Why Recent Homebuyers Have Regrets [Research + Tips]

Rose Morrison

Jun 5, 2024

Why Recent Homebuyers Have Regrets

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Homeowners sometimes feel remorse after purchasing a home, no matter how beautiful the property might be. This regret, guilt or anxiety can arise when they realize the house doesn’t meet their needs or believe better options might be available. Whether you’re currently experiencing these feelings or you’re a future buyer looking to avoid them, it’s essential to understand why homebuyer regret happens and how to prevent it.

How Many Homebuyers Have Regrets?

According to research, 82% of recent homebuyers who bought a property in 2023 and 2024 have at least one regret about the process. The most common issue was that their homes required too much maintenance. 

More than 40% of this group also said they’ve struggled to pay their mortgage on time or have taken on additional debt to maintain their lifestyle. Since 25% of an average American’s salary goes toward housing expenses, buying a house might not be wise for those burdened with debts.

Consequently, people who did not buy a house when mortgage rates were lower also experience homebuyer regrets. Another key finding is the mismatch between buyer expectations of home prices. Future homebuyers expect to spend around $483,490 on average, but 52% of American homeowners have spent more than $500,000.

As home and interest rates skyrocket, many homebuyers seek ways to minimize costs through seller concessions. Around 83% of buyers inquired about or made at least one concession, including a lower price, keeping appliances, home warranty, help with repair costs and early move-in date.

A homeowner holding a key at their front door

Common Homebuying Regrets

Unfortunately, not all people end up living in their dream homes. Here are the reasons behind buyer’s remorse:

1. Too Much Maintenance

Although a house is an excellent long-term investment, hidden costs can surprise first-time homeowners. Home maintenance, improvements and emergency repairs cost over $13,000 in 2023. The upkeep can be overwhelming, whether ongoing chores or sudden improvements.

2. Compromising a Priority

Around 85% of homebuyers had to compromise at least one priority when buying a home. One of buyers’ main priorities was a good neighborhood. However, around 21% had to settle for a property situated in a less desirable area.

Buying an affordable home may seem like a good purchase. However, cheap houses can mean more repairs in the long run. Other compromised priorities include a desirable location, park access, a good school district and proximity to loved ones.

3. Choosing a Bad Location

Many individuals have location regrets when buying a house. Around 82% of millennials who are first-time homebuyers regret that their interest rate is too high, they aren’t knowledgeable about the process and that they bought a residence in an undesirable location.

Investing in an excellent location significantly impacts your home’s value, investment potential and your lifestyle. 

4. Failing to Consider the Overall Environment

When looking for the best house, people focus on the property alone rather than the surroundings. Having a huge lawn is a dream for many. However, if you hate yard work, you might prefer having a smaller one. Imagine falling in love with what you deem as your dream home, only to discover that there’s a nearby night market that draws noisy people. 

Your home should provide peace, but this can be impossible without considering your property’s surroundings.

A residential property among in a suburban neighborhood

How to Avoid Homebuyer Regrets

Discover how you can avoid major disappointments associated with buying a new home.

1. Do Extensive Research

Research present and possible home issues to avoid buyer regrets. Ask the property owner every question you have to make a more informed decision. If you’re a first-time buyer who wants to avoid regrets, work with a local real estate professional who understands your needs. This expert can be your voice of reason, especially when you’re overwhelmed or pressured to decide.

2. Make a List of Future Improvements

No home is flawless. At the very least, a minor issue will soon need repair or renovation. List all the foreseen improvements, such as a bathroom remodel or attic repairs. Consider your top properties, identify your budget and save 90% of the goal amount to secure a comfortable cushion.

3. Talk to Neighbors

The presence of rude and rowdy neighbors can instantly lead to regrets about your chosen location. Don’t hesitate to speak to people who may know about the property you want to buy. Ask them about the best and worst features in the neighborhood, area and the homeowners association.

4. Be Financially Prepared

Set a realistic budget based on your savings, income and expenses. Save for a down payment and consider HOA fees, property taxes, maintenance, home insurance and private mortgage insurance. Most importantly, secure an emergency fund that covers three to six months and can help you stay afloat during tough times, protecting your mortgage and financial stability.

A homeowner holding a replica of a house in their hand and the other hand is on a calculator

5. Avoid Searching for New Homes

Searching for available homes online can be tempting, especially if you feel remorseful about your purchase. However, since you’ve already invested enough, improving your living situation is better than mulling over what could have been.

Help Prevent Buyer’s Regrets

Remember that there’s no perfect house. The best thing you can do to avoid homebuyer regrets is to do proper research to prevent compromising your priorities. Focus on enjoying your new home to the fullest and making it just right for you.

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