rare collector’s item or an expensive pair of shoes you can’t wear and regretting your choice in your family’s home. Your home is an investment in your future – how do you make sure that you’re making the best decision for your family and your finances?
Here are six tips for avoiding real estate regret when purchasing a home:
Research the surrounding area
Finding a dream home is one thing; finding your dream location is a different beast. Here are some questions you should be asking when touring a potential location:
- Is the property close to any noise pollutants, like an airport or a large construction project?
- Will there be any new construction or new developments going up that will change the flow of traffic or the amount of noise and dirt you have to contend with on a daily basis?
- Is it near farms or anything else that can waft unpleasant odours at certain times of the year?
- How is the cell or internet service? You’d be surprised to learn which beautiful neighbourhoods have poor reception. Ask if you can test this out.
Conversely, think about what amenities you would like near your home, like parks, transportation, hospital, and malls. If you have children, investigate what schools are in the area as well as recreation centres and playgrounds. Do as much research as you can into your potential new neighbourhood’s surroundings – it can make a world of difference after you move in.
Make friends with your new neighbours
Speaking of your new neighbourhood, get to know the community you’ll be joining! Don’t be shy about knocking on doors or asking a neighbour who happens to be out and about during your showing about their experience living on the street. Ask about safety, community activities, and the people you’ll be sharing your street with. Your environment can make or break your experience in your new home, so ask questions and make connections to get the best picture of what your life will be like in your new community.
Take a closer look
It’s tempting to get distracted by the emotional experience of walking through a home that could potentially be yours, especially if it’s clean and beautifully staged and decorated; but don’t forget to take a closer look for items that need to be repaired. Repairs don’t have to be a dealbreaker. In fact, it’s not a matter of if there will be repairs to make, but what those repairs will be. Are we talking a can of paint and a few honey-do list items or a major renovation or overhaul? A home inspection is always a good idea and will provide you with peace of mind about the state of structural, foundational facets of the home you’re thinking about buying, but don’t leave it all up to the inspector; there are several little things you should always check during a viewing:
- Turn the faucets and shower on and off to check water pressure.
- I know it feels nosy, but look inside the closets – is there enough space inside? Are there enough of them in the house, including a linen closet, coat closet in the foyer, broom closet?
- Check the cabinets and drawers to ensure they are functioning properly and to see if there’s enough room for all your kitchen supplies, mixers, pots, pans, and gadgets. Check bathroom cabinets for signs of clutter and storage strain.
- Make sure that all the windows open and close properly.
- Check the attic, basement, and crawl space for easy accessibility and sufficient insulation. Check for signs of water damage in the basement – follow your nose for damp smells.
- Ring the doorbell to see if it’s working properly.
Whether you want to roll up your sleeves and do some remodeling or are looking for a place that’s move-in ready, make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into before you commit.
Look into zoning and use restrictions
Got big ideas for your property? Make sure you research zoning and use restrictions. Before you make a purchase, consider exactly what you want to do with your land, and if local laws allow for those plans. There might be restrictions placed on the kind of building you can do and what you can use your land for. Are you thinking about raising livestock or housing horses in the future? Even if it’s a vague idea in your mind, now is the time to ask. Speak to your Realtor® about how to get the answers you need.
Know how much space you need
There are two key pieces of advice to help determine what kind of home to buy:
#1 Buy with the future in mind.
If you don’t have children or a dog now but you’re planning to have them, choose a home that will accommodate them comfortably. You don’t want to feel cramped in your new place so figure out exactly how much space you and your family need to live comfortably on your property. Knowing the square footage and number of bedrooms and bathrooms is important but nothing compares to seeing the home in person with your family’s needs in mind. The other side of buying with the future in mind is making sure you’re buying a home that won’t leave you house poor. It’s tricky trying to strike that balance but a happy buyer is the one who has managed to make both a wise financial choice as well as a wise size choice.
#2 Buy a home that offers the lifestyle you want
While there are obvious drawbacks to living in a house that’s too small, make sure you’re not biting off more than you can chew with a large property or one that offers features that sound good on paper but don’t suit the lifestyle you want. More isn’t always more; if you’re not keen on yard work or don’t want to maintain a pool, avoid properties that would require that of you.
Hire the right Realtor®
This is going to sound like a shameless plug for our services, but in all honesty, our best tip for avoiding home buyer’s remorse is this: hire the right Realtor®. If you’re working with the right Realtor®, they should be raising these issues with you as you are searching for a home. Now, this doesn’t mean that a client always takes the advice a Realtor® offers, but regardless of this, your first step is the same: find a trusted real estate partner and then trust them. They should know the area like the back of their hand, identify developments that are being planned in the future, and ask the right questions so you can have the answers you need. The right Realtor® won’t rush you just to get you out of their hair – they should be with you, patiently guiding you on the journey.
The Peggy Hill Team has years of experience helping thousands of families across Simcoe County find their dream homes. Reach out to our team today, and let’s find yours.