Andrew Wetzel's Musings

March 23, 2019

Buyer Regrets: Hopefully Too Few to Mention

Filed under: Buying,Ethics,Hiring an agent — awetzel @ 4:42 PM

Many buyers express regrets after moving into their next home.  Some feel the need to resell it which can cost thousands of dollars in closing costs not to mention the possibility of their selling it for less than they paid.  Others will remain in the house and deal with whatever regrets they have.  Over the years many sellers have told me that they should not have bought their house.

This is worse than “buyer remorse” which may cause a buyer to terminate an agreement before taking possession.  That still may have a serious cost attached to it especially if the buyer defaults on a purchase agreement.  Either way, I respectfully suggest that many if not most buyer regrets are the direct result of buyers choosing to conduct a search “their way” instead of following a tried and true plan.  Many buyers wait to hire an agent so they are left to fend for themselves.  Competition may also lead to a hasty purchase decision.  The 24/7 availability of information gives many buyers a comfortable feeling about the process.  However, they are, at best, receiving a lot of conflicting, incomplete or false information rather than using REAL knowledge.

When I meet a buyer I ask that they do two things:  get financially pre-qualified so that they know their situation and comfort level AND determine their “wants” and “needs” so that we can begin to focus on identifying locations, prices and features for them to consider.  Once they start to embrace those two foundations, we can really begin to put together a list of properties for them to consider.  Unfortunately, many buyers get distracted by the lure of seeing houses which may lead to their finding one they think they like without their being prepared to pursue it or knowing if it is really THE BEST ONE available for them.

So, what is my plan?  I use their information to do an initial MLS search.  The criteria I use will likely evolve but we have to start somewhere.  Of course I fully expect my clients to search online as they consider different options as well as to attend open houses and do anything else that they think they need to do as long as I know the best criteria to search.  We are a team and need to have the same goal.

If my search yields dozens of houses, I suggest they narrow their focus.  If I only identify a handful they should likely expand their options.  My typical buyer makes a purchase decision after actually viewing 10-12 houses.  Trust me, after awhile they start to blend together!  Many buyers forget what they saw by the time a house tour ends so I try to limit a tour to 5 or 6 houses but that depends on what they want and their circumstances.  Buyer agents who do relocation probably wish it were that easy.  I have shown 17 or 18 houses during a tour and that generally makes no sense for most of us even if they are tightly clustered.

After identifying the initial “list” of properties, I email them to my clients and ask them to look at them and then drive by all of them so that they can prioritize them.  This not a perfect situation as the MLS may be incomplete as far as pictures and descriptions so a buyer may not really be sure they will like the house.  If they wait for the agent to complete the MLS information it may be too late to get in let alone to make an offer.  Even though a specific listing may not appeal to them, driving into and through neighborhoods may help a buyer evaluate whether they like those areas or not especially if they are not familiar with an area they have chosen to consider.  They may think they know an area really well but probably have not traveled on every street.  Buyers may also find areas they had not considered.

The goal is twofold:  finalize the list of wants and needs to help me continue to identify new possibilities as they come on the market and to start the process of looking inside.  For example, if a buyer narrows a list to 10 properties and we see the best 5, they are more likely to feel comfortable making an offer if a specific house really stands out.  If a buyer starts to haphazardly look at random houses with different agents they may find one they like but fear making an offer because something better may be available.  The buyer is the boss and gets to decide what to do; my role is to advise.  The process of getting to settlement may have its ups and downs and the stronger a buyer is committed to owning a specific house, the more likely they are to work through any issues that arise such as with any inspections rather than wishing they had spent more time looking at houses.

Most of my buyers remain in their homes for many years.  I look at a house as something you “grow into” rather than “out of”.  My focus is their long-term happiness rather than hoping they will buy and sell frequently!

There is no time for inexperience, empty promises or false expectations!

Remember:  HIRE WISELY!  We are not all the same!

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