We Spoke To 10 People About Home Buyer's Remorse. Here's What They Said
Omg. What the fuck have I just done?
Omg. Source: Mixposure
So, as some of you will know from my constant basic-bitch whinging in the newsletter, I recently bought and moved into my first property. Yes yes, I'm very lucky, very privileged, homeownership, etc. But gosh, I really didn't think about everything that goes into a place. After two years of looking on and off, my man friend and I eventually bought a place the day we inspected it, leaving no time to realllyyyy think about it or go over the finer detail. In truth, I was so convinced we wouldn't get it that I wasn't that invested when inside the property. I walked in and rolled my eyes thinking we'd never get it. So when we did, I was like...wait. Fuck! Where is it again? How many bedrooms?
There has been a lot to fix. There was no heating, it needed a new kitchen, it has an outdoor laundry. And then there are little things you didn't realise you kind of hate, like the gross af old carpet in the bedrooms, the tiny bathroom, the mismatching paint, the exhausting arguments with your partner over furniture. I feel like I don't even want people over cos it's so messy and shambles-y and not ready. Half of me wishes we just didn't spend on renos and just had gotten turn-key from the beginning. I have to admit, more than once I have thought to myself, 'What the fuck have we done?'
Apparently, this is pretty normal. As Nikki said to me, 'Um Jess, don't you work in Marketing? Buyer's Remorse is pretty much...Marketing 101.' Like, yes, but it's more than that cos it is pretty much THE BIGGEST PURCHASE YOU'LL EVER MAKE and there's a no-refunds policy tighter than Tiger Airways (RIP). It's actually a phenomenon known as 'post-purchase dissonance.' A fancier way of talking about buyer's regret, it basically refers to the experience you have after a big purchase of panic or regret. According to Property Director Cate Barkos in her article for Smart Property Investment:
It can come in many forms; worrying about whether the purchase price was fair, whether the property was the right one, whether a better opportunity could be out there, or even just a ball in the pit of their stomach when they think about the debt they are about to take on.
I wanted to know if others felt the same, and more importantly, if and how they got over it. It seems I was not alone. We spoke to 10 people who recently bought a place and if they too experienced post-purchase dissonance. Here's what they said.
"I didn’t have a real big, ‘What the fuck have I done?' moment, but there were bits of 'Oh fuck, who do I call if the shower breaks, or what if I can't sell as much as I bought it for? What if interest rates go up?' But those split-second moments passed quite quickly and gave way to logic. Also, I thought that in the worst-case scenario, I would just sell. But the excitement of it all kind of overtook all the 'Oh fuck!' moments!"
"Not me, but my partner was questioning our purchase. Especially as we were renovating and realising there's so much to do and needed to prioritise where to put our money. He wasn't sure whether we had done the right thing in buying an old property rather than a new build. He's happy now, but wasn't until we moved in!"
"I do remember when I first moved in crying a lot and feeling so overwhelmed with it all. I cried hard for about an hour on my living room floor one night because I’d got the wrong cable from Bunnings and thinking it was all just too hard and how I didn’t want to be a strong independent woman anymore. Now that I’ve been there for over a year, I still wish I’d gotten something a bit bigger and more modern, but now I just know what I would look for next. All this aside, I love knowing it’s mine and I’m really proud of it."
"My partner and I looked at over 40 houses before we made our first bid. First night in, the trellis around the back fence snapped in half and was slamming against the fence all night. The back fence door broke and was slamming open and shut throughout the night. I kept waking up thinking people were trying to break in. I spent the whole night lying awake thinking, ‘What the fuck have we just done!?’ I proceeded to ask myself this every day for the next month. I couldn’t stop finding little things I’d been blind to before. Unexpected cracks, leaks and things on their last legs about to break. I was feeling overwhelmed by the thought that I got ‘ripped off’, terrified we had made a poor decision on the biggest financial investment of our lives. A month in and things started to settle. Bunnings became my second home, and I was getting really handy with home improvement jobs around the house. The cracks started to fall, and this place started to feel like home. I love my house and where I live so much now and feel very confident in our decision."
"A few things I went through...FOMO of having missed out on an even better house, for less.
FOMO of travel and other big expenses because of being tied down by a mortgage. We also upped our budget to a much higher range than I felt comfortable with for a long time. Our house also needs a fair bit of work (it's over 110 years old!) and I have zero handy skills, which either means things will never get done or we'll have to pay a bunch for professionals to do it. The place needs restumping, which will likely require us to replace the floorboards too, so it's going to be a very big (and expensive) job down the track. That still plays on my mind, as I swear I notice the floors getting wonkier by the day. Still, the fact that my partner loved the house (and has proven to be resourceful and pretty skilled too!) and that our families were supportive got me over the line, and now I just revel in not having to spend any more time online or in-person searching for or inspecting houses! We got a cute place, with a bit of land, in a suburb we both love and I think it was money well spent. Let's just hope that the economy holds up and the value of our place doesn't plummet!"
"Buying a new apartment is fucked. It’s been 15 months and still, not all defects are fixed. That said, when I moved in I knew I made the right decision. I love the area I live in. I also like the security of owning a home and was over renting life. It feels good to pay off a mortgage, and don’t notice the huge difference between renting and paying it off. I love it."
"My partner came home one day and told me he’d bought us a house. It wasn’t until I had to pay money and not spend it on myself that I thought, fuck, what have I gotten myself into? Then we started renovating and I didn’t have a social life or money...and got pregnant. That was when I REALLY thought fuck, what have I done?!"
"I fell in love with the house and the location and still do love that. It was always a bedroom short and the plan was/is to knock down and rebuild. Sometimes I wonder if we’d made the right choice going down that path or we should’ve waited and found something newer and bigger. But ultimately, we’ve done this now and am excited at the project when we do it one day!"
"I did have a 'What the?' moment where I was anxious for a few days with finances and being like, 'Hmm, can we afford this?' But then once I got over that, I was completely fine. I love the place and was excited as soon as we moved in."
"I remember thinking initially with the insane interest charges and all these added rates and insurances, why do people buy? Still not sure! I guess my motivation was to have a place I could do up but of course that requires money..."
"We bought our place pretty quickly, mainly because we didn't want to live with our parents for too long, and also because it was being privately sold and I didn't want to go to auctions. If we had looked for a little bit longer, we probably could have found something bigger or better, but hindsight is always 20/20! It was right for us at the time at the right price so we went for it. After we moved in, we discovered the bathroom definitely needed work and that the master bedroom is TINY. That being said, we love the location and have made it work for us. We've been here nearly three years now. Having spent so many hours, days, weeks, months here during COVID has definitely made me crave a bit more space which is what we are now working to, and we can use the lessons learnt from our first buy to help us get something even better next time!"
For me, I know the pros will outweigh the cons eventually. We are bloody lucky to have been able to buy an actual house. It's mine (kinda). I can paint it and do whatever. It will come together eventually. But there have definitely been some lessons learnt along the way. Click here for our tips on moving so you know what to look for and are happy when it's your turn!