What's at the Root of Buyer Remorse

November 5, 2014

Marianne Cusato, designer and author of Just the Right Home (Workman Publishing Co., 2013), has spent years talking to home owners about their homes and recently talked with BUILDER online about a common topic: buyer’s remorse.

“Financial surprises are at the heart of most regrets,” Cusato says. “Hidden expenses beyond the monthly mortgage are typically to blame for the surprises. The expense of commuting, heating and cooling, and general maintenance can add up fast.”

She cites a recent Chase Bank survey that 56 percent of recent buyers said they wish they had more information about the financial aspects before buying a home. Thirty-four percent of buyers said owning a home was a lot more expensive than they had thought. What’s more, 80 percent of the buyers said they thought they were buying a move-in ready home, but 76 percent said they had already renovated or were planning to renovate soon.

Real estate professionals and builders can help to offer cost-per-month information, such as helping the buyer find out how much it will cost to heat and cool a home and maintain the yard, to help avoid financial surprises, Cusato suggests.

Another common cause of buyer remorse, which often occurs during the house hunt: confusing dreams with expectations.

“A dream is the vision; expectations are the strings we put on that vision,” Cusato says. “For instance, you might dream of having a big yard; that's fine. The trouble comes when you expect that your kids will spend time playing in that yard. The pitfall comes when you are frustrated mowing and paying to maintain that yard that your kids don't go in because they never have the time.”

For a home owner to be happy in the end, the ultimate home they choose must strike a balance among function, layout, location, and cost, Cusato says.

Also, “your buyers or tenants must love the place,” Cusato says. “Balancing in all three [function, cost, and delight] requires trade-offs and a true understanding of not just your clients' wants and needs but also what they are willing to sacrifice and what they are willing to pay for.”

Source: “Prevent Buyer’s Remorse,” BUILDER Online (Nov. 3, 2014)