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What If You Have Buyer's Remorse?

Buy a jacket that looked fab in the store, but not so much at home and you can probably fix the situation by returning it to the store.

Returning an apartment? Not so simple and generally not without some cost, but – until you close – you can change your mind about purchasing a home that suddenly seems too small or too large or too expensive.

Consequences of walking away

Depending upon the terms of your contract, walking away from a deal could cost you some or all of the deposit you paid when you submitted your offer. If you’re close to your closing date, you may also have to forfeit your earnest money. Some contracts also have provisions that mean you could be held responsible for expenses incurred by the seller as a result of the on-again-off-again sale.

There are a few reasons a buyer can get out of a home deal without costly consequences. Your purchase contract will include several clauses – known as contingencies – relating to the sale. These contingencies are legal loopholes that allow you back out of the contract under certain circumstances. If, for instance, you’ve made a good-faith effort but can’t secure financing, your contract’s mortgage contingency may allow for the full refund of your deposit.

Options after closing

If your case of buyer’s remorse doesn’t set in until after closing, you’re probably out of luck. But, if you believe the seller was deceitful in his representation of the property, you might be able to take him to court but that, too, will come with costs.

It’s not uncommon for a buyer to wonder if he paid too much or bought in a neighborhood that was not nearly as up-and-coming as he’d hoped. You can minimize your housing doubts by heading into the buying process with a clear list of wants and needs. When you think you’ve found your dream home, go over your list of wishes and see how it matches up. Don’t think you can live with the compromises this apartment represents? Don’t sign the contract.

The process of finding a home that’s just-right can be arduous, but it’s time and energy well spent if it results in long-term housing happiness.

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