Hawaii Randy's Real Estate Opinions: Buyer’s Remorse

Buyer’s Remorse

                                                                                     Home Buyers 

One of the things we have all faced is buyer's remorse.  Buying a home is extremely stressful for most clients.  We in the profession who do this on a daily basis can easily treat the process of buying a home like a routine act.  It may be for us, but not for our buyers.  This is the biggest thing they will buy in their life in most cases.

Did they get the perfect home?  Did they get it at the right price?  How will they ever make those huge mortgage payments?  What if something bad happens like the roof leaks.  Being renters they never had to deal with things like that, they just called the landlord.

This process is quite scary for many folks.  As REALTORS® we not only help our clients find a property and draw up contracts, we need to take away the pain of purchasing.  Being part sales person, part psychologist and part trouble shooter, I pride myself on making the process of buying a home as painless as possible for my clients.

One thing I learned early on is to never push a buyer.  The worst thing you can do is push a buyer into making a decision that they will regret and possibly pull out of later.  When representing a buyer patience is a virtue. 

In the last week I have had a couple of clients who reminded me of that. 

The first found a home they liked and decided to put in an offer.  The offer was accepted verbally.  A day later the buyers changed their mind before the counter offer for some housekeeping issues could be signed.  I went over in my mind what had happened and questioned if I did anything that may have pushed them into a decision they were not comfortable with.  To the best of my recollection I did not, but will definitely be even more sensitive in the future.  The stress given to the sellers is quite unfortunate.  They thought they sold their property that had been on the market for a long time.  I felt real bad for them, as I completely understand how disappointed they must be.  Not to mention the poor listing agent who has worked so hard to sell the property.  The good news was they pulled out up front, and not after the sellers had their property off the market for a period of time.  I am following up with my clients, but trying to give them the needed space to allow them to decide how they want to proceed from here.

The second client saw a couple of properties they liked.  We went back two more times to look at one.  We will be presenting an offer on that one.  The lesson here was that they needed more time to make their decision.  By giving them the needed dwell time they were able to sell themselves on which was the perfect home for them.  I am convinced they will love this home and if I do everything correct they will be a great source of future referrals.

One of the great lessons I have learned in this business is to let the clients tell you which homes they like and not the other way around.  A great tip my broker gave me when I started in the business was to let the client walk ahead of you and watch for their reactions and listen to their comments.  Give them a little space.  Of course I point out features and possible red flags, but I try to let them take it in first.

Always remember they are the ones who will have to live there and pay the bills not you.



Randy L. Prothero, REALTOR®

Broker-in-Charge, ABR, AHWD, CRB, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, MRP, SFR

eXp Realty

Team Leader - "The Prothero Group"

Randy Prothero is well established as an expert in working with military / VA clients and first time home buyers.  His home seller's (listing) campaign is one of the most aggressive marketing programs in the area.  His luxury home listings sell faster and for more money.

Based out of Mililani, Hawaii. Randy services the island of Oahu (Honolulu County) Performs mediations and ombudsman services for the Board of Realtors.  To improve overall professionalism in his area Randy also offers classes for real estate agents. 

www.HawaiiRandy.comOahu (Honolulu County) Property Search  Hawaii Military Relocations

Comment balloon 33 commentsRandy Prothero • December 24 2007 07:15PM


Once we find out they like a certain house and want to proceed we usually give them Buyer's Remorse pills.

M&M's usually wor kgreat and they laugh and feel more at ease.

Posted by Jay McGillicuddy, Real Estate Broker (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Verani Realty) almost 11 years ago

Sometimes we think we're not pushing, and they can think just the opposite. We have rarely every dealt with first time buyers, and I suspect from watching the sensitivity sometimes of experienced buyers, that it has every potential of of being even more so for the first time.

hope you are having a great holiday


Posted by Gary Bolen, CRS - Lake Tahoe Real Estate Information (McCall Realty) almost 11 years ago

Jay - I like that idea.

Gary & Richard - I get a lot of first time buyers.  It is the most rewarding part of this business.  I get a thrill from helping someone get their first home.  I always have to remember they have never been through this process before and it can be scary.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 11 years ago
Nice post...good comments. Its something to think about, always a little pushing and a lot of TLC
Posted by Broker Nick, Broker Nick Relocation Broker Service (South Florida Real Estate & Development, Inc.) almost 11 years ago

I recommend EVERY REALTOR buy a new primary residence every few years... we forget and that will remind us in spades.

Generally you are correct but sometimes you need to lead the buyer to their conclusion... not overbearing or forcefully...but there are times they cannot pull the trigger on their own.

Posted by J Perrin Cornell, Broker, ABR, VAMRES (Century 21 Exclusively, Wenatchee, WA) almost 11 years ago
Nicholas - Thank you
Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 11 years ago
Perrin - I think agents should go through the process including the move.  It is good to walk in the shoes of your clients.
Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 11 years ago
Randy, Buyer's Remorse is so common.  An agent who doesn't understand the phenomenon can't help his buyer work  his way through it.  I am sure your Mililani home buyers  appreciate having your input during what can be a very stressful process.
Posted by Maggie Dokic | Miami, FL | 305.81.HOUSE (46873), GREEN, CDPE, SFR, Pinecrest | Palmetto Bay | (eXp Realty LLC) almost 11 years ago
You mean it isn't as simple as House Hunters.  I would love to be able to narrow things down like that.  How are the townhomes looking in Ocean Pointe?  Have they completed the pier and school yet?  Are the prices moving UP as a result?  
Posted by Latonia Parks, Certified Military Relocation Expert (Top Bragg Realty, Fayetteville NC, Home of the 82d ABN DIV) almost 11 years ago
Gread insight, Randy.  I'll give an opinion if asked but always let them know that the ultimate decision is theirs.  If there is just one little thing that they're not comfortable with, I suggest that they think about it for a day before making a decision.
Posted by Nancy Brenner, Roswell Georgia Real Estate Agent (Referral Associates of Georgia, Inc.) almost 11 years ago
Hi, Randy  I think the key to working with any buyer is to provide copious amounts of information... in my experience it's usually not whether or not they like a house, it's whether they can afford it, what potential issues might pop up later, etc. Information is the perfect cure-all... well, that and M&M's. Those probably help quite a bit.
Posted by Jesse & Kathy Clifton, Retired (Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS®) almost 11 years ago

Randy.... some great words of wisdom in this post. I see so many people on the mortgage side even try to push the buyers into buying a certain house, just because they want the mortgage.  I really try to make sure that they will be very comfortable with the mortgage.  Again, great insight.

jeff belonger
Posted by Jeff Belonger, The FHA Expert - FHA Loans - FHA mortgages - USDA loans - VA Loans ( Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc) almost 11 years ago

Randy your approach is the best way to go, yes the buyer is the one who will have to live there and pay the bills there it is important he or she makes the decision.

Buyers changing their minds can really cause stress for the seller.  I have a seller who has  had this happened to him several times and we can't figure out why the property has not sold.

Posted by Jennifer Fivelsdal, Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection ( JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571) almost 11 years ago


When I show homes to people ..in no way will I ever pressure them into something unless they are fully comfortable...no one wants a deal to fall through do to second thoughts and I want my clients to be happy in their new surroundings.

Posted by Neal Bloom, Realtor CRS-Weston FL Real Estate (eXp Realty) almost 11 years ago
Nice post, Randy. I have always let the house sell itself. I may ask the questions but the buyer decides - totally!
Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) almost 11 years ago


I have been there. Have you ever worked on a large commercial building where people wanted to start a business in it, and out of no where the remorse sets in? That gives you a feeling like concrete in your stomach.

Happy Holidays

Tom Braatz

Posted by Tom Braatz Waukesha County Real Estate 262-377-1459, Waukesha County Realtor Real Estate agent. SOLD! (Coldwell Banker) almost 11 years ago

Maggie - I have been through it more than a few times with clients.  I am sure in the end they will work out their fears.

Latonia - Ocean Pointe is seeing softening prices.  A lot of new development is competing with the resale market.  I am not sure how far along they are with the marina.  I will have to take a look the next time I am over there.

Nancy - I use the phrase a lot.  The decision is ultimately theirs.  I can only give them the data and point out possible red flags; to better help them make an informed decision.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 11 years ago
Very good advise Randy. Sometime, no matter what they get cold feet. I know you took those first buyers out a couple of times and they really seemed like they were all ready to move forward. In any case, you're a great agent and did your best.
Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Liberty Homes) almost 11 years ago
P.S. Sorry I had to send Gary out and that I couldn't come outside last night...I would have scared you all hehe:) No makeup...in my jammies....  Thanks for dropping by and thank you to you and your family!
Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Liberty Homes) almost 11 years ago

Jesse and Kathy - Since losing all this weight I do not keep candy around anymore.  I may have to find a substitute for M&Ms.

Jeff - I have seen that also.  If we take care of the buyers and they buy a home, why would an agent or a loan officer care which one?  If they are not going to buy, wouldn't they prefer it happens up front and not in the middle of the process?

Jennifer - If there is too much inventory.  It may also be the kid in the candy store syndrome also.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 11 years ago

Neal - That is an approach of a true professional.

Gary - That is the safest way.

Tom - I do not do commercial, but can feel your pain.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 11 years ago

Sally - Thank you for the kind words.

P.S. That is the chance you take when you come unannounced.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 11 years ago
I agree that we should never push, but verbal offers are the fastest way to have the whole thing fall apart.
Posted by Lisa Hill, Daytona Beach Real Estate (Florida Property Experts) almost 11 years ago

I actually tell my first-time homebuyers that they will go through the jitters and different emotions and that is is perfectly normal. I tell them they will be excited and then feel sick and then excited, then sick. They laugh but every single time, they tell me they are so nervous they can throw up. I laugh and remind them what I told them. They tend to laugh and agree. I ask them "are you 100% sure" and if they say yes, I tell them let's move forward. If they say they aren't sure, I don't push them but ask what they feel are holding them back.  I try to get all of this done before making offers. I know it won't always work for me but I try.

Posted by LaNita Cates (REMAX of Joliet) almost 11 years ago

Lisa - In this case we had a written offer.  The sellers were in other states and needed to counter only for housekeeping.   My clients accepted verbally so we could make it easier to get the documents back and forth and to escrow before the Christmas shut down.

LaNita - That is a good practice.  It also good to lighten before it becomes a stressful situation.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 11 years ago

Randy great list and comments!  Well done!  I remember moving to Atlanta area (from New York Originally) and a seasoned sales agent told us the worse thing that you could do to a buyer client is patronize them. In other words act as if you know what is best for them.  Buyers resent that and will move on!

Posted by Jim Crawford, Jim Crawford Atlanta Best Listing Agents & REALTOR (Crye-Leike REALTORS®) almost 11 years ago
Jim - Good advice.
Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 11 years ago
So true, Randy. Never make their decisions for them. Noone wants you to sell them anything - they do want you to help them buy.
Posted by Sharon Simms, St. Petersburg FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS (Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International) almost 11 years ago
Sharon - I agree, they will know when they find the home they love.
Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 11 years ago


I had a buyer once who got so nervous she got sick to her stomach.....literally!  Yes, it IS a very important time for them but I've learned to try to make it a fun time to ease their concerns and jitters.

Good points here, Randy!


Lucky :) 

Posted by Lucky Lang, SRES, Davenport, Iowa Real Estate (Mel Foster Co.) almost 11 years ago

Hi Randy,

I love working with first time home buyers! You are so right it takes time and patience, in this market more than ever. They have so many choices, they want to make sure the one they purchase is right! Great post, my friend. :)

Posted by Suzanne Sands, Somerset MA Real Estate (Pavao Real Estate) almost 11 years ago

Great points to keep in mind, especailly with first timers. I always counsel them on the possiblity of these and other feelings during the process and that this normal, and to be expected. I think it's important to be sure we keep in mind that this IS a difficult and scary process for them if they have not been through it before (and even if they have), even if they seem comfortable.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (Solutions Real Estate ) almost 11 years ago

Lucky - That is pretty nervous.

Suzanne - The good thing is we can always find them the perfect home for their needs, being there is some selection.

Jeff - Very true.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 11 years ago

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