8 Options if You Regret Buying a Home

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When regret leads to change, it’s a good thing.

Key points

  • Nearly 3 out of 4 buyers say they have regrets regarding their home purchase.
  • If financial issues are at the heart of your regrets, contact your mortgage company to learn about options.
  • Making a home your own, regardless of your initial feelings, can make all the difference.

Buying a home is like entering into a new relationship. You have a general idea of what you’re getting into but can never be too sure. Whether you purchased your home last week, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, or 10 years ago, regretting a home purchase feels like a wet blanket around your shoulders. Here, we offer eight options to help you overcome any regret you might experience.

1. Know you’re not alone

According to an Anytime Estimate American Home Buyer Survey conducted in July 2022, nearly 3 in 4 buyers (72%) have regrets regarding their home purchase. We’re not suggesting that misery loves company, but it may help to know that most people who purchase a home have some reservations. Here were some of their regrets. See if any of them feel familiar:

  • 30% of buyers said they rushed to make a decision
  • 35% paid more than they wanted to pay
  • 20% settled for a home in a less-desirable location than they hoped
  • 25% purchased a smaller home than they planned on
  • 80% of those surveyed said they compromised their priorities

Perhaps it’s more natural than not to have post-home-buying regrets. Again, while that may not help, it does remind you that you’re not alone. Millions of homeowners have sought ways to feel good about their purchase decision once the disappointment sets in.

If you paid more for a home than you planned and your primary regret is financial, contact your lender to learn if there are any other mortgage types that may be a better fit. Let’s say that you’re in a career that is likely to provide you with annual raises. It could make sense to refinance the home into an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM).

Your mortgage lender can let you know how much lower an ARM would be than the rate you’re currently paying. And because ARMs are variable, they’ll tell you how often the rate can adjust and the maximum rate you could end up paying.

You’ll want to be careful if you don’t have a lot of equity in the home or enough cash on hand to pay fees associated with refinancing.

More: Check out our picks for the best mortgage lenders

Your mortgage lender may surprise you with the number of options they have available.

If your monthly budget is stretched to the max, another option is to rent out unused space. Whether that means taking on a roommate or renting out your garage, attic, or outbuilding as storage space, it’s possible to bring in extra money until you become financially comfortable.

4. Rework your budget

For most of us, budgets change after buying a home. If you’re accustomed to going out several nights a week or taking a big vacation every year, it may be that scaling back frees up enough money to give you the breathing space you crave. You don’t have to give up everything you enjoy doing, but it can be a wake-up call to realize that things are going to have to change for a while.

5. Sell it

The market continues to be red hot in some parts of the country. If your home is worth more than you paid for it, consider selling it and either renting until the market cools or looking for a home you believe would make you happier.

6. Remind yourself why you bought the home

Once regret sets in, it can be tough to unring that bell. There must have been something you liked about the house before making an offer. Maybe it’s close to a park, has great crown molding, or you simply saw potential. Focusing on what you appreciate about the house can distract you from circling down the drain of homeowner despair.

7. Make it your own

For those of us who move frequently, a house doesn’t feel like home until we’ve made it our own. That doesn’t mean that you need to break the bank. Sometimes, something as small as painting the living room, changing out hardware on the kitchen cabinets, or planting new flowers in the yard is enough to connect you to the space. The more you do through the years to make the home your own, the more likely you are to see it through a more positive lens.

8. Start making memories

At the end of our lives, we’re not likely to wish we’d lived in fancier digs. It’s doubtful that we’ll sit around wondering how much better our lives would have been if we’d only purchased the “perfect” home.

We’ll probably spend any energy we have left remembering the people we’ve loved and the memories we made with those people.

None of us needs a perfect home to have friends and family over for a meal, a game night, or to watch a scary movie in the dark. Whatever it is you enjoy doing — from playing bocce ball in the backyard to hosting a trivia night once a month — you can use your new space to make lasting memories.

Joy can happen wherever you live, even if the house you bought is not ideal.

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