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The Most Important Thing to Remember When Buying a Home

A young, happy couple dreams of buying a new home. But will they regret it?

Buying a home can be completely overwhelming. The truth is, when you buy a house, it is very likely to be the most expensive thing you’ve ever purchased. And I meanever. By a significant margin. You may have spent a lot of cash on your sparkling new Crossover or those four crazy years you spent soaking up knowledge and good times at college. 

But a home is still going to be a lot more than that. Understandably, this can cause you to feel a lot of anxiety. When you drop a few hundred thousand dollars on a new home, you want to know that you aren’t going to regret your decision.

As CNBC recently reported, almost half of Americans have buyer’s remorse about their homes.

Almost half.

That’s a lot of people.

The reporting was based on a recent study by the real estate website Trulia, which found that a large majority of these cases were related to the size of the house. Most people wished they had purchased a larger home, while some would have preferred something smaller. Neither situation is good.

When you make a purchase as momentous as a home, you want to feel secure knowing that you’re making an amazing decision and not throwing your life’s savings down the proverbial flusher. How can you do this? This is the conundrum of buyer’s remorse.

The Problem of Buyer’s Remorse

A woman, filled with buyer's remorse, smacks herself on the forehead in anguish.

We’ve all had the experience. You walk into a boutique clothing store. Everything is arranged in such a well-organized, attractive and pristine manner. It’s almost like we can’t help it. Suddenly a shirt calls out. It’s the perfect shirt, we think to ourselves. It’ll look great on me when I go out tomorrow night. I’m going to look hot and kill it out there!

But after you make the purchase, something else kicks in. It’s a sense of regret. You think about how much money you spent on the item and suddenly, when it’s slung over your chair at home, it doesn’t look so hot anymore.

When it’s just a shirt, assuming the store has a pretty solid return policy, this is usually not a big problem. But when it’s an expensive piece of antique furniture, a shiny new luxury car, or what you thought would be the house of your dreams, there may be no return policy.

In other words, you’re stuck.

What Really Matters When You Buy a Home

We lead crazy, hectic lives. We work, we rush home, we get errands done, we have an endless flood of email, we take the kids to softball practice or little league. It’s a never-ending stream of tasks, chores, and appointments that keep us running around without ever having a chance to stop and take a deep breath.

But taking time to stop and to think about the things that matter to us most in life is incredibly important work to do. We all need to figure out the things that really drive us, that make us jump out of bed and go non-stop from morning ‘til nightfall.

Perhaps it’s the thrill of that fast-paced, incredibly rewarding job you have. Or maybe it’s a spiritual journey that you are on, trying to connect deeply with the larger world around you. For many of us, it’s getting to spend quality time with our families and the people we love most.

Whatever it is that truly drives you are your personal core values. Every person has their own unique mix of what’s most important to them.

Whatever it is that drives you, and it’s most likely a mixture of things, personal core values are the characteristics of your life that really matter to you. As you move further away from those core values to things you don’t care about as much, you’ll probably come to realize a lot of stuff you own and the things that you do may be not so necessary in the grand scheme of your life.

Well, it’s the same situation when you purchase a home.

> The most important thing to remember when you purchase a home is to figure out what you care about most and make sure you get it.

In other words, focus hard on those core values. Worry a lot less about everything else. There is no perfect house, only the perfect house for you. And you can find it.

Buying a Home with Your Core Values in Mind

For every single home buyer, that mix of important features is going to look a little bit different. Maybe it’s having that porch with a sun-kissed landscape where you can look out while you sip your piping hot, early morning coffee. Or maybe it’s cutting down on that commute time from the 40 minutes in stop-and-go traffic it takes you now to the 10 minutes you wish it took.

For you, the combination of personal core values will be unique. But here’s the main thing:

  • Don’t ignore those core values. Those are what make the price of your home really worth it.
  • Don’t worry too much about anything else.

Society puts a lot of pressure and expectations on us. We have to have the perfect job, the perfect social life, and the perfect appearance to keep up with the Joneses.

But keeping up with the Joneses, at the end of the day, isn’t that important. You need to worry about you and the people you love most. Everything else is extraneous details.

What matters to you most? Figure that out, forget the rest, and you’ll be forever in love with the home you’ve created.

A happy couple is embracing with the holding his partner in the air with joy. They are celebrating the purchase of their new house.

Hi there! I hope you enjoyed this post and that you found it to be a useful reminder. If you're looking for more thoughts about buying a home and related advice on personal finance, I'd love it if you'd consider subscribing to this blog. Additionally, here's a helpful free information guide on the Road to Homeownership that I hope you will find useful:

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