What happens when you fall out of love with your home

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

So, living in your dream home isn’t exactly what you thought it would be like. Do you cut and run or can the relationship be saved?

You did your homework, you knew exactly what you wanted and have bought what you thought was the perfect home. You move in and everything is just peachy – at first. Then reality sets in and you begin to fall out of love and regret the decision to buy.

The honeymoon is well and truly over, but does this mean you should pack up and sell? Probably not.

Buyer’s remorse hits us all at one point or another. The bathroom that seemed to be a little on the small side when you first looked at the home has become a claustrophobic nightmare. The fully fitted kitchen doesn't have enough space and well, you simply don't love the home as much as you did when you first moved in.

“The emotion we have tied to our homes is immeasurable,” says Paige Rien, author of Love the House You're In. As in any relationship, as we start to see things or people for what they really are, the initial glow we felt often wears off. However, like with any relationship, this generally doesn't mean that we should walk away. With this in mind, it may be time to reassess the relationship you have with your home and make some changes in order to make it work for you.

According to Rein, the first question you need to ask yourself is: have you given it enough time?

“Having a little buyer’s remorse after a home purchase is natural,” she says. “Especially during the first year or so. That’s because it takes time to make a house into a home.”

She recommends remorseful homeowners put their own personal stamp on their homes before they make a decision to throw in the towel and move on.

As we've stated before, property is a long term investment and those who sell too quickly run the risk of losing money. If selling isn't an option, then consider ways to make the idea of living in the home more attractive.

Homeowners who are unhappy with certain aspects of the home could consider renovating the areas which have lost their appeal. Obviously, some issues are going to be more expensive to resolve than others and if it isn't financially feasible, then consider making cosmetic changes (such as putting mirrors on the wall in a minute bathroom to create the illusion of space) or getting rid of seldom used kitchen items, to freeing up additional space. These minor improvements could go a long way toward making a situation more tolerable.

Unfortunately, it's not just the aesthetics of a home that can cause homeowners to regret a purchase. Deciding to move to a new area far from friends and family can also lead to buyer’s remorse. Most of us have a dream of where we’d really like to live and unsurprisingly, most of the time this doesn't involve moving to suburbia. Living near the mountains or in a place with a fantastic sea view can be the stuff that dreams are made of, but unfortunately, sometimes dramatic change comes with its own set of challenges. Moving away from a place with which you are familiar is difficult, regardless of how beautiful your new location. The best advice for anyone who finds themselves in this situation is to go about building a new network of friends as quickly as possible. Consider joining the local country club or a charitable organisation such as Lions, Round Table or Rotary. Arranging for friends and family to come and visit will also go a long way in ensuring that the transition is a happy one.

Try and be objective about why you no longer love your home. As with any marriage (or partnership) the road may be bumpy, but with the right level of commitment, you may just find that you start falling in love with your home all over again.

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