Homebuyers' remorse is extremely common. Unfortunately, agents often find themselves remedying home issues long after the property sale. Prevent homebuyers' remorse now with these tips.
Home buyer’s remorse often comes with a purchase as large as a home. For millenials, home buyer regrets are particularly common. But there is a difference between twangs of doubt and huge missteps that could make your buyers wish they’d never bought a house. For many people, buying a house is the largest purchase they’ll ever make. Yet, common mistakes like rushing into buying or looking only on the surface can completely ruin your client’s home-owning experience.
When it all comes crashing down, it’s often the real estate agent who gets the late-night calls. ” The place is infested with mold, what do we do?!”, ” Who do we call to have the locks changed?”. You’re not the homeowner or the landlord, but if a client makes the wrong decision, you’ll be expected to answer questions about reno options and community issues.
A great agent can help clients prepare for their house search and keep them focused on what is important. More informed, knowledgeable clients mean less panicked calls for you. Before your buyers sign on the dotted line, get clear about the most common regrets. Then, do your part as an agent to keep a close eye and make sure they don’t fall into any of the common traps.
1. Not Thinking About Future Life Changes
A survey from Redfin showed that in 2022 and 2021, the median homeownership tenure in America is nearly 13 years. And there’s a lot that can happen in 13 years. Your clients may have different physical needs that need to be accommodated in the home over time. Kids, work changes, extended families with elders, all require changes in the home. Remind your homebuyers that they should consider a home that will grow with them, not one that is trendy and suits there very specific current lifestyle. This will save your clients the disappointment and inconvenience of selling their homes quickly after moving in.
On the other hand, many buyers, especially millennials, rush into a family home when they think they should, although it’s not really what they want. The importance of the people, culture, nightlife and food of a place can’t be underestimated.
2. Devaluing Location, Location, Location
Scouting the perfect location for your client’s new home is a lot more nuanced than most people think. Not only do you need to consider basic needs such as interests, community, school zones etc, but agents should also encourage buyers to visit their hyperlocal area of interest during different times of the day and night. This way they’ll get a good idea of how the neighborhood changes throughout the day. If your clients are at the lead stage and are especially eager to learn more about their neighborhood, encourage them to pass by during cold and warm weather. Not everyone enjoys a surprise block party as soon as warm weather hits.
The next big (and unexpected hitter) is traffic. Is there bumper-to-bumber traffic at the end of your clients’ street that stops them from leaving quickly? What about air traffic and the noise that comes with it?
AgentFire websites offer interactive maps that show users what is located in their area of interest before they jump in. Learn more about ClickMaps here.
3. Not Factoring in Maintenance Costs
Different types of properties have different upkeep costs and requirements. From parking garage maintenance to roof repair or the need to fix or replace heating appliances, maintenance can include a wide range of things.
With a new home, you can’t just call the landlord and have someone repair everything free of cost. If you forget to discuss maintenance costs in relation to the cost of your client’s home, there’s a chance they could lose money overall on the property.
4. Focusing on Appearance
The interior decoration of a house can help to get it sold, but also work as a tactic to keep buyers from looking at the nicks and scratches around the space. Just because a home is modern, doesn’t mean it was made of the best materials. Whether or not the material will last until next year is much more important than if they fit the trend this year.
A bathroom that’s too small for comfort can become easy to overlook when it’s decorated beautifully. A new Zillow survey revealed that the top regret cited by recent homebuyers was that their home needed more work than expected. While around 30 percent of recent homebuyers also said that their home was not the right size. Unfortunately, home renos are not like they are on TV. The preparation, hard work, time, and effort is often underestimated.
5. Skipping the Home Inspection
It seems ludicrous that anyone would skip a house inspection before spending hundreds of thousands on a home, but it happens often. The home inspection is the part of the process that lets your buyer know what shape the home is in and how much it’ll cost to get it into shape. It’s not enough to call a home inspector to come by and leave a note while the clients are gone.
Between the inspector and you, the agent, you can only communicate so much through email or summarizing. Encourage your clients to be present for their home inspection. This will give them a clear idea of what work needs to be done and get the opportunity to ask questions.
When all is said and done, make sure to keep and give your clients a copy of the inspection report. If the report is a bit confusing, take it up with the professional.
Some home inspectors don’t inspect underground pipes, wells, or other areas that are expensive and often in need of replacement. Protect your clients by finding an inspector who carries “errors and omissions” coverage. It’s better to front the upfront costs than have huge regrets down the line.
6. Not Respecting The Budget
Get clear on a budget early and stick to it. Housing market and lifestyle changes make it continuously more difficult to save over time. Buyers can find themselves stuck between rising rent or buying a house in a tight market and may not know what they’re really getting into.
Before you start taking clients to different listings, discuss home prices and make sure you understand their financial limit very well. Resetting that limit if the type of home is no longer affordable could be a good idea.
7. Not Considering Future Development
Great – you’ve scored your clients a beautiful house in an up-and-coming neighborhood! But what does ‘up-and-coming’ actually look like?
Homes near major roads or intersections will need to consider the noise and commotion of traffic. Homebuyers will also want to consider if a bus stop or subway will be added and how that will affect the property value.
If there is a lot of open space around the home, clients should think about new builds in the hyperlocal housing market. How many homes will be built? Are they selling quickly? And how long do you have to listen to that morning construction?
Your blog and newsletter are two of the best tools to keep past and potential leads updated with local real estate information. With our TextBroker partners, we’ll send over a customizable real estate blog every week. Then, use the MailChimp integration to automatically turn your blogs into newsletters!
8. Not Being Unprepared for Homeownership
Homeownership is not a small responsibility. There are a few necessities that clients may not be prepared for. Some include:
- Pests have a way of getting into our homes, even when we’re extra careful. They can be as small as ants or as threatening as termites. Homeowners will need to call an exterminator and may need to pay for a place to stay outside of their home.
- In a rental, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to take care of mowing the lawn, shovelling snow, planting trees etc. Now that your clients are homeowners, it would serve them well to gain a few gardening skills.
Furnace and Water Heater Upkeep
- The furnace and water heater will need to be maintained every year in order to continue working properly. If not, an expensive breakdown or a very cold winter could ensue.
This list of new home-owning responsibilities goes on and it’ll change depending on location, climate, and type of home. Go over each concern with clients to make sure that you’ll be able to cover them when the time comes and prevent buyer’s remorse.
9. Forgetting Commute and Travel Time
A quiet house outside of the city sounds great until the daily commute becomes a hated burden. If your client’s commute could take time away from their leisure time or valuable time with family and working on personal goals, they may want to reconsider.
Commuting long distances is just plain exhausting; bad for the commuter and the environment.
10. Factor In Resale Value
What about your client’s new home (or potential home) could possibly build equity with time? Homebuyers don’t always have a clear idea of what adds and takes away from property value. Factors that build equity can be as small and internal as new carpets or external factors like new shops and restaurants popping up.
11. Forgetting about Closing Costs and Additional Charges
Your client’s property budget needs to create space for additional costs such as closing costs and unforeseen charges. The last thing an agent wants is to find out that a client can barely afford the necessary final costs to close on a home.
There are a lot of moving parts that first-time buyers are unaware of. Inspection fees, title, appraisal, and various other parts of the real estate transaction need to be considered in advance.
12. Not Having An Emergency Budget
Anything can happen in a new home (whether old or recently renovated). Often called “carrying costs”, these pop-up expenses are just a part of owning a home. If buying a property leaves your client with no cash in the bank, they’ll be in big trouble if an emergency hits.
Most financial advice suggests that individuals keep an emergency fund worth at least 2-3 months of their earnings.
13. Not Keeping PaperWork Organized
There’s a multitude of important, useful documents that come with buying a home. From the contract to the microwave manual, it is important to keep these documents organized in a system that is easy to access.
If you are working with messy buyers who don’t keep their things organized, grab them a ring binder to give them a hint. This way, they won’t be calling you to ask about the houses’ basic features when they can’t find the appropriate manual.
14. Not Looking at the Crawl Spaces or Attic
Clients should familiarize themselves with every nook and cranny of their new home (yes, even the scary corners). It would also be beneficial to share useful tips with your clients like how to spot bugs, mold and other issues that should be addressed sooner rather than later.
The issue with tiny crawl spaces is that they’re not visited frequently, so any issues going on could go unnoticed for quite a while. It’s your client’s house afterall, so they should feel comfortable exploring the space. These hidden places could the targets of buyer’s remorse if not inspected carefully.
The pitfalls that come with buying a home can pile up and drive our clients crazy – just don’t let them become your problem. Prevention is the best remedy. When it comes to making a massive purchase, we can’t stress the importance of knowing common regrets and how to prevent them – or, in the worst case, work with them.
The good news is that most people do love their homes and the financial benefit, regardless of its challenges.
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