By PJ Wade
Fear of making “The Wrong Decision” can be the great immobilizer when it comes to buying real estate. Fear that this is “the wrong time” to buy has kept many would-be homeowners on the sidelines and unnecessarily out of equity-building markets. Fear of buying “the wrong real estate” can take many forms – buying the wrong location to gain status or long-term value appreciation, the wrong size for family dynamics, the wrong price for financial security, or the wrong functionality for future family needs.
Regrets – manifestations of fear that can immobilize us when faced with big decisions – haunt us long after we make or defer the decision that created them. Be afraid to act and that failure to act may lead to regrets. Regrets about consequences of the delay, the resulting inertia, or the missed opportunity – regrets about what you wanted to do and what you should have done.
In real estate, buyers are faced with a series of big decisions involving often-unknown territory like down payments, mortgages, real estate law, contracts, and life choices. Fear of making “The Wrong Decision” regarding any one or all of these issues is a common reaction. Real estate professionals work hard to keep fear in check for their buyers. Professionals aim to minimize or eliminate regrets – if buyers allow their real estate professional to help.
Head-off fear and regret by asking your real estate professional a lot of questions and listening to the answers. Using this informed approach when faced with “Big Decisions” helps buyers avoid Four “Big Regrets”:
Regret #1: Decision inertia or waiting too long = fear fanned by assumptions, not facts
Would-be buyers often watch a rising real estate market from the sidelines because they assume everything is priced out of their reach or because they hope prices will fall. Too often they are proven wrong. One young couple stayed out of the rising real estate market for years, convinced that city prices were too high for them. They watched and waited as prices crept higher. When they finally sought out a real estate professional to learn the facts, they did find a property at a price they could afford and in a location they love. However, delaying their purchase did end up costing them more and reducing their choices. Act to get the facts as soon as possible and avoid regrets.
Regret #2: Choosing the wrong location = fear fanned by lack of confidence that makes buyers followers, not self-leaders
Eager buyers who emphasize a list of must-haves based on what friends bought or on trends and fads, not a thoughtful analysis of their specific needs and how exactly a home would enhance their lives, can end up disappointed with what they buy. For instance, without analysis and with assumptions, buying in an outlying less-expensive area can seem like a smart financial move. However, the impact of commuting for work and recreation must be measured beyond the simple expense of driving or transit. Include priceless elements like time away from family, lost time with friends, disconnection from the community, and increased risk of accident, which can make living far from your ideal location a life of ongoing regret. Research to get local facts on location preferences and avoid future regrets.
Regret #3: Buying a “Money Pit” = fear of missing out, instead of learning as much as possible
Impatient buyers who jump into a purchase, pressured by multiple offers, egged on by deceptively clever staging, or who skip a home inspection can run into unwelcome expensive surprises. A house can “look” great but be full of problems: bad wiring, old plumbing, insufficient insulation, water leaks, structural issues, and other costly headaches. For example, these problems often materialize when “gut it” renovations are conducted to create the much-touted open-concept main floor. Open-concept homes, where kitchen, living room, dining room, and perhaps family room are combined as one wall-less space, can end up being considerably more expensive than budgeted for. Investigate property condition to get the facts and avoid renovation regrets.
Regret #4: Playing not to lose = fear of perceived risk, instead of playing to win by using professional expertise
Fear of making wrong decisions can make buyers overly cautious and risk-adverse. In real estate, this hesitant approach can lead buyers to settle for less. If fear of risk is out of proportion to the actual risk involved, buyers may be shortchanged, that is, they’ll make an OK real estate purchase instead of a great one. Real estate professionals understand this important distinction for buyers. Long-term financial gains coupled with future lifestyle benefits are not always easy for buyers to visualize, especially when the property is not in the best condition or staged in a style that is not their own. Professionals see beyond the current presentation of the property to anticipate what it may become for specific buyers:
- When buyers are resistant to experienced input or fixated on preconceived ideas or fads, the outcome may not be as good or fulfilling as buyers hoped.
- When the real estate professional explains present and future value to a buyer who acts on this knowledge, results can be amazing.
Act in your own best interest – play to win the best possible outcome. Emphasize foresight when buying real estate and you’ll avoid regrets in hindsight.
Call me for all your real estate needs. I will put my years of experience in real estate to work for you…. knowledge, expertise, professionalism, reputation. 508-735-5161 [email protected].
Elaine Quigley, CBR, CRS, GRI
57 East Main Street, Suite 217
Westborough, MA 01581
Business: (508) 366-4266
Cell: (508) 735-5161