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Buyer’s remorse

Buyer’s remorse is a money term you need to understand. Here’s what it means.

What is buyer’s remorse?

Buyer’s remorse is a feeling of regret or anxiety after making a purchase. It usually occurs after a person makes a significant purchase, such as a home or new car, but it can occur after smaller purchases.

Deeper definition

A person might feel buyer’s remorse after buying something for a number of reasons. The feeling usually stems from anxiety that the decision to buy was the wrong one.

A person might feel remorse because he or she becomes convinced that there’s a better option.

In some cases, buyers experience regret because they purchased something they can’t really afford or took a significant amount of debt to cover the cost of an item. Some people buy things they’ll never use and regret the decision.

There are ways a person can avoid experiencing buyer’s remorse. With a smaller and ill-planned purchase, returning the item often can alleviate feelings of guilt. If a person regularly experiences buyer’s remorse, he or she can implement a waiting period of at least one day before any purchases. After waiting a day, the person can better decide if he or she really needs the item.

The Federal Trade Commission has a law known as the Cooling-Off Rule, which gives a person three days to cancel a sale made in their home or at a temporary location. This rule does not include housing, automobiles and a number of other items.

In those instances, coping with buyer’s remorse can be more complicated. After closing on a home, often the only way to get out of the purchase is to find something significantly wrong with the property that wasn’t disclosed. You also can resell the house if you really regret the purchase.

Contemplating a resale? Consider a few things first.

Buyer’s remorse example

One example of experiencing buyer’s remorse might be deciding to purchase a trendy outfit that you know you will never wear. At the store, you might feel pressure from friends or a salesman to buy it and had the reassurance that it looked great on you. At home, you realize you didn’t want to spend the money. You return the item, get your money back and ease any feelings of regret.

Want to avoid buyer’s remorse when purchasing a home? Use this checklist during your home inspection to make sure the home is in good shape.

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