Buying a home has long been an American dream. A recent Bankrate survey found that 79% of Americans view owning a home as a major goal in life, compared with retirement (68%) and having a successful career (63%).
For many, that dream has come true. But it can come with a bit of regret.
Zillow recently surveyed 10,000 homeowners and found that 72% expressed at least one misgiving about purchasing a home, including the size of the home, the price they paid and unexpected costs that came up.
Here, according to Zillow, are the biggest regrets of homeowners in 2019, starting with those that matter to the fewest people and ending with ones that aggravate the most:
1. Buying instead of renting
Only a small percentage felt they’d made the wrong decision when buying a home.
Of all 10,000 respondents, 8% were having buyer’s remorse and wish they had rented instead.
2. Size — too big
In most cases, a bigger home means a larger price tag, a bigger mortgage payment and more home maintenance.
It’s just a guess, but that could explain why 11% of homeowners surveyed said they regret the size of their home because it is too big.
3. Mortgage type
Mortgages come in a sometimes bewildering array of types and terms, or lengths of time. Most typical are conventional, FHA and VA loans, but those come with plenty of choices. Zillow found that 13% of respondents felt they’d gotten the wrong type of mortgage.
4. Undesirable location
Maybe you found a great home, but now you can’t get over how close it is to the train tracks, an airport or major highway. That’s the situation for 14% of homeowners surveyed who said they regret buying their home because of its location.
5. Long commute
It’s tempting when you are home-shopping to purchase far from a city center, since the farther out you go, the more home you can afford.
But that can mean a very long commute, and 15% of homeowners surveyed regret buying a home because it created a long commute.
6. Too-high interest rate
The best way to secure the lowest interest rate is to put 20% or more down on the purchase and have a high credit score.
If you don’t have both, you may not get the best interest rate. That interest rate may not look so bad on paper, but the higher payments can get to you.
Perhaps that’s why 16% of Americans surveyed said they are upset they pay too much in interest on their mortgages.
7. Paid too much for it
How much house you can afford is largely a factor of your earnings, your debts and your credit score.
But that may not stop some people from buying a home for a price outside of their comfort range.
Zillow says 17% of homeowners regret buying their home because they believe they paid too much for it.
8. Don’t like the neighbors
You might love your home, but the people in the neighborhood could leave something to be desired.
If you don’t like your neighbors, you join 18% of homeowners who regret their home purchase for that reason.
9. Rushed the process
You’ve heard this before: Buying a home is probably the single biggest purchase you’ll make in your lifetime.
If you aren’t methodical and patient throughout the process, you might not be happy with the outcome.
That could explain why 19% of homeowners said they regret the purchase because they believe they rushed the decision or the process of buying a home without evaluating all of their options.
10. Mortgage payments — too high
The smaller your down payment, the higher your monthly payments are going to be.
If you put down less than 20%, you may also need to pay private mortgage insurance, which is added to your mortgage payment.
High monthly payments are the reason 19% of homeowners told Zillow that they regret their purchase.
11. Size — too small
While 11% of homeowners said they think the home they bought is too big, almost twice as many — 21% — said they find their home is too small.
Maybe they didn’t explore all of their options before buying, or perhaps a smaller home was what they could afford, which may explain their buyer’s remorse.
12. Too much yard/maintenance work
Taking care of a home is a lot of work.
Not just more surface area to clean than your old apartment. But rather, a yard and maybe even a pool need your attention now.
Zillow found that 25% of homeowners aren’t into the amount of yard or maintenance work they discovered they must do for their homes.
13. Undesirable layout
If you bought a home you didn’t find pleasing, whether because of its looks or its function, you’re in good company.
Zillow says that 25% of homeowners regret their buying decision because of undesirable home finishes or a layout they aren’t happy with.
14. Not being able to move without selling
Homebuying is a big commitment, for better and, sometimes, for worse.
If you’re ready to head out of your current home and into a new one, you’ll probably need to sell your current home first.
The need to sell before moving on was cited by 27% of those surveyed by Zillow as a reason they regret a home purchase.
15. Unexpected maintenance or repairs
By far the largest regret homeowners said they have is the emergency repairs or maintenance they didn’t expect on their homes, with 36% of homeowners citing this issue.
These are common headaches of homeowning Americans, and they are understandably frustrating. Home emergencies and repairs that pop up out of the blue can be expensive, too, especially if you have not budgeted for a crisis.
Do you have regrets as a homeowner? Sound off in the comments or on our Facebook page.
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