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Buying a condo or house is an exciting – but terrifying time. If you’re like most Buyers, you’ll have some regrets and panicky moments throughout the journey to home ownership. Here’s what you should be ready for:
The Day-After Buyer Remorse
Your offer was accepted; you wake up the next day: “Yay, I’m a homeowner!” Or “WTF did I just do”? Expect to feel at least one of the following:
- Self-doubt: What was I thinking? That house is too big/too small/on the wrong street/too far from work/needs too much renovation/doesn’t need enough renovation.
- Worry: What if nobody wants to buy my current home? Why did buying before selling seem like such a good idea?
- Panic: Can I afford this? What if the bank got the numbers wrong? What if I lose my job? What if I can never afford to eat at a restaurant or travel again?
- FOMO: Expect to obsessively search on realtor.ca to validate your decision and make sure you didn’t miss a better house. Expect that you might do this for a few weeks.
Bidding War Remorse
Truth: every Buyer has remorse the day after a bidding war, whether you won or lost.
- If you won the bidding war, you’ll worry you overpaid. You’ll torture yourself wondering how much higher your offer was than the second place offer (don’t worry, you’ll never find out). You’ll worry that the bank won’t appraise the property at the same price you paid (you can read more about bank appraisals here). You’ll wonder how your emotions took over your carefully crafted budget spreadsheet.
- If you didn’t win the bidding war, you’ll second-guess your bidding and wonder if you should have taken a different strategy. You’ll curse yourself for not having offered the extra $5,000 that the winner offered (“OMG, that’s only $20 a month in mortgage – what was I thinking?”). You’ll worry how much that sale will increase the price you need to pay for the next house in this neighbourhood.
- You’ll question the fairness of the process. Bidding wars in Ontario are painful for Buyers – nobody likes to make decisions under pressure and with incomplete information. Unfortunately, we still see a lot of crooked games in bidding wars, so it’s totally possible it wasn’t fair, and that will suck.
The First Buyer Re-visit Remorse
You’ll likely visit your soon-to-be-new home a few times before you take possession of it. On that first visit, expect:
- The staging will be gone, and it will look like real people live there. There’ll be dishes in the sink, and the closets will be a lot more full than they were when you bought it.
- It’ll seem smaller – especially if the Seller has moved out and the house is vacant.
- You’ll see, hear and smell things you didn’t notice before – scratches on the floor, funky smell in the bathroom, light fixtures you hate. You’ll notice there aren’t curtains in the bedrooms and you can see into the neighbour’s home, the trains will seem louder than the last time you visited, and you’ll wonder how you failed to notice the neighbour’s collection of cats. Are they cat hoarders?
New Neighbourhood Remorse
If you’re making a change of neighbourhoods, expect to feel at least a little neighbourhood remorse. The commute will seem longer than you expected or the street will be louder and busier than you thought. The grocery store will seem further away and that park you were so excited about? Full of dogs running around off-leash.
Buying a new home is one of the biggest financial and lifestyle decisions you’ll ever make, so it’s natural that it will come with some second-guessing. Our best advice? Do your homework. Work with an agent who’ll ask the questions and perform the due diligence for you before you make an offer. And expect a little regret and worry in the short term. The good news? The minute you pick up your new keys, all the excitement returns.