Buyer’s Remorse? Here’s How to Get Over it

It’s normal to have new home fears. Take a deep breath and follow these steps.

If you’re having doubts about your new home purchase, maybe you’ll find solace in the fact that you’re not alone.

In a survey conducted by Harris Poll for Redfin, as many as one in four homeowners said they regretted purchasing their current home. But, even if you feel the urge to reverse the sale and put your house back on the market, no matter what way you look at it, that’s simply something you can’t do—not immediately, anyway. So what’s an unhappy homeowner to do?

For starters, working with an experienced real estate agent can help prevent negative feelings from the get-go. Real estate agents are often incredible advocates, guiding people through the highs and lows of buying a home.

“I see people agonize over market direction, how much to offer for a new home and how they should price their home sale—but the biggest way you can build or destroy your faith in the process is by buying the right or wrong house,” said Marshall Park, a Redfin agent. “We want customers to know everything about any home they are considering and to get the space and support they need to make a good decision.”

But even with the right guidance, Marshall admits that it’s still normal for people to feel a sense of remorse when they initially buy.

“Anxiety is an autonomic nervous system response that is hard-wired into every human being. It’s part of our instinctive reaction to sensing a danger or threat in the wild--and the wild world of real estate is no exception,” Marshall added. “Of course, buying a home doesn’t involve an actual, physical threat like the lions or tigers or bears our forebears faced. But during the home buying process, it’s not bizarre to feel like your dream home, your precious financial resources, your vision of your family’s future or your best interests are being threatened.”

Fortunately, there are a few easy ways to quell anxiety and start appreciating your new home’s positive side—without having to make any drastic changes.

1. Out With the Old, In With the New

Talk to any homeowner around the world and chances are they’ll each have a different tradition when it comes to inhabiting a new space. Some cleanse the air (and the weird vibes) by burning a sage bundle, others do some feng shui. Consider gathering your friends, family and loved ones in your home for a celebration—their enthusiasm and excitement could be contagious. Whatever your method may be, it’s important to celebrate what this new home represents—a new beginning.

2. Make Small Changes Over time

Unpacking and settling into a new home can be overwhelming—that’s why it’s important to celebrate the small victories. Start by organizing your kitchen cabinets or your clothes closet. One by one, as you get these areas in order, you’ll start to feel more comfortable in your own home.

3. Don’t Get Too Carried Away with Customizing Your Home—Not Right Away, Anyway

If you had certain paint colors, wall paper, light fixtures or carpeting that you loved in your old place, consider repeating some of them in your new home—but don’t get too carried away. Keeping certain elements the same from one home to the next can help a new place feel more familiar. But when you try too hard to completely replicate your old home, you’re only setting yourself up for disappointment. Part of what’s exciting about buying a home is the potential to make a fresh start, that’s why it’s important to embrace the new things, too.

4. Focus on the Positive

If you own a home, there’s a lot to be grateful for—but in the beginning, it might not be as easy to see it that way. It’s important to take the time to appreciate what you like about your new house—from the big to the little things. Maybe the closet space is larger. Maybe the afternoon sunlight creates a cozy glow in the living room. Or maybe the shower’s water pressure is life-changing. Whatever it may be, if you know where to look, there’s always a silver lining.