Buyer’s remorse: a feeling of regret or guilt after you have bought something you no longer want.
~ Macmillan Dictionary
Dionne: Dude, what’s wrong. You suffering from buyers remorse or something?
Cher: God, no! Nothing like that.
We bought a townhouse in Reseda, California, just outside of Los Angeles, in 2010. The previous owner kept it very tidy, with classy and simple furnishings. So when we visited the house for the first time, we thought- “This is delightful! Sure, it’s not in the best neighborhood, but look how pretty! And we’ve been looking for such a long time, let’s just buy something already!”
Our very first night was Saturday night. As we lay in bed in our brand new house, filled with boxes, and our 3-month old sleeping across the hall, we heard it: our neighbors. We lived amongst a lively bunch who enjoyed staying up late, socializing, and keeping their small children up till all hours. While that was great for them, it wasn’t so much for us. But most importantly, we lived very close to the gate to the gated community that opened and closed every time a car needed to come in or out. Turns out, that gate was very, very noisy. On that Saturday night, we lay in bed, listening to the gate and all our friendly neighbors, and we thought, “Uh oh.”
This is not a happy thought.
My father, who is very wise, once said to me “There are no mistakes in real estate.” It’s quite possible I’m remembering this quote wrong, however. Maybe he said something like “There are no fatal mistakes in real estate,” or “There are no hot dogs in real estate.” But whatever it was, I feel it is somewhat true. Three years later, we sold that house and made $50K on it. Not too bad.
What if you search and search for a house, find something that’s pretty good, move into it, and then start having real estate envy? You look around and see all the houses you could’ve bought? Or you realize you really needed to live within walking distance to town, or you realized you actually needed six bathrooms, or that- what?? There’s no linen closet? Are you f*cking kidding me?? What have we done??
Worst case scenario, you wait a year, or two, and trade it in for a new one. Chances are, you’re not going to lose money on it (hey, how many times do massive housing crises happen in a century anyway, right?)
Our little house in Dobbs Ferry was practically perfect for us when we bought it. Sure, we could’ve used a little more room, and maybe another bathroom, or two. But it was just the four of us, and we wanted to live close to downtown Dobbs Ferry, with a flat backyard, and at least three bedrooms, so viola! But now we are a family of five, and that one bathroom thing is getting a wee bit, um, annoying. While this is not a case of buyer’s remorse, it is, more politely put, a change in our needs earlier than we expected.
How do you make sure you don’t make the wrong decision and buy the wrong house? How do you make sure you’re marrying the right man? Both questions, equally difficult to guarantee an answer. But just as in wedlock, we find something that checks the necessary boxes, brings us joy, and feels like home.
And if it doesn’t work out, you can always get a divorce.