Irrational regret at selling house at certain price

(32 Posts)
Erlack Thu 09-May-13 09:57:16

Apologies for the length of this.

I am driving myself completely crazy thinking about the “what ifs” on my recent sale- can somebody please talk some sense into me? I should start by saying I am a bit ashamed to even tell anyone I am upset about this, since I know I should thank my lucky stars when so many people are struggling to sell elsewhere.

We are currently living in a part of Scotland where property prices are showing resilience- our area is quite popular.

We swithered for months about whether to sell my house and do a big move to the country. For reasons I won’t bore you with, we ended up getting a Home Report on the house well before actually going on the market. The HR valuation came back at the exactly the price I paid for it five years ago. The surveyor seemed a bit snippy about our period property generally, including some stuff that we think adds character (apparently the stripped wood flooring is “uneven” in places, that sort of thing). This dented my confidence a bit- not about selling but about what we could reasonably expect by way of price. It did seem to us that at that valuation, my house was going to be something of a bargain compared to others in the area of comparable size- but hey ho.

While all of this was going on, my absolute dream house popped up on the market. I have been in love with this house (from the outside) for about 10 years and suddenly there it was, within our grasp. But we had to move quickly. In an act which would normally be considered insane in this market, we went ahead and offered on it- without having sold and indeed without even quite being on the market yet. The owner accepted our offer for various reasons but made it clear that we would need to conclude missives (exchange) quickly.

We rushed my house on to the market (great fun while working full time with two small children creating a constant bombsite in their wake).

And then I totally, totally panicked. All I could think of, over and over again, was that we could be financially ruined and have absolutely no way to pay for the house we were committed to buying. I knew, rationally we had plenty of time to sell and I knew we would but…then we held an open viewing and NOBODY came. This put me into an even further tailspin- to the point I was lying in bed at night having chest pains.

Then all of a sudden interest picked up- a LOT. To cut a long story short, despite agents urging otherwise, I accepted the first decent enough offer I received (at the valuation price), despite every indication being that there was considerable further interest and it could have easily gone to a closing date. The property market seems to continue to enjoy an upturn here and that has not changed.

I know I should only be grateful- I sold the house, got a reasonable enough price and it will enable us to go forward to buy the dream house. All good, right? But I feel increasingly miserable about it. I cannot stop constantly kicking myself. Had we gone to a closing date, it seems pretty clear we could have reasonably expected at least £5,000 or even more, money which would have cushioned the blow a bit of paying over the odds for the dream house. I look around my lovely house and want to cry. I feel like I gave it away.

What the hell is wrong with me? I keep telling myself to get over it, move on, forget about it- none of which is working.

Beehatch Thu 09-May-13 10:01:46

You are going to have to let this go, there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. Focus on your new home and all the fabulous times you will enjoy in it.

Leave the past in the past.

Congratulations on your new home smile

bootsycollins Thu 09-May-13 10:02:22

What's done is done, accept and concentrate on your dream home. You've had a big change happen really quickly so you probably just need time to get your head round it, once you've accepted it you'll be able to let it go and when you do you'll still have your dream home hooray!. Concentrate on the positives, it's the only way.

iwantavuvezela Thu 09-May-13 10:02:39

I think you did the right thing - to many what if's - and once you have sold it feels like perhaps "maybe" you might have got more - but if you had waited, got £5000 more and lost your dream home would that have been worth it.
In the long run, i dont think it is much money (in property terms) - as you sold, got your dream home ....... i would let it go!
There are so many other unfortunate scenarios you havn't even listed, accepted a higher offer and person pulls out (this happens frequently); have endless open houses waiting for offers and have to deal with all that anxiety; get the offer, only to get someone who negotiates another price .....

iwantavuvezela Thu 09-May-13 10:04:10

what i wanted to add as well, was that we paid about £5000 more for our dream home, we could also have waited, bargained, might have got it for less, but we wanted it, and in the long run, I believe we did the right thing ......
congratulations on your wonderful new home!

Toomuchtea Thu 09-May-13 10:05:54

It is hard. Every now and then I have pangs about letting our house go too cheaply, but we sold it quickly and achieved what we wanted.

There's no guarantee that your house would have gone for any more. If it had you might have had a buyer who mucked you about, or made life difficult.

xigris Thu 09-May-13 10:06:16

How long have you lived in your current house Erlack? Personally I think that what you're feeling is pretty normal. Houses are so important to us that we (or certainly I do) personify them a bit. There's always loads of emotion in selling a house and, of course masses of stress. You could have held out for a higher offer, but the housing market is so labile at the mo that maybe it wouldn't have materialised. Then you'd have missed out on your dream house. We're hoping to move in a couple of years. Although our current house is very unremarkable I know I'll be so sad to see it go as we've been here 6.5 years, had all of our children while living here (2 were actually born in it), but we will need more space. I'll still cry buckets though! Don't stress yourself too much. For what it's worth, I think it sounds like a normal reaction and is due to change and emotion. Best of luck! smile

£5,000? Is that all? I was reading all the way through and I thought it must be a huge difference in price if it's upset you so much.

Please, count your blessings. You were able to sell in a very difficult market AND get your dream house! You went from having no viewers to getting the asking price, with no other nasty surprises or hold-ups. Lucky you! Have fun looking forward and planning things to do with the new house - there is nothing you can do now about the sale of the old one.

GreenLeafTea Thu 09-May-13 10:07:31

I think you just have to consider there might have been a negative outcome as well if you had held out. The new buyers might have been arseholes who dropped out at the last minute.

ChunkyChicken Thu 09-May-13 10:13:56

We ended up selling our house at a lower than expected price, but still managed to get to our bigger, better &, in all likelihood, forever house. At that the time, I did wonder if we'd done right but a bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush as they say. Don't let the "what ifs" spoil your lovely new home.

Erlack Thu 09-May-13 10:15:45

You are all so sane, thank you, thank you. I know, it's completely crazy to be so het up about what in the big scheme of things is a relatively small amount of money. I think xigris has hit the nail on the head- it's probably more about the emotion of selling and moving, when you strip all the other stuff out of it.

I think the thing about the prospect of a closing date (sealed bids, in other words) is that as a seller, there is every possibility of getting a buyer who goes a bit nuts and pays way over the odds. Without getting into detail, there was a particular indication that would have happened here, had I been willing to risk it. But there are no guarantees, of course. People don't tend to drop out here once they have offered, due to the Scottish system but it's also totally true that the winning bidders might have been arseholes, generally.

NotInMyDay Thu 09-May-13 10:22:06

You will never know what might have been. It's something we all torture ourselves about. You might have got an offer at £5000 more but from buyers would had to pull out, didn't have finance sorted, had a long chain, we're just generally pains in the neck.

Remember be careful what you wish for.

congrats on dream house.

Badvoc Thu 09-May-13 10:35:30

£5k?
Really?
Yabu but I think you know that!
Enjoy your dream home x

greenformica Thu 09-May-13 10:41:21

You will never know if you would have got 5k more really though would you?

Also in 15 years time, an extra 5k will seem like a tiny amount.

We got a very good deal on a property (total doer-upper) we bought some years ago and I suggested a specific amount to offer for the property. DH misheard and offered 2k more!

I was cross for a bit but see it as quite funny now.

xabiuol Thu 09-May-13 10:55:24

@ greenformica

grin I can imagine that could lead to bad feeling!

CheesyPoofs Thu 09-May-13 11:10:39

I honestly believe that sometimes it's worth taking a hit like that just for an easier life.

Moving is stressful enough so give yourself a break.

stargirl04 Thu 09-May-13 22:11:16

Hi OP,

I have no property experience to relate, being an aspiring FTB, but in terms of your 5k "loss", think of it this way:

About 3 years ago I went on holiday to India with a friend and it was a total disaster. Fiddlesticking awful from start to finish.

In terms of cost of holiday and lost earnings (I am self-employed), it cost me 5k. Three weeks of disappointment, frustration and hassle that cost me 5k - I don't even have anything to show for it... like a big, state of the art smart TV, or a nice car, or a dream home (like you do - 5k being the difference between securing your dream home, or not).

So every time you think of that 5k, think of me - I may as well have thrown all the money into the air for people to run and pick up - I'd have got more pleasure out of it! wine

Erlack Thu 09-May-13 23:17:49

stargirl You have made an interesting point-it has me thinking about some other actual financial losses I have experienced in my time. There was a disastrous car purchase my former partner made which ended up costing a bomb with a lot of aggravation to boot. eyeroll. Oh and my personal favourite, a failed IVF cycle which cost about 3k with eff all to show for it. Puts it in perspective, really.

I think part of what is bothering me is that there is a fairly lengthy gap in between having to move out of this place and being able to get into our new home. At the time I offered I was a bit lalala about that fact but now it's looking a bit more logistically grim than I had reckoned on. Again, in the big scheme, short term pain but it still feels like the dream house is a way off and not something I can truly get excited about... yet. At the moment it feels like I am going to miss this place intensely but I am pretty sure once we have moved I won't be looking back wishing I had done it differently.

stargirl04 Fri 10-May-13 01:50:56

Hi Erlak. Some more thoughts .....

I know you can't compare the situation, but a year ago I had to move out of a flat I'd been in for three years which I absolutely loved. I won't bore you with the details, except to stress that I wasn't being evicted!!

I couldn't bear the thought of going but as the time crept nearer, my thoughts became focused on packing, removals, fitting the move around work demands, etc etc. It is such a big undertaking that the practicalities of it end up taking over and you'll find that nearer the time you will be less sentimental.

I found that I "switched off" my emotions as the need to get organised became more pressing. Which was a surprise to me.

It all goes back to what xigris said, which I totally agree with. I
hope you're feeling better about that 5k now. It's really not worth worrying about and not a large sum of money in the grand scheme of things! I know someone in London who sold at a 50k loss, and a pal's sister up in Yorkshire sold at a 40k loss also.

Quite a lot of people in London are selling for smaller losses too, for example 10k, which I've noticed because I am always scanning the house price stats for properties in my budget. You've done really well to have sold in this market for the asking price and to have given yourself the best chance of getting your dream home.

Think how sore you'd be if you'd held out for that measly 5k and then missed out on your dream home completely?

You did the best thing you could at the time with the information and resources that you had available. biscuit

AllBoxedUp Fri 10-May-13 14:39:20

Erlack I am having similar feelings to you so can empathise. We accepted an offer on our house last November for what we thought was going to be a quick sale and 6 months later we still haven't moved. We actually had a higher offer made to us in December which was £5K higher which we turned down.

It looks now like our sale and purchase are going to go through and I just don't feel positive about it. I feel like house prices have gone up in the last 6 months here and we sold low anyway. I keep wondering if we put the house back on the market if we would get the asking price (£10K more than accepted). That money would make a big difference to us especially as we are thinking of DC2 this year and I have rubbish maternity pay at my work.

I'm also not completely in love with the house we're buying and a bit worried it's not worth what we are paying. It has a couple of major drawbacks which we can't really do anything about. I also feel much more positive about our current home and wonder if we would be better sticking with it for a few more years.

I think and hope that this is just nerves. It doesn't help that our solicitor told us that our purchase was probably off so we've been looking at other houses and telling ourselves all the reasons why the house we are buying was wrong for us!

Not sure if this is much help to you but I guess you're feelings are natural and at least you like the house you are moving to!

RocknRollNerd Fri 10-May-13 18:02:26

For things like this where it's a done deal and you need to change your mindset, I'm a great believer thinking of the money in terms of the 'value' you assign to it. I have no idea how big your mortgage is or over how many years but £5,000 over even 10 years at a low rate is really very very little...you're getting a house you've clearly loved for a long time - think of it this way - if someone had told you you could have that house but as part of it you would need to pay say 50p a day 'extra' to get it you probably wouldn't have thought twice about it. That's all that £5,000 is over the mortgage on the new place.

MinimalistMommi Fri 10-May-13 18:23:01

I wanted to say, £5,000 isn't that much money when buying property. Possibly you're feeling stress about move and it's being 'released' over obsessing about this? I know when I get stressed I can get in very obsessional thought cycles which I can't let go of. I hope you feel better soon.

Crutchlow35 Australia Fri 10-May-13 19:03:51

Erlack, I am a Scottish EA. I had a closing date today with 5 notes of interest in the end only one actually offered and it was for less than HR valuation.

I think you are enormously lucky to have received a buyer at HR valuation so well done.

You have no guarantee that you would have gotten £5k over so there is no point in thinking about whatifs. Even though you say you had a good indication they would have offered that could just be sour grapes that you had accepted an offer before they had a chance to.

Good luck with your ove.

Erlack Fri 10-May-13 20:49:25

Thank you all for further comments. I am beginning to feel a little bit better, especially as I start to focus on other stuff (like where ARE we going to stay in the gap between houses).

With hindsight I am also now beginning see just how stressed I was about everything-from the minute I saw the dream house on the market it was complete nerve fraying palpitations for about 2 months. Couldn't sleep or eat or concentrate. It sounds so daft now, to get so stressed over it all but I really was. When I get into that state, I tend to second guess every single thing and so I was replaying the viewing with our buyers over and over (basically, after raving how much they loved the place, they asked me if I thought it would go to closing and I said if I got a good offer I would probably take it right away. facepalm).

Interestingly, I actually did have a chance to ask them to pay more (there was a little hiccup with their mortgage during the missives process and the house went back on the market for a bit, during which time we had another offer-which we didn't accept but which could have turned it into a bidding war). But I didn't- and I really don't regret that at all, because that would have felt icky and definitely not worth it to me.

Crutchlow35 Australia Fri 10-May-13 20:56:02

My client cried today when I called her about the offer. She was just so pleased. She was sobbing.

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