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Buyer's Remorse No More

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams

When buying a car, buying a house, changing jobs, or even right before getting married many people start to....well, FREAK OUT! They start to second guess themselves, get sweaty palms, can't sleep, and get sick to their stomach. The second you drive the car of the lot, you think, "Oh no! What have I done?!"  Just yesterday I was walking a buyer through signing his first offer he has ever made on a house, and I could hear it in his voice that he simply couldn't believe what he was doing and just the possibility of regret terrified him. 

But guess what? That doesn't have to happen anymore. 

RULE #1: Expect the anxious anticipation you're bound to experience. 

I can tell you right now that no matter how perfect the house is for you, you're probably not going to sleep much while you're waiting to hear if your offer was accepted. You'll probably even fall into the trap of wondering if you paid the right price, if this is the right time to buy, if you chose the right house for your family, or wonder about a million other questions you can bombard yourself with. If you anticipate that these feelings are coming, you'll realize in the midst of your mini-freak out that these feelings are totally normal, and it will restore some sense of control over the situation. Know that it's coming, know that it's normal, and know that it's temporary. 

RULE #2: Regret is predictable. Understanding and predicting possible regrets is an important part of extracting as much satisfaction and pleasure from our purchasing power as possible

Over the past several years researchers have been looking into buyer's remorse, looking at the types of purchases being made, and what kind of regret is experienced in relation (Rosenzweig & Gilovich, 2012). When people make large material purchases, ones of tangible possessions, they tend to feel regret. But when it comes to people making large experiential purchases, a life experience unique to that individual like a vacation, they tend to experience more missed opportunities due to inaction. The good news is, temporal studies have shown that the feeling of regret in response to an action is very short lived. The even better news is, it largely has to do with mindset. 

RULE #3: Enjoy the experience of purchasing something, and anticipate the future experiences you will have because of it. 

Funny enough, even though different types of purchases tend to be associated with regret for either taking an action or inaction, it's possible to change the emotion associated with it by viewing the purchase in a different light (Rosenzweig & Gilovich, 2012). Some purchases are more clearly material over experiential, like buying a new fridge versus a vacation, but others are pretty ambiguous. Studies have been done that framed purchases in a certain light, either highlighting the experiences to be had by the object, or highlighting the possession itself as a tangible item, and when the participant was thinking of the purchase as an experience they said there would be more regret if they did not make the purchase, if they failed to act. For example, the study experimented with the purchase of a new TV.

So, when making a big life decision, or when in my client's shoes, signing a purchase contract for a house - don't focus on the materialistic side of it. If you do, you'll be comparing it to other houses you could have bought, and it will drive you crazy for a hours while you're busy comparing features wondering if you made the right decision. Instead, focus on how you felt comfortable and at home in the house, or how you're going to build your family there, or about the holiday parties you'll be able to host. Focus on the experience and you're far less likely to regret your decision to act. Focus on the fact that this just may be a missed opportunity if you let it pass you by. 


Alrighty then. You now have all the rules about how to get rid of that horrible feeling of buyer's remorse, and you can make your purchases in peace. If you find yourself freaking out a bit, just remember: you expected these feelings to surface, you know why you're feeling that way and you know how to adjust your mindset to change that. It's all about what pair of glasses you view the world through - all you've got to do is put on the right pair.

Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Heather Heaton Excellent tips. Educating the client ahead of time will often help to relieve buyer's remorse. Welcome to ActiveRain.

Oct 06, 2015 11:35 PM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Heather, so many buyers try to rethink their decisions, and great post to think about! 

Oct 06, 2015 11:43 PM
Mery Fernandez Empire Network Realty Luxury Brokerage
Empire Network Realty INC. - Orlando, FL
The Rise of An Empire, Let's Build Yours!

Hi Heather!!  Welcome to the world of Activerain, may your blogging  create a whole new chapter in your Real Estate Career.

Oct 06, 2015 11:53 PM
Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers
Serving the Greater Phoenix and Scottsdale Metropolitan Area - Scottsdale, AZ
Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty

Heather Heaton Welcome to Active Rain!  As REALTORS who have been here (on and off) for close to 9 years, it's well worth it!

Oct 07, 2015 12:15 AM
Chris Lima
Turtle Reef Realty - Port St Lucie, FL
Local or Global-Allow me to open doors for you.

Welcome Heather Heaton and thank you for a fantastic post. I see this happen quite often.  In most cases it's just a bit of nerves after the initial euphoria.

I love Patricia Kennedy's M&M idea!

Oct 07, 2015 12:20 AM
Certified Mobile Notary Signing Agent - Smith Mountain Lake, VA
Highest Ranked Certified Mobile Notary in Virginia

Excellent information.   Buying or selling is often a life changing event.   It is reasonable to be nervous and second guess but as my Daddy said, "Go with your first instinct, it's usually right".   

Oct 07, 2015 12:35 AM
Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert
Zion Realty - Gilbert, AZ
Broker/Owner of Zion Realty ZionRealtyAZ.com

Wow, what a fantastic first blog post Heather! You're going to be great here in Active Rain! 

Oct 07, 2015 01:15 AM
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

There is always remorse, but it is short-lived.  Anxiety is also short-lived and can be managed with the correct expectations.  We are the transaction managers, they are the decision makers.  Great post and congrats on the feature.

Oct 07, 2015 01:47 AM
Gilbert Real Estate Experts: Colby & Michele Myers
Flat Fee Etc. Real Estate - Gilbert, AZ

Great post, wishing you the best.  Welcome to ActiveRain!

Oct 07, 2015 04:56 AM
Captain Wayne - Rowlett Real Estate School
Rowlett Real Estate School - Panama City, FL
Rowlett Real Estate School / Owner and Instructor

Some very good points you made here. I know some people that have severe anxiety over anything "new." Just embracing it, can do a person a lot of good.

Oct 07, 2015 07:32 AM
Captain Wayne - Rowlett Real Estate School
Rowlett Real Estate School - Panama City, FL
Rowlett Real Estate School / Owner and Instructor

Welcome to ActiveRain, it's great to have you aboard.  I look forward to reading more of your blogs in the future.

Oct 07, 2015 07:32 AM
Wayne Zuhl
Remax First Realty II - Cranford, NJ
The Last Name You'll Ever Need in Real Estate

Hi Heather and welcome to Active Rain. Fantastic first blog post - congratulations!

Oct 07, 2015 07:42 AM
Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell

Heather, Buyer's Remorse No More is an excellent post to advise buyers to relax, anticipate the anxiety, and enjoy the process. Well done!

Oct 07, 2015 10:10 AM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Heather and welcome to the rain where we all learn from each other.  You have a great blog here, keep it up!

Oct 08, 2015 02:45 AM
Nibal Elsaadi
SI Real Estate Tampa - Tampa, FL

This article is most excellent! Thanks for the great read.

Oct 08, 2015 06:52 AM
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

Heather, I too have found when you sit down and explain to new buyers what the process is and what to expect, they go thru it much easier. Welcome to ActiveRain, we are really glad you are here!

Oct 08, 2015 12:11 PM
Crystal Kilpatrick
Team Leader -Crystal Kilpatrick Group - Austin, TX
CHLMS,CNE, CRS - Austin & Central Texas Home Sales

Welcome to ActiveRain.  Thank you for sharing with us here.

Oct 17, 2015 06:14 AM
Nancy Robinson Ranked #6 in MI
Century 21 Town and Country - Royal Oak, MI
#11 Century21 Realtor in the US, #16 in the World

I get the  anxiety involved it is  a huge life changing step for a lot of folks! I love the Way  you highlighted the difference between  regret and lost opportunity.  Great first post!!! Welcome to AR

Oct 27, 2015 12:11 PM
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Heather - Buyer's remorse does happen, and this is a great blog for explaining ways to handle it.

Oct 29, 2015 04:56 PM
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Heather - Congratulations on having your first post here in the Rain as a featured post.

Oct 29, 2015 04:56 PM