by Karen Williams-deCastro- Realtor®, C2EX, RSPS, GRI, SRS, ABR, SFR, AHWD
When you're looking for a new home, it's super important to think about your future self to avoid any regrets later on.
You know what's cool? Most new homebuyers are really happy with their decision. According to a survey by LendingTree, a whopping 80% of recent buyers who managed to overcome a tough housing market say they're totally glad they found their current homes.1 But let's face it, even happy homeowners can still have a few regrets about their choices.
Actually, research shows that even the most satisfied homeowners would change a few things about their home purchase if they had the chance. A recent survey by Anytime Estimate found that nearly 3 out of 4 buyers who bought a home in 2021 or 2022 still have a few regrets.2
Some folks question their decision to move to a neighborhood they don't love. Others wish they had been less picky about the location to save some cash. And many worry they might have overspent or sacrificed too much in their hurry to buy a home.
So, here are some of the most common homebuyer regrets I've come across, along with our professional advice on how to avoid them.
REGRET #1: Spending More Than Necessary
Nobody wants to overpay for their new home (and with the right guidance, that's totally avoidable). But even if you snagged a great purchase price, there are still ways to accidentally overspend.
One big way folks end up overpaying is by choosing the wrong mortgage. In today's higher-rate environment, that can be a really risky mistake. According to a recent survey, almost three-quarters of homebuyers leave money on the table by not shopping around for the best mortgage rate.3 LendingTree research even suggests that buyers in major metro areas lose an average of $63,151 over the life of their loan just because they picked the first mortgage they were offered.4
So, the lesson here is, stick to what you can afford, and buying a home can be a great financial move. The longer you live in it, the more likely your home will appreciate in value and boost your long-term savings. But to make the most of your purchase, take the time to compare financing options and shop around for the best deal. And hey, getting a mortgage pre-approval before you start your home search can give you a clear idea of what you can afford. I can connect you with our trusted lending partners for help.
REGRET #2: Rushing Into a Home Purchase
In a competitive housing market, you often need to act fast to snag a home. But don't let that rush tempt you into making an offer without really thinking things through or fully vetting the property.
Rushing into a home purchase can be risky and is actually one of the most common sources of homebuyer regret. According to Anytime Estimate, more than 1 in 4 homebuyers feel some remorse over how quickly they sped through the home buying process.2
It's easy to get carried away by emotions, especially if you fall in love with a home and end up in a bidding war with other buyers. But that can lead to regrets later on. Having a skilled professional by your side can help guide you through the process with reason, not emotion.
So, the lesson here is to stay level-headed. Take the time to know what you want, what you need, and what you can afford before starting your home search. I can help you set priorities, so you'll make decisions confidently when the right time comes.
REGRET #3: Miscalculating the Costs of Homeownership
Owning real estate is a smart long-term investment, but it can be costly in the short term, and that can surprise some homeowners who aren't prepared for it. Annual maintenance alone can be around 1% or more of your home's purchase price.5 And there are other ownership expenses like property taxes, insurance, and repairs that people sometimes forget to factor in.
Underestimating the costs of homeownership is one of the most common causes of homebuyer regret. According to Anytime Estimate, nearly half of the homebuyers who regret their purchase said they underestimated how much they would spend to live in it.2
But hey, here's the thing, some homes cost more to live in and maintain than others. So just because you can afford the average cost of homeownership doesn't mean every home in your price range will fit your budget. Older homes with unique maintenance needs or places with high HOA or condo fees can eat into your monthly budget.
So, the lesson here is to consider all the potential costs of living in a home, not just the obvious ones like your mortgage payment and taxes. Add up estimated maintenance and repair costs, plus any other unique expenses related to a particular home. We can help with those estimates and show you some more budget-friendly options if needed.
REGRET #4: Underestimating the Time Required To Maintain or Renovate a Home
Homeownership is amazing because you can enjoy a space that's all your own. But if a home requires too much maintenance, it might leave you with little time to enjoy it.
Sure, some homeowners love spending weekends tinkering in their gardens or taking on home improvement projects. But if that's not your thing, owning a high-maintenance property, like one with a big yard or a pool, might not be the best fit.
According to a survey by Hippo, 47% of homeowners who have some regrets about their home purchase complain that it requires too much maintenance and upkeep.6
Likewise, folks who buy fixer-uppers might underestimate the time it takes to renovate their new homes. While buying a fixer-upper can save money upfront, it can become a source of regret if it eats up all your free time.
The lesson here is to consider your lifestyle and how much time you're willing to dedicate to maintenance and renovation. Owning a home shouldn't feel like a never-ending chore if you prefer to spend your time doing other things. Of course, home improvement projects can be fulfilling if you enjoy them, so it's all about finding the right balance.
We can help you figure out the realities of homeownership and find a property that fits your personality and schedule.
REGRET #5: Ignoring or Skipping a Home Inspection
Buying a home is exciting, and sometimes, buyers get carried away and skip a home inspection to sweeten their offer in a competitive market. Or they might try to save money since they're already spending a lot. But trust us, skipping a home inspection can lead to major regrets.
A home inspection is a wise investment. It provides you with a professional, in-depth examination of the property's structures and systems before you commit. A good inspection can save you money in the long run by either warning you away from a bad purchase or giving you a list of deficiencies to negotiate with the sellers.
Even if you get an inspection, it's essential to take the time to review the report carefully. If possible, be present during the inspection to ask questions and observe. Also, double-check any repairs the seller agrees to make to ensure they're properly completed before closing.
The lesson here is that a home inspection can reduce your risk and save you money, but you need to be an active participant in the process to make the most of it. If you need recommendations, we'd be happy to share a list of experienced and trustworthy home inspectors in our area.
REGRET #6: Choosing a Home That Doesn't Fit
Homeownership can be an excellent investment if you're willing to stay put for at least five years.7 But if you buy a home that doesn't fit your needs, you might not want to stick around that long.
A lot of homeowner complaints come down to lifestyle issues. Sometimes, people make so many compromises during the home search that they end up with a property that interferes with their quality of life.
And it's not uncommon for homebuyers to fall in love with a beautiful home and overlook practicalities. For instance, a stunning kitchen can't replace a needed bedroom or bathroom. And a sparkling pool won't make up for a lengthy commute to your office.
Setting some guardrails during your home purchase can help you avoid overcompromising or prioritizing wants over needs.
So, the lesson here is to figure out what you must have in a home and stick to those priorities, especially if you're dealing with limited inventory or a fixed budget. It's okay to sacrifice some items on your wish list, but don't forget to secure your must-haves to prevent future regrets.
We can help you find a home that matches your needs and priorities by working together to set parameters before you begin your search.
REGRET #7: Purchasing Without Professional Help
Thinking of buying a home without the guidance of a licensed real estate agent? Well, that can be a risky move, my friend.
That's probably why 86% of buyers decide to enlist the help of an agent when purchasing a home—it's a smart choice. And guess what? The vast majority find that working with an agent is invaluable. In fact, 89% say they'd use their agent again or recommend them to others.8
Real estate is a complex, ever-changing world, especially these days when the market is constantly in flux. Having a knowledgeable expert by your side can make all the difference and guide you through the often-complicated process.
So, the lesson here is clear. When you work with a real estate agent, you gain access to a wealth of expertise and on-the-ground insight that you can't find anywhere else. Our goal is to help you avoid costly mistakes that could lead to buyer's remorse and ensure your home purchase is as smooth and stress-free as possible.
As an Accredited Buyers Representative (ABR), I am uniquely qualified to give you amazing buyers represantation. We can schedule a time to chat, either In Person, Via Phone, or Via Zoom and see if we are a good fit for one another.
No one wants to look back on their home purchase and regret it big time. So, let's work together to avoid those pitfalls and buy with confidence. I'm here to ensure our clients' satisfaction, so reach out today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you make the best home buying decisions.
Keep in mind that this blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered financial, legal, or tax advice. Always consult the appropriate professionals for advice tailored to your individual needs.
- LendingTree - https://www.lendingtree.com/home/mortgage/homebuying-process-survey/
- Anytime Estimate - https://anytimeestimate.com/research/american-home-buyers-2022/
- Zillow Home Loans - https://zillow.mediaroom.com/2022-11-18-Prospective-home-buyers-spend-about-as-much-time-researching-new-TVs-as-they-do-mortgage-lenders
- LendingTree - https://www.lendingtree.com/home/mortgage/mortgage-shopping-study/
- CNBC - https://www.cnbc.com/2022/05/01/survey-majority-of-homeowners-have-regrets.html
- Hippo - https://www.hippo.com/blog/2022-hippo-housepower-report-how-homeowners-are-responding-essential-maintenance-during
- Realtor.com - https://www.realtor.com/advice/sell/how-soon-can-you-sell-a-house-after-buying/
- National Association of Realtors - https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/research-reports/highlights-from-the-profile-of-home-buyers-and-sellers#homebuyers