You searched for homes, researched and investigated neighborhoods and school districts, you made the offer, and—boom!—you’re a new homeowner! This should be one of the happiest times of your life…so why do you feel like you may have made a mistake?
This is called buyer’s remorse, and it’s as typical as the common cold. Don’t worry…Statistics say: 74 percent of first-time buyers like their new home better than their previous residence, and 67 percent of repeat home buyers like their new home better.
What Does the Law Say?
You legally have three days to change your mind and cancel the contract. Right? Wrong! No law actually exists. The only way to cancel your contract is if cancellation rights are written in your purchase contract. Usually, a buyer can cancel only for failure to qualify for mortgage financing after a good-faith effort, or based on the reasonable disapproval of some aspect of the home.
What constitutes “reasonable disapproval of some aspect of the home”?
• Notice of violations of building, zoning, fire or health laws
• Flood hazard designation (resulting in the need for flood hazard insurance)
• The title commitment report from the title company (which may indicate liens, unpaid taxes and easements restricting the use of the property)
Before You Sign a Contract Review the Following
• The Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement
• Homeowners association disclosures (such as restrictions in the community’s covenants, conditions and restrictions or other governing documents)
• Cost to repair any septic or other waste-disposal system
• Swimming-pool-barrier law compliance
• Lead-based paint information (for homes constructed prior to 1978)
• Termite- or wood-infestation reports
• Damage to the home that exceeds 10 percent of the purchase price (by fire, flood, or act of God)
• Information obtained from the home inspection (this may reveal poor property conditions)
The best way to prevent buyer’s remorse is to prepare yourself in advance, long before you sign on the dotted line. When buyer’s remorse hits, as it very well may, remind yourself why you wanted to buy a house in the first place.
Now pop open the Champaign and celebrate your new home!