UrbanTurf Reader Asks: What Should I Do Now That I Have Cold Feet?

by Mark Wellborn


In this week’s installment of UrbanTurf Reader Asks, a reader who is under contract on a condo in the U Street Corridor and has cold feet is wondering if there is anything she should do before deciding to pull out of the contract.

I was excited to buy my first place and I am now under contract on a condo in the U Street Corridor after losing out on two other properties. The only problem is that I am now starting to get cold feet! I’m worried that the space (which is smaller than the apartment I currently rent and will be more expensive) is not big enough for me. I’m also worried that I might not be getting a “good” deal. Is there anything I should do before deciding whether to pull out of the deal or not? Is this common among buyers? My three-day window for reviewing the condominium documents is approaching, which is my last chance to get out of the deal if I decide I am not interested.

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This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/urbanturf_reader_asks_what_should_i_do_now_that_i_have_cold_feet/1693


  1. benji said at 3:58 pm on Tuesday January 19, 2010:

    I think that you are having just the normal jitters of a first-time homebuyer. I bought a one-bedroom condo about a year ago in Col Hts. and agonized for weeks over if I was making the right decision. I now love my place and looking back, am glad that I didn’t back out.

  1. Michael said at 5:32 pm on Tuesday January 19, 2010:

    If you didn’t play hardball, ie. you pursued this property at great length and didn’t negotiate a lot, then these jitters are probably a last-ditch effort by your sub-conscious telling you to pull the plug!

  1. George said at 6:35 pm on Tuesday January 19, 2010:

    I agree with, benji. It is pretty common to have these feelings as you move towards buying your first home. Unless you have serious reservations, I would move forward.

  1. HomeEconomics said at 7:15 pm on Tuesday January 19, 2010:

    Have you ordered an appraisal yet?

    Most condos aren’t appraising at the contract price these days in the DC area, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see yours come in low and you could exit gracefully that way.

    Short story: I was in a similar situation (not enough space, didn’t feel like the value was justified, and didn’t like the future market direction or economic outlook). Went into appraisal and it came in low and we used the FHA appraisal clause to get out of the contract. Three months later, I’m renting and couldn’t be happier with the decision not to buy.

    If you had these kinds of questions about marriage, then you would probably postpone the decision. The same should apply to one of the largest financial decisions of your life.

    Don’t get bullied into a huge obligation by members of the real estate industry. Only do it if it feels right.

  1. Georgetowner said at 9:11 pm on Tuesday January 19, 2010:

    I think jitters are common also.  That said, you mentioned you got a place smaller than what you currently rent.  That’s a little worrisome.  If your current place more than adequately meets your needs, you might be fine… on the other hand, you might resent it if you need to downgrade your lifestyle.

    You also have to worry about whether this condo will meet your needs 2-3 or even 7 years from now.  as you’ll likely take a loss if you need to sell.

  1. col hghts said at 10:37 pm on Tuesday January 19, 2010:

    yeah i had the same thing…but it should not overtake your thoughts…if you have bad cold feet then you need to educate yourself via market research and other factors, job stability. get on redfin and craigslist and see how much places are going for in your area and then see how much places rent for…so that you can see if you could be saving more renting. if monthly payments are your concern. in general know your market and in dc know your neighborhood since it is very neighborhood specific.

  1. Janson said at 11:53 am on Wednesday January 20, 2010:

    If you are not married, this is the biggest commitment of your life: the condo owns you, not the other way around. For example, you are binding yourself to a portion of the liabilities of the building as a whole. So although it is completely natural to be nervous about the commitment even when it’s a good one, in my opinion, you must feel confident that you are very significantly improving your life both financially and emotionally to commit. Remember, unlike marriage, a purchase, in this market, is not reversible without very serious pain.

  1. Dennis said at 11:56 am on Wednesday January 20, 2010:

    Buyer’s remorse is “real” is a normal and very real phenomenon.

    Be sure to calculate the affordability AFTER the tax benefits of home ownership…. 

    Think about how you’ll use your first time buyer tax credit…. 

    U Street is a great place to invest….

  1. Maria said at 12:54 pm on Wednesday January 20, 2010:

    Why buy a smaller place for more money when you can rent a larger place for less.  I know we’ve all been conditioned that being a homeowner is the thing to do, but not if it doesn’t make common sense.

  1. w_schulz@acs.org said at 2:53 pm on Thursday January 21, 2010:

    I had buyers remorse when I bought my condo in the U St. corridor—in 1995. Everyone told me I paid way too much for it—about $100k. It recently appraised at $400k and I couldn’t be happier with where I live.

  1. Anon said at 7:04 pm on Thursday January 21, 2010:

    This is a 2bdrm/2bath for $500k in the U St. corridor.  I’m just hoping I won’t loose any money if I decide to sell in 5 yrs!  Making money is too much to wish for these days.

    Thanks for all of the advice.  I will probably go for it, and hopefully will live to thank the stars I did!

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