I hate my house, but I can’t afford to move

How to stop hating your new (or old) house when you can’t afford to move

It seems absolutely wild that we spend the most amount of money we’ll ever spend on a thing we see once.

Twice if we’re lucky.

My partner and I bought our house in Margate during lockdown after seeing it for about 10 minutes; due to restrictions and living 320 miles away, we didn’t have much choice.

We didn’t even know Margate that well; we’d visited for a day in 2018 and then for a month in 2020 during lockdown number…oh, I lose count. We could have been buying anything – we knew little about the area we’d picked.

You never know a house properly until you’ve actually lived in it; the first time I heard the pipes squeak or our floorboards creak I was totally freaked out, now I barely notice.

I hate my house, but I can't afford to move
photo: Joss Woodhead

Petition for a one night’s ‘try before you buy’ policy, please.

Along with bumps in the night, you never know what life in your new home is going to be like: will you get on with the neighbours, are the bin workers friendly, can you park your car and not piss off number 57, is your kitchen colder than the fridge, is that a leak in the roof or just a shadow?

You get my point.

Which is why its more common than you think for buyers to be unsatisfied with their new home.

According to Property Reporter, over 19,000 homeowners in the UK, in 2021, had buyers remorse and in the US, according to a poll conducted by Bankrate, it’s reported that two-thirds of millennials have regrets about buying their first home.

Hopefully, you can take a bit of comfort in the fact you’re not the only one thinking ‘I hate my house’.

What to do when you don’t like your new house

To solve a problem you need to get to the route cause of it so pinpoint exactly what you don’t like about your new home – is it the location, the neighbours or underlying issues with building works…and so on.

I felt a little trapped and bored when I first moved out of London, but I got a set of wheels (granted the wheels in question only lasted three months, but I’m working on that) and explored the surrounding area. All of a sudden, I felt way more at home in my new home.

I don't like my house, but I can't afford to move
photo: Pierre Chatel

There are a depressing number of complaints to the council about noisy neighbours; there was almost one a minute in 2022, and I’ve certainly had this issue in the past too. Not because our neighbours were particularly noisy, but because our walls were very thin. To combat this, I used brown noise when I was getting off to sleep and kept my own noise to a minimum. I loved our neighbours very much – it’s not their fault the walls were made of paper.

It can feel like hell-on-earth when you have difficult neighbours and can make your own four walls feel like a prison so anything you can do to ease the situation calmly will be better in the long run.

Of course, this isn’t going to be a solution for everyone and granted, there are cases much worse than ours, so you can always talk to Citizens Advice .

If it’s the house itself you don’t like then there are a few things you can do to change your perspective: firstly, concentrate on the good points, not the bad – write a list of them if you have to.

Tip: Start a WhatsApp group with yourself (or whoever you’re living with), every time you notice something good about your home or have a nice moment, write it in the group. After a while, your brain will start to see the good over the bad.

We often neglect the things we don’t like, which makes us like them less and it turns into a vicious cycle.

To break free from this, show your home some love: make your bed in every morning, buy fresh flowers, get a house plant and tidy away clutter.

I hate my house, but I can't afford to move
photo: Debby Hudson

Other ways to make your home feel like a happier place:

  • Donate or sell furniture that doesn’t fit the space
  • Paint with happy colours
  • Redecorate in a way you love, rather than what’s trendy at the time
  • Hang up pictures of friends and family or memorabilia
  • Create cosy spaces or corners with lighting, candles and soft furnishings

Read more: how can I make my bedroom happier?

Following on from this, it’s good to remember that nothing is permanent, be that a state of mind or the house itself.

Even if you can’t afford to move right now, you can plan for the future: start a savings account and slowly get your house property-market ready.

How long does it take for a new house to feel like home

According to Better Help, relocation depression is a very real and common issue. The general consensus is that it takes about 2 years for a new house to feel like home – hosting family gatherings, only receiving your mail, redecorating to your taste and having a couple of Christmases all help you feel settled.

This isn’t to say you’ll feel awful for two years straight though, (in most cases) there should be good and bad days.

I dislike my house, but I can't afford to move
photo: Lucas Hoang

Is it normal to feel sad after buying a new home?

Buying a new home is such an emotional rollercoaster; there are so many thoughts and feelings to deal with – moving far away from friends and family, exhaustion from the move, a disruption to your routine, a bigger financial burden – so it’s completely normal to feel sad.

I’ve certainly had moments where I’ve thought ‘I hate my house’, but with time and a bit of effort, these thoughts have disappeared completely.

These feelings should pass, there should be peaks and troughs, but if the sadness isn’t shifting then seek help from your GP or a private mental health service – no one should suffer in silence.

How do I love my new house?

Loving your new house is all about making it feel like home so decide what ‘home’ feels like to you and run with that. Above anything else, make your home feel like a safe and comfortable place to be, surround yourself with your favourite things, get out in the local community, explore the area and start building yourself a new life that you love.

I hate my house, but I can't afford to move
photo: William Felker

How do you get out of a house you just bought if you hate it?

If it really has gone t**s up, in certain circumstances there are things you can do to get yourself out of a house you just bought:

  • Turn over ownership to your lender
  • Sell your house
  • Seek a short sale
  • Let the lender seek foreclosure
  • Rent it out
  • Ask for a loan modification
  • Strategic default (walking away)

What happens if you stop paying your mortgage and walk away in the UK?

If you stop paying your mortgage and walk away from your house then your credit score will be badly effected and your home will be repossessed by your mortgage lender. It’s best to work out a solution with your lender than just walking away.

How much does it cost to move?

Moving costs vary from house to house and there is a lot of different things to consider including the following:

  • stamp duty
  • removals company
  • solicitors fees
  • estate agent fees

When looking at removals, there are a few different options, but it can vary from £100 – £700 depending if you get a company to move you or you hire a van yourself and call on your besties.

To summarise – I hate my house, but I can’t afford to move:

  • Pinpoint what the issues are
  • Give yourself time to love it
  • Recognise that it’s normal to have buyers remorse
  • Redecorate
  • Make it cosy
  • Explore the area (get a car if you need to/can do)
  • Develop new routines
  • Host a family gathering
  • Keep it clean and tidy
  • Use memorabilia to make it feel homely
  • Develop a plan to move in the future
  • Look for the positives

Want more from Lindsey Isla? Catch up on the weekly edit here

How to love your house starter pack:

Ethical floor cleaner

All floor cleaner wild rhubarb – Sainsbury’s £4.50

Candle mint and peach green candle

Mint and Peach candle – Habitat £9

white paint

Dulux absolute white – Homebase from £30

crown off white paint

Crown canvas white – Homebase £18

Olivia Rubin cushion

Olivia Rubin Prism cushion – Sofa.com

Green sofa comfortable

Long Island sofa – Sofa.com from £2,090

shell blanket

Connell knit throw blanket – Anthropologie £68

ceramic cafetiere

Clarence pink and orange ceramic cafetiere – Oliver Bonas £45

hand painted blue striped mug

Hand painted mug – John Lewis £6

green sage paint

Coat paint home grown – John Lewis from £49

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