Overcoming Buyer’s Remorse
No one would argue that a home is likely one of – if not the – biggest purchases you will ever make in your life. And while doubts associated with such a transaction are to be expected, incidents of buyer’s remorse seem elevated in the midst of the previous year’s wildly fluctuating market. 2022 was a tale of two extremes, and each was a trigger causing people to question their home-buying decisions for vastly different reasons.
The first half of the year saw record low mortgage rates, with properties listed high and often selling above the asking price. Buyers engaged in bidding wars, had little time to vet the properties and even less time to make an educated decision. In a rapid about-face, the latter half of 2022 saw the market flip when the Federal Reserve raised interest rates. Home prices leveled out and buyers had a bit more time to pick and choose their dream home, but in the end were faced with higher monthly mortgage payments.
While each scenario has clear reasons for inducing anxiety and remorse for the buyer, one thing that is universally helpful in alleviating any unnecessary worries is the experience and insight of a realtor. An experienced professional can guide home buyers in the correct direction and help them carefully review options. Torrence L. Ford, broker/owner of Atlanta’s RE/MAX Premier, stresses that working things out with anxious buyers is crucial, so sales do not fall through due to emotional rather than logical reasons.
His advice is to sit down with buyers and carefully review their options. In today’s climate, it is advisable to renegotiate with the seller. See if they are flexible with extending the closing date, thus allowing more time for the buyer to save money or possibly pay for a rate buydown. Another avenue to explore is to ask the lender if there are any credits available.
Ford also suggests informing the buyers that there exists the possibility of two more interest rate increases in the near future, so the time of affordability is now. The key is to “marry the payment and date the rate” – meaning, if you find a home you truly love and can afford, don’t let the current interest rates prevent you from purchasing it.
While cost is certainly a frontrunner for buyer’s remorse, it is not the only cause. When homes are selling quickly, there is not a lot of time for buyers to examine everything about the home and the general neighborhood. This is where a realtor plays a key role. They can make sure a buyer understands all the costs of the home, including property taxes, mortgage payments, and living expenses. It is not uncommon for a buyer to emerge victorious in a bidding war only to realize they cannot truly afford the prize.
It’s important to reiterate to clients that homes almost always appreciate in value. If the house that is purchased turns out to be something less than a “forever home,” there is very likely a profit to be made in a future sale. Also, there is the potential for it to become a rental property and thus an additional source of income.
Seasoned realtors with years of experience can draw upon that to offer their clients as much information as possible for them to not only make an informed decision, but also manage their expectations. An example would be a buyer who won a bidding war above 12 others. Reminding them of the potential reasons for their victory – more favorable financing, a better closing date, a better relationship with the other realtor – could eliminate their worry that they overbid or overpaid.
It also helps to point out that most problems have workable solutions. If you find a home you love and the roof is bad, you don’t need to automatically take that property off your list. Rather, work with the seller to negotiate financing for the repair or replacement of the roof. Once again, expectations are managed and the potential for regret (at losing out on an otherwise desirable house) or remorse (for purchasing a less-than-ideal home) has been eliminated.
Perhaps most importantly, realtors should remind buyers that they should focus on the positive – which is the fact that they will be living in and enjoying their home for years to come!
On a positive note, despite the higher interest rates, the real estate industry seems to have returned to a state in which homes are staying on the market longer, allowing buyers time to do their due diligence and make an informed – and remorse-free – decision.
If you or your clients are still looking for added assurance and peace-of-mind check out the Key Estates Extended Warranty. Appliances and systems can break down and unfortunately, you never know when that will happen. It will be inconvenient, stressful and most of all, expensive. The best way to handle these complications is to be prepared. Buyers OR sellers can purchase coverage (through their Real Estate Professional or Builder) on appliances and systems such as water heaters, dishwashers, electrical systems, plumbing, ductwork and much more.
Not only is Key Estates affordable, but repairs or breakdowns are handled a little differently than the other guys do it. Key Estates allows homeowners to choose their own repair providers. Homeowners are NOT forced to choose ‘a guy’ from an ‘authorized list’. This allows the homeowner the freedom to choose someone they can trust and someone who will actually show up, and someone who has the experience and expertise to get the job done. Plus, there are no blackout coverage areas or claims forms to fill out. Concerned about the bones of the home? Key Estates has structural coverage, too. It’s worth checking into!