Buyer's Remorse

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Buyer's remorse is the term given to the feeling of deep regret and concern a person often goes through after making a large purchase. Buyer’s remorse follows the initial excitement at the time of the purchase, when a feeling creeps in that a wrong decision has been made.


Why should I be aware of this?

Buyer's remorse is mostly typified by a high level of anxiety, usually about having made the wrong decision.

On many occasions buyer's remorse strikes after a purchase for which the buyer actually did not have the money or credit for – when the realization sets in that they were living well outside of their means. Buying a new home is one of the most common triggers for buyer's remorse, especially because huge amounts of money are usually involved.

All about Buyer's Remorse

Psychologically, buyers are in a positive frame of mind before they make the purchase. Their purchasing power gives them the power to exert their dominance over the marketplace. The great deal of choices before them also adds to that sense of power. After the purchase they tend to lose a great deal of this feeling.

Once after purchase when all options vanish, buyer's remorse may set in. It is a time when they are no longer in control. Buyer's remorse is, in this way, seen as a very simple state of cognitive dissonance, where the desire to retain complete control and infinite possibilities clashes with the reality of actually exerting that control by limiting those possibilities.

Feeling that purchase was made at wrong time

Buyer's remorse may also center around the feeling that a purchase was made at the wrong time, and waiting would have given a better deal. This is mostly seen in the technology and automobiles sector where new generations of products are released regularly. Immediately after purchase regret creeps in that they could have waited for the next generation to come out.

The buying act itself sometimes triggers buyer’s remorse due to extreme guilt over the act of buying. This especially happens with people who have a problem of overconsumption, when they regret succumbing once again to an addiction. This may also manifest as a concern for how others will view their purchases, especially if they may easily be viewed as frivolous or in bad judgment.

What can I do?

Rationalize the purchase by assuring yourself that though you spent a large amount of money, you got good value in return. Make a determination to stick to your budget henceforth to make up for the impulsive purchase. Avoid impulse purchase Take time to make a major purchase. Mulling over a purchase decision and the anticipation of making a large purchase can be part of the fun, so take the time to plan your major purchases. Do a personal survey first on competitive brands, style, quality, and warranty, and always ensure you're dealing with a reputable dealer or retailer.

Plan your purchases in advance

After you plan to buy something, assess the benefits, understand your needs against your wants and do a cost analysis. Then you'll be confident that you've made the right choice.

Make informed purchases

Move around enough to ensure you to get the best price. Alternately you can do a lot of research on the Internet. Weigh the option of upgrading instead of buying immediately.

Set a budget

Set a budget for purchases and stick to it. If you're tempted to upgrade on the spot, go have a coffee to give yourself some time to think. Better still, sleep on it and return the next day if you still feel it's good value for your money.

Don’t be swayed by others’ opinion

Be confident and don’t let yourself be swayed by other people's opinions, however well meaning they may be.

Stop shopping

Once you've purchased what you wanted, stop shopping around.

Be positive

Stop second-guessing yourself, and don't dwell on the negatives. If you're truly unhappy with your purchase, see if you can return it. Otherwise, focus on the positives and enjoy what you paid for.

Buyer's remorse in house purchase

Buyer’ remorse is felt most in the case of home buying. Home is the most expensive thing most of us ever buy and we all want to be sure we've taken the right decision.. Take these steps to determine if your doubts are buyer's remorse or an indication that there's a genuine problem with the home.

Find your wants and needs list and try to evaluate them:

  • Does the home include the most important things on the list?
  • What qualities made the house you chose stand out from the others you looked at?
  • Did you find many houses that met your needs or was this one a rarity?
  • If you can back out of the contract, is it realistic to think you will find a house that's "better?"
  • What was special about the house just a few days ago and how has it changed--really changed?

Correct an honest answers to these will help you understand whether it was truly a poor choice or a correct one.

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Additional information


  • What is buyer's remorse?
  • Limit buyer's remorse
  • How to Avoid Home Buyer's Remorse