Finding my way, sharing my finds

Seller’s Remorse is Real. Why It Happens And How To Deal

Home Selling 6I remember when I originally purchased my first home in September 2012, my mom (who was also my real estate agent) suggested that I might face some buyer’s remorse.

This is the sense of regret after making a purchase and it can often accompany the purchase of an expensive object.  Sometimes it stems from fear of making the wrong choice or suspicion of having been overly influenced by the seller.

I was slightly worried about getting buyer’s remorse, especially given that I was now $103,000 in debt after signing the final contract.

But I never did get it. I loved my new 2 bedroom, 2.5-bathroom townhome. I had gotten it for a great price ($8,000 off list price) and it was the perfect fit for me.  More than that, it had a great location right by a park with a lake and it was close enough to uptown Charlotte while still preserving that sense of privacy and distance I craved.

Fast forward 2.5 years and I recently closed on the sale of that first home.

I hadn’t expected to be selling it so soon.  But major life changes dictated that now was the time to sell. (I promise, I’m getting to this in a blog soon).

And man, it really was a good time to sell!  I had a purchase offer on my home in 15 days.  I was thrilled.  Everything felt like it was falling into place,  setting me up for the next great chapter of my life.

But then, it suddenly hit me about a week later while I was at work: That’s not going to be my home anymore in a few weeks.

I felt this sinking feeling in my gut.  And my chest felt hollow, like someone had ripped out my heart. I felt anxious, remorseful  and sad all at the same time.

It occurred to me that while I’d escaped buyer’s remorse, I was dealing with a serious case of seller’s remorse. And I didn’t quite understand why.

So What Is Seller’s Remorse and What Causes It?

Seller’s remorse is this feeling of regret over selling your home.  Sometimes, this feeling can have really costly consequences. For instance, some sellers may end up buying back their old home for a much higher price than it’s worth as a way of treating the remorse. Other sellers might back out of a contract because of seller’s remorse, which can sometimes result in lawsuits from buyers.

I searched the Internet and here are the top reasons I found for why people develop seller’s remorse:

  • Sellers didn’t get their asking price or believe they accepted an offer that was too low.
  • They have made the logical decision to downsize but then, the harsh reality of that decision hits them as they’re forced to sell extra furniture, some of which has been in the family for years.  This also forces some sellers to face the fact that they’re getting older and this is a new chapter in their life.
  • They made an impulsive decision to move and now they’re legally obligated to follow trough with the sale.
  • They’re being forced to sell for financial reasons. This is particularly damning because on the one hand, they’re glad to be out from under the debt but on the other hand, they’re devastated by letting go of their dream home.
  • They’re unable to find a new home that appeals to them as much as their last home did.
  • They’re leaving behind so many memories in their old home that it causes a lot of emotional strife.  They essentially built a life for themselves in the home and now they’re leaving it behind.

For me, I think a lot of my seller’s remorse stemmed from that last reason.

Me entering my new home for the first time on the day I closed on it.

Me entering my new home for the first time on the day I closed on it.

After all, this was my very first home. And not only that, but I purchased it as a single female at the age of 24.

This really was an important milestone for me as I value my independence a great deal. I’ve never wanted to be the kind of female that moves straight from her father’s house to her husband’s house. I wanted to be able to say I lived on my own first.

And while I have pretty much lived on my own in apartments for the last six years, there’s nothing quite like owning your own home.  Knowing your name is the only one on the deed…having the freedom to do whatever you want to the backyard because it’s your land after all… feeling the pride of maintaining the home because it is yours to keep… it’s a wonderful feeling.

Owning the place in which you live really does change how you view the property.

When something would break at the apartments, I would just call the maintenance guys and have them fix it.  I really didn’t care if I forgot to turn the vents on in the bathroom while I showered because I knew I wouldn’t be around long enough to see the mold growing anyway.  And forget about any interior improvements – I wasn’t going to throw away my money improving a place I wasn’t going to live in anyway within a couple of years.

But with owning a home, there really was a sense of pride. There’s also a real yearning to plant down roots and a deep-seated desire to preserve the property as much as possible so it lasts a great many years.

After all, I was envisioning getting married while living at that home and, years down the road, having kids. Often, as I was driving home from work, I’d daydream about walking my first born to school at the nearby Pineville Elementary or watching my child play little league at the nearby athletic complex.

I could really see my life unfolding there.

Given all that, it’s no wonder I felt seller’s remorse.  While I knew that it was the best decision for my life (which is about to face a number of major changes), it still hurt to make that emotional break.  After all, I wasn’t just saying goodbye to past memories but future memories as well.

How to Treat Seller’s Remorse

Here are the best suggestions I found online:

  • Make sure you have a solid reason for selling your home before you list.  Some of the common reasons include:
    • The home is too small for a growing family
    • They’re trying to fix a mistake in buying the wrong home in the first place
    • Job transfer
    • Personal relationship changes like divorce
    • Neighborhood changes
    • Divorce
    • New empty nesters
    • To see family more often
    • To see family less often
    • Retirement
    • Health Problems
    • Deferred maintenance
  • When in doubt, stay out.  If you’re not sure if you have really solid reasons for wanting to sell your home, hold off.  You want to be sure that that is what you want before you list your home. After all, the market is improving so much lately that you could have an offer within hours of listing.  And if you haven’t fully considered the implications of selling your home, that could lead to a serious case of seller’s remorse.
  • Work with a real estate agent you trust and make sure that you are involved and present-minded during the negotiation process so that you feel like you’re invested and in control when a purchase offer is improved.
  • Remind yourself that seller’s remorse is completely natural and most homeowners feel varying degrees of it.
  • Have a clear plan for where you’re going to go after the sale of your home is finalized.
  • Stay positive by focusing on your new home. Remember that these feelings are likely to dissipate once you’re settled into your new place and you start turning that house into a home.
  • Try to not second-guess your decision.  It’s done already and it happened for a reason. It’s time to move forward.
  • Remember what motivated you to sell in the first place. You might even keep that list handy with you so that you can reference it whenever those regrets crop up again.
  • Take the time to appreciate the memories you made in your old home and to give your home a proper farewell.

I think I’m going to give that last suggestion a try in my next blog.  I think it will give me the closure I seek and also give me a chance to properly honor what my home in Pineville meant to me.

For now,

Be well.





19 comments on “Seller’s Remorse is Real. Why It Happens And How To Deal

  1. debbiearriero
    April 17, 2015

    Great Blog! I love it!

    • emeraldgazes
      January 10, 2016

      Thanks mom! And thanks for all of your help through the home selling process!

  2. Ralph
    December 19, 2015

    I suffered and still suffer really badly from sellers remorse 6 months ago I sold our little street house of 12 years which had been finished to a high standard and I mean perfect in everyway (check it out 27 camelon street, Thornaby) To purchase a complete money pit which had problems with damp, asbestos, flooding issues, no earthing, totally energy inefficient, leaking roof, rotten timbers condensation issues, and would of required 20k worth of repairs to put it even livable standards and condition not to mention the boiler replacement and kitchen plus decor (my own daft fault not getting survey done) in the end after 5 months of dilberation and turmoil we decided to part exchange for new build…but I still miss my orginal little street house like crazy and would have done anything to turn back the clock but that’s life I’m just thankful I got rid without loosing too much money

    • emeraldgazes
      January 10, 2016

      That does sound really unfortunate and I could understand why you’re still missing your original home. I did check it out and it does look quite lovely and cozy. I do believe that we get attached to our home not just because of the brick/mortar but because of where we’re at in our lives at the time of owning that property and all the memories we form inside. But hopefully as you build up memories in your new house, it will earn a special place in your heart too. Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting!

  3. Bea
    December 12, 2016

    Very good article. I also have sellers remorse. Selling my home of 28 yrs. Kids are grown and one is living 150 miles away; the other is 350 miles away. Thought for yrs about moving closer to the one who is 150 miles away to be closer to grandkids. But, the thought was for in the future, not now. But we saw a small (very small) house in their town and decided to sell our place and buy that house. We put our house on the marked and the second people to see our house put a full price bid on it–which I didn’t think would happen in a million yrs. I figured it would be on the market for the 6 month contract and then we would get out of it and stay here to live happily ever after, telling the kids we tried to sell but it didn’t work out. Now we have a closing in 4 days from now and I am devastated. I am constantly crying and almost paralyzed from getting things done that need done. Wish I could go to sleep and never wake up again. So sad.

    • emeraldgazes
      December 13, 2016

      Thank you so much for writing. And I’m so sorry to hear that the experience of selling your long-time home has not been a positive one and has actually been quite the distressing experience. I can totally understand though. You weren’t anticipating that it would sell at all – much less so quickly. And now it’s sold after a short period of time and you’re needing to move forward to your next home. I don’t know what your beliefs are but I do believe that sometimes “God does for us what we cannot do for ourselves.” – If it sold quickly despite your not wanting that, maybe there is a reason for that that you’re not yet aware of. Perhaps more will be revealed once you do move to your new home.

      I wish you the best and I do hope things get better. Thanks again for reading my blog and commenting.

      • Bea
        December 13, 2016

        I do pray Gods will is being done in this entire process. Thank you for your kind words. You stated exactly what I am feeling better than I was able to express!

    • Sheri
      July 17, 2018

      That is exactly how I feel and we sold our first home for a cute cabin that my husband dreams of rliving when I retire. Problem is I didn’t anticipate the remorse I felt as soon as it sold. ( I thought we could stall for 6 months too) I feel the exact same way and unfortunately the location is more isolated and farther away from friends. It is not the perfect set-up to leave my 2 dogs at-the way our other place was. I feel trapped and my stomachs hurts all of the time. My husband and I talked a couple of years about this-I only wish I had read this article first. But I hope u will add me to your blog-I need to try and cope better.

    • Bea
      July 18, 2018

      Its been 1 1/2 yrs now since we moved and my heart still aches for “home”, the house we sold to move closer to children/grandchildren. I love being close to the kids but I hate (strong word but it is how I feel) where I live now.

  4. Gail Coplen
    January 2, 2017

    I am going through exactly this emotion. Just sold my farm that I purchased when I was 26yrs old. Moving from Lindsay ON to Perth ON to another farm but it is still a big change. I was great up untill this week and it hit me hard. I have many animals and my life to re adjust and it is terrifying. Have even contemplated backing out–we have two firm realestate deals at this point. HELP

    • Dave
      January 20, 2017

      There needs to be more articles written on just how much moving home can affect someone, it is up there with bereavement of a loved one in extreme cases, especially if the existing home has been built with a lot of care and love. I sold mine and I was crippled with loss for months but longer term it really did change my life and although I entered the dark night of the soul as a result of it I am truely thankful for the person it has made me, I wouldn’t wish that experience on my worst enemy. I’d love my old place back but pointless looking back now, what’s done is done. In your case fear barriers are there to be smashed through there is no growth in comfort they say, if you really want to experience change go for it, but you have to jump, when you jump your parachute will open, but you have to jump, at first through your parachute might be delayed and your back is jarred on the rocks…but you have to jump!!! The caves we fear to enter holds the treasures we seek!

  5. Liza
    January 22, 2018

    thank you for this article! I am currently feeling seller’s remorse for my condo while the offer is still pending. I was on vacation during the negotiation process, not mentally present and ended up accepting an offer much lower than I had hoped for. 😦 I am trying to get past it but it is still very fresh.

    • emeraldgazes
      January 23, 2018

      Hey Liza! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I totally understand why you would be feeling seller’s remorse during that experience. Maybe there’s a feeling of lack of closure since you weren’t present for the negotiations.

      I’ll be praying that you have an outcome that leaves you with peace in your heart.

  6. Rhoda
    February 18, 2018

    I love my home beautiful custom built. The house was just to big and to much upkeep. My fear is not being able to find another home to buy. Everything on the market is way over priced or there’s several buyers in line. Will have to rent a room until find something. I didn’t expect my house to sale the next day. I didn’t do the research and listed my home to low. So lots of reasons to have sellers remorse.

    • emeraldgazes
      February 26, 2018

      Rhoda, I can understand why you would be feeling some seller’s remorse, given the quick sale and how much your home meant to you. Sending prayers and positive vibes your way that God would guide you to the right home for you at this next stage of your life and that he would place peace on your heart when you find that home.

      Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog!

  7. suzanne
    June 25, 2018

    I love this blog and realize I am not alone! I am so torn between my husband wanting to move to a warmer climate, downsize, etc. for retirement, and my wanting to remain close to my children/baby grandchild. However, I know it is best for our years ahead to not have this home. I will continue to read the blog. I hope I will be ok once we move. We have an offer on the house and I am told it could take six to 8 weeks to close, which is fine by me. So many memories in this beautiful home I will miss it so much as will my children.

    • emeraldgazes
      July 4, 2018

      Hi Suzanne! Your situation sounds very familiar as this is something my parents are going through right now. I understand that downsizing can be a very difficult experience, especially when you have so many memories in your house. I hope you and your husband ultimately settle in a place that you can both be content in. I think you can rest assured though that “Home is Where the Heart Is” and each time your children and grandchildren come visit in your new home, you’ll be able to make cherished memories there. For the time being, I think it’s okay to grieve a little at the loss of your current home and to celebrate all of the memories in it.

      Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog!

  8. Mike
    July 3, 2018

    Thank you for this post, I am glad this is a real thing. Does it get better? I sold my house in a beautiful neighborhood and accepted an offer that was 30 thousand over asking before it hit the market. I put my heart and soul into the house. Yet still, I am running away from feelings every day, trying to tell remind myself why I sold. This is exacerbated by the fact that it sold so quickly I needed to find a place to live and settled on a condo I thought i liked, but it is completely not the same at all! There were legitimate reasons to sell the house (it was so much work, it was eating my bank account, the pressure of maintaining it). I could have made it work, but just wanted to make a change…give myself some financial breathing room. I didn’t know how much pride I had inside of owning that house. I’m 33 years old and felt established, and although i made a lot of money on the sale and still own another property (I still own a rental property and cash flow it nicely, but I don’t feel like a homeowner anymore since I don’t live in it), I feel as though I want to turn back the hands of time. What’s done is done though, and I know I will own again someday. It’s just a journey.

    • emeraldgazes
      July 4, 2018

      Hi Mike! I can understand your situation – although it sounds like your sale was an excellent move financially, there’s no getting around the feeling of loss over past memories and your personal investment of heart and soul into your old home.

      For some reason, your post reminded me of this Bible verse:

      Ecclesiastes 3 King James Version (KJV)
      3 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

      2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

      3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

      4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

      5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

      6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

      7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

      8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

      In other words, this home you just sold was a wonderful season in your life. As you said, it’s all a journey. Have faith that there will more more seasons that are just as wonderful and memorable in their own way. For now, hold on to the memories you have in your first home.

      Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog!

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This entry was posted on April 17, 2015 by in Life Happens and tagged , , .
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