What to Do If You Have Bought a New House and Hate It
Do You Hate Your New House?
Have you purchased a new home and quickly come to the realisation that it's all a terrible mistake? In fact, would you even go so far as to say you hate it? Perhaps you wish you had just stayed put? If so, you're probably experiencing an awful feeling in the pit of your stomach - especially when considering the fact that, for most of us, a property is likely to be the biggest purchase we will ever make. You might even feel guilty for feeling this way, particularly if other family members are excited about the move.
I Hated Our New Home
Looking back on my own move a few years ago, it was definitely not as I expected. With two children, we had outgrown our little starter home and had been looking to upgrade for a while. We had found a property at the right price, with lots of potential - or so we thought.
On moving day, I felt a degree of sadness. Perhaps that is to be expected, since we were leaving a home I had been fond of over the years. I was emotionally attached to it even though it no longer offered practical living accommodation. But I also felt excitement - our new property had a lot of potential; the children would have more outside space in which to play; the living space was generous compared to what we were used to. I had spent the weeks leading up to the move imagining our family in the new property, and it had all felt positive.
Moving house is chaotic and stressful; it's to be expected. But to my horror, instead of falling in love with our new home and embracing the change, I felt a pit of dread in my stomach. I didn't love it at all. I didn't love it when I woke up the next day, nor the following day, nor the day after that. In fact, I started to wish we had stayed where we were (even though it had been too cramped). Instead of seeing the positives, I saw everything I didn't like. Even when I stepped outside, I didn't like the street I was on. I didn't like the walk to the local shop; I felt I had lost the community feel I had felt before.
I did felt really guilty over the way I felt, because the rest of the family were happy and they could tell that I was less than enamoured. Perhaps it didn't help that the aesthetics of the house were poor and it was freezing - it had been a shared student house and empty for five months - but it was nothing that couldn't be fixed over time. When we had bought our previous house there had been a lot that needed improving, but I can remember fully embracing the challenge. This time, it was different.
So, if you are in a similar situation, what can you do?
Give It Time
There is a lot of truth in the belief that time makes things better. Think long term - your home is still very new to you and your perception may change.
Don't deny your feelings - accept that you may still be emotionally attached to your old house but that, over time, it is very possible that those emotions will lessen as your new house turns into a real familiar home. A house can almost be like meeting a potential new friend - you are strangers to each other at first, perhaps even indifferent, but eventually you become so close you can't imagine not being in one another's lives. (That's a bit over the top, perhaps, but you get the idea.)
It's important to give yourself time to adapt to your new house before deciding that you hate it. As human beings we are often sentimental, preferring familiarity over big changes. But the longer you live in your new house, the more likely you are to find that you gradually come to love it, rather than wishing you had never moved in.
Just try to go with the flow and don't be too hasty with your judgement.
Try to See the Good Points
In any situation, it's nearly always better to focus on the positives. Rather than dwelling on how much you dislike your new home, try to remember why you bought it in the first place. As mentioned before, purchasing a property is often an instinctive process - we have our list of 'must haves' (though there's usually some compromising, as most houses don't offer every singe thing we want), yet we still look for that certain feeling.
We chose our current house based on just a few points:
- Bigger, flat garden, good for the children to play football etc. (The old one wasn't big enough to swing a cat.)
- Spacious downstairs living space
- Driveway to park the car (we had to park on the road before)
- Beautiful stained glass door (not essential, but I fell in love with it)
- Backs onto allotments, so no overlooking
But not everything was good about the house. The bad points were:
- The master bedroom was smaller than the one we had before; in fact all three bedrooms were not as big as some other houses.
- It was a longer walk from town (twice the distance), so less convenient.
- The aesthetics were poor.
- The rooms upstairs had mould.
As you can see, we bought the house but it was in no way perfect. We chose it based on the above advantages, plus a 'feeling' that there was a lot of potential. 'Potential' is important, because it allows you to see in your mind what the house might, one day, be like.
However, following the move I somehow lost sight of any potential, and instead focused on the comfortable little house we had left, that we had made 'all ours'. But that was counter-productive as it no longer met our needs. Plus, someone else was living in it.
If you stick with the good points of your new house, you are more likely to find that, in time, you gradually come to love it. Just try to focus on the reasons you bought it—they are still valid, after all.
Try Not to Look Back at Your Old Home With Clouded Vision
As already mentioned, if you chose to move, remember why. Those reasons are important, because your old house and/or situation probably hasn't changed.
If you didn't have a choice, accept that and look to the future. There is no value in looking back - you can only put your energies into making the home you have now into the ideal living environment for you. It's surprising how much you can alter the feel of a home simply by changing a few points and by decorating or installing different flooring.
Our main reason for moving was that our house was too small. One of our children didn't have a bedroom, and at weekends we were all literally on top of each other, creating irritation. The problem was, once we moved I conveniently forgot about that irritation because I had put my rose-coloured glasses on. Just as we so often do when we look to the past with nostalgia, I was focusing only on the good points of our old property.
Remember, whatever drove you to make the move in the first place still stands. If you were able to move back to your old home, those same issues would still be there. Any new home you buy doesn't have to be permanent, but going backwards is almost never the answer.
Another reason for moving home can be the breakdown of a relationship. Often, the old house has to be sold and any profits split two ways. But again, looking back is fruitless—it is better to set your sights on the future instead. Creating a new home and filling it with positive energy, while turning away from any bad feelings that might be lingering in your old place, can be very therapeutic.
Give Yourself Time to Get to Know New Neighbours
Although the neighbourly feel of many communities is arguably disintegrating as busy people keep more and more to themselves, neighbours still matter in that they can influence the way you feel about your home - for good or for bad.
Those of us who are lucky enough to have friendly relationships with neighbours are likely to feel more content in our surroundings than those who experience hostility or indifference. If we have enjoyed the former, then when we move home we may mourn the loss of those neighbours. Perhaps we knew we could rely on them in times of need, or we enjoyed friendly chats. Perhaps we might even miss their simple greeting upon leaving the house in the morning, or maybe they were even good friends who we socialised with.
You might feel that your new street isn't as friendly, but it's important to remember that new neighbours can be friends we just haven't got to know yet.
When we moved home, I really missed my neighbours at first. Even though we were not close friends, we had still built up a relationship of sorts. Our youngest child used to play with theirs, and we had interconnecting gardens that we sometimes shared. We were also on good terms with our neighbours on the other side, and the lady across the road brought me a beautiful leaving gift as a thank you for the modelling my son did for the children's hats she makes. On top of that, there were at least three other neighbours we would chat to whenever we bumped into one another. So, as we left our old house, I felt sad to be leaving all those lovely people behind.
As we moved into the new house, we didn't know any of the neighbours. It felt somewhat isolating at first. We moved in December, in freezing weather, so no one was really out in their gardens. No one greeted us as we moved into our home. But then spring came, and the young boy next door suddenly appeared, wanting to play with our son. And, from there, a strong friendship was born. Eventually, our new neighbours became much better friends than any of the others had ever been.
Sometimes, it's important not to be hasty when judging a new situation. What doesn't seem great at first can sometimes become the best move you ever made.
Making changes to your new home might be all you need to start loving it. Decorating, altering the layout, and adding your own personal touch can all make a vast difference. Large scale changes might involve extensions, conversions or landscaping of the outside space, but if you can't afford huge changes straight away - most people can't - make small changes instead and save up for the bigger projects as and when you can.
Make your home YOUR home. Hang pictures of your family; buy a nice mirror to reflect the space; do some painting; tend to the garden; introduce new cushions; try anything that will help to make your new home yours. Put your own cosy stamp on it, and it will start to feel like a different place altogether. You don't have to do it all at once - each change you make can help you feel a little bit more positive. Know that a new home is an ongoing project.
If you have rooms with limited space, use Google to search for 'solutions for small rooms'. There are some very creative ideas designed for efficient living, whatever the size of your home.
It took us time to change our new home, but each time we did something I liked it more. After about a year we managed to get wooden flooring installed downstairs and new carpet upstairs. That made a drastic difference to the way the house looked and felt.
If You Still Feel the Same Way
If you still feel the same way after a reasonable amount of time - say, a year or two - then you can feel comforted by the fact that your home is not a prison and you can always move again. Yes, moving house is an expensive hassle that most people would probably rather do without, but if you are really not happy in your surroundings then you have the option to change them. Even if it's not an immediately viable option, you can hold on to the thought.
Remember, though, that selling up and moving again may still not bring you all you desire in a property. Unless you have a top end budget enabling you to be extra choosy, compromises are still likely. However, that all important 'good vibe' is important, and if your feelings don't budge over time, then it's worth consideration.
No matter what you do, make the most of your circumstances and embrace your life - there's nothing worse than constantly pining after that greener grass without doing anything about it. And remember, that greener grass might actually be where you are right now - you just haven't realised it yet.
How Do I Feel Now?
I hated our new home after we moved in. However, as time passed that all changed. Ironically, after a relationship breakdown meant that I was at risk of having to move, I was devastated. This was my home; my children's home. We had made memories. Now I'm really happy that we bought it.
Even though there is still work to be done, and points I still don't like (bedrooms still too small, for instance, plus I can't afford the major renovations I'd like) the house has become a home. It feels as though I am supposed to be there. I have grown to love the spring and summer, when the sun (if there is any!) shines over the garden for a significant part of the day; equally I love the splendid sunsets we can be blessed with in the evening.
I love walking out of the patio doors straight in the garden and seeing my cats roll around in the sun, and the light shining through the stained glass door when I return to the house in the winter evenings. It looks really inviting. I enjoy hearing the Community Gardening Club on the allotments behind when they meet up on Sundays - it makes me feel as though I am part of a community, even though I don't have an allotment! I love seeing my own son playing outside with the neighbour's children. I enjoy being within a few minutes walk of the best recreational park around, and the children love that too. I have transformed rooms and the hallway from grotty to classy, simply by getting a tin of paint and spending some time.
I definitely feel 'part of the street' now, whereas I didn't at all when we first moved in. My neighbours are my friends; people I can go to if I have a problem (like changing the bathroom light bulb that I can't reach). Perhaps most importantly, I have no desire to move back to the little house we left behind, although it still holds a sentimental place in my heart. All I remember is how we used to trip over everything as we passed through the house due to its tiny size. We've moved on, and though there will always be 'dream houses' (that I could never afford anyway) I prefer to be realistic.
Any house is really just an empty space; a blank canvas that acts as the backdrop to our lives. It's a space in which to be creative; an embodiment, in away, of ourselves. Sometimes, if you want to move again but it's not an option, I think it's better to try to change your perspective to the house you already have. Think like an artist and make it into the best house you can, for you and your family.