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It can happen in any city — you buy a home expecting to love it, and after a few months of living there, you’re feeling regret about your purchase. Perhaps it’s costing more than you expected, the neighborhood isn’t feeling quite right, or other unexpected factors are making you unhappy. This isn’t a place that any homeowner wants to be. Luckily, there are many things prospective buyers can do to prevent this feeling. Here are our top recommendations:
Refine Your Budget
Especially for first-time buyers, some of the expenses of owning a home can come as a surprise. It’s not as simple as just making your monthly mortgage payment. With utilities, repairs, maintenance costs, and taxes, if they made their budget around their mortgage payment alone, they’ll quickly find themselves in trouble. This can be a major cause for home buyer’s remorse. To prevent it, buyers need to take a closer look at their finances and the financial situation they’re entering into. Many experts recommend working to save 1-2% of your home’s purchase price every year in a saving account specifically designated for home expenses and emergencies. When you’re establishing what you can afford, make sure you also take into account the unexpected expenses that go along with being a homeowner. If you anticipate these in your budget, you’re a lot less likely to feel regret.
Identify Needs and Wants
Searching for a home can be a complex process. Some buyers can get swept up in emotions and excitement, only to realize down the line that their decision wasn’t a very practical one. This often happens when buyers find a home that has many of their wants, and those wants overshadow other important factors that are missing. Avoid this confusion by getting clear on your wants and your needs. Make two lists for yourself so that even if you find a home that checks ten boxes on your wants list, if it only checks one on your needs list, you’ll know it’s not the one. It sounds simple, but this organization can really help buyers to make the right decision in the moment.
Test Out Neighborhoods
Another common cause of buyer’s remorse is neighborhood. You found a home that met all your needs and many of your wants, and you put in an offer. After a couple of months of living there, you realize the neighborhood isn’t the right fit. If you’re looking at a home in a neighborhood you’ve never lived in or spent much time in, it’s wise to investigate beyond the home you’re considering. Are there any local businesses you can check out, like a coffee shop or market? Are there any events that would allow you to meet some residents? Taking the time to get a feel for the neighborhood is a great way to ensure you end up in the best location for you.
Work with a Good Loan Officer
As we mentioned above, finances can often be a source of buyer’s remorse. While it’s important for homeowners to establish their own budget and financial plans, it’s equally important that they work with a loan officer they can trust. This professional will guide you along the financial part of the home-buying journey, and you want to feel comfortable asking them questions and confident in their answers. Take the time to find a loan officer who has your best interests in mind. This will help you end up with the best mortgage for your new home.
Chicago is an amazing city, but if buyers aren’t careful in their search, they can end up feeling some regret about the home they purchased. The good news is that with the right preparation, this is easily avoided. Consider including these strategies above into your housing search to keep you feeling confident and satisfied with your final decision.