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New Home Fears Are Normal -- And Here's How To Get Over Them

07/28/2015 11:32 EDT | Updated 07/28/2015 12:59 EDT

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If you're feeling less than satisfied with your home purchase, you’re not alone. With such a big step, it’s all too common to have doubts as soon as you sign on the dotted line.

In a survey conducted by Harris Poll for Redfin, as many as one in four homeowners said they regretted purchasing their current home. But, however much you might feel the urge to, you can’t just take a house back and get a refund if you change your mind. So what’s an unhappy new homeowner to do? Take a deep breath and read on: Here are nine ways to ease anxiety and start appreciating your home’s positive side.

1. Let yourself wallow a little. Moving into a new home can be hugely stressful. And when you’ve bought a home, it’s totally normal to have second thoughts after committing to mortgage payments for years to come. So instead of feeling disappointed that the house is not living up to your expectations, give yourself a break and wallow a little. Really go for it — for a limited time. Make a list of all the things you hate about your new home. Call an understanding friend and rant for five minutes. Have a good cry. It’s OK to be upset soon after a move. The important thing is to remember that these feelings are very likely to pass.

And if you do make a list of all the things you hate about your house, save it: You may look back on it one day years from now, when you’re packing up to move out of the house you have come to cherish, and laugh.

2. Try some not-so-subliminal messaging. Pick out an art print, bunting or pennant emblazoned with a warm and welcoming message and hang it somewhere you’ll see it each day. Just maybe, reading the sentiment you wish you had about your home will begin to rub off and shift your feelings about the new space.

3. Don’t reinvent the wheel. If you had paint colours/window treatments/light fixtures you loved in your old place, consider repeating some of them in your new home. Keeping certain elements the same from one home to the next can help a new place feel more familiar, and it cuts down on stressful decision making. Of course, part of what’s exciting about buying a home is the potential to make a fresh start, so be sure to leave room for the new and different too.

4. Make tiny headway. Unpacking and settling into a new home can be overwhelming, so celebrate small victories. If you’re not sure where to begin, start with the areas that affect your daily routines the most: your medicine cabinet, clothes closet and kitchen. Take your time with these areas — when they are neatly organized from the get-go, they are more likely to stay that way.

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5. Out with the old, in with the new. There are many traditions from around the world relating to inhabiting a new space. You could say a blessing for your new house, symbolically sweep out traces of the past owners with a broom, cleanse the air in each room with a sage bundle, do some feng shui, or simply introduce yourself to your house, a la tidying guru Marie Kondo.

6. Buy your house flowers. Buying flowers is something we usually do for the ones we love, so buying them especially for your home can be a surprisingly meaningful gesture. Don’t wait for things to be perfect to start treating your new home well — little things like fresh flowers on the table and good-smelling soap at the sink help any space feel better.

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7. Focus on the positive. If you own a home, you have a lot to be grateful for — it’s just not always easy to see it that way. Assuming you’re done with the wallowing (see No. 1), it’s time to shift toward a more positive outlook. Try keeping a daily gratitude journal for a week, paying special attention to all the things you appreciate about your home, from the big (a roof over your head) to the small (great water pressure!). To make it easier to remember to journal, try pairing the habit with another daily routine, like your morning coffee or afternoon tea break.

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8. Enlist some help. If things just aren’t coming together as easily as you’d like, it may be time to call in reinforcements. Whether you bring a design-minded friend over to help puzzle out the best furniture arrangement for your new living room or hire a designer to help make bigger changes, getting another set of eyes on your space can help move things forward.

Find a designer near you on Houzz

9. Embrace imperfection. With such a big investment, it’s easy to fall into the trap of expecting things to be perfect — and to feel disappointed when the reality doesn’t live up to the fantasy. But just like people, no home is perfect. Focus on getting to know your home’s quirks and making the most of its positive qualities instead of holding it up to an impossible glossy-magazine ideal.

How to Create the Perfectly Imperfect Home

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