Why Many Owners and Renters Regret Their Home Decisions

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Choosing a home is among the biggest decisions many Americans will ever make. But homeowners and renters alike feel regret over their current homes.

The biggest regret among owners is not buying a larger home, and the biggest regret among renters is not buying a home, according to a recent Trulia survey of more than 2,200 adults in the U.S.

Those are the same top regrets cited by owners and renters back in 2013, around the time the U.S. housing market bottomed out.

Homeowners who had a role in the process of selecting a home this year said they wish they had:

  • Chosen a larger home: cited by 33 percent
  • Done more or less remodeling: 26 percent
  • Collected more information before deciding: 15 percent
  • Chosen a smaller home: 9 percent

Renters who had a role in selecting a home wish they had:

  • Bought instead of rented: cited by 41 percent
  • Chosen a larger home: 33 percent
  • Collected more information before deciding: 14 percent
  • Chosen a smaller home: 5 percent

Of course, changing your housing situation is generally not a simple process. In fact, Trulia found that past housing purchase mistakes are now holding back 21 percent of Americans from changing their current housing situation.

Additionally, the U.S. real estate market overall is far more expensive today than it was several years back.

For example, last month we reported that the Redfin Housing Demand Index saw its biggest increase since the index was created in January 2013. And that high demand, coupled with a low supply of homes, has driven up prices. From “Home Prices Move Higher — What It Means for Sellers and Buyers”:

“It’s a seller’s market, to say the least. To boot, Redfin expects the growing housing demand to drive home prices higher in metropolitan areas in the next couple of months.”

Avoiding buyer’s remorse

A home is the biggest purchase many Americans will ever make. That means doing a lot of homework is required to avoid buyer’s remorse.

First off, ponder and answer the million-dollar question of whether you should buy rather than rent.

If you’re still eager to buy after that, get your head on straight. Yes, that’s step No. 1 in “Find Your Dream Home — Step by Step.” It entails nailing down your home financing before you start home shopping. Otherwise, you risk regret:

“You’ll see something you can’t afford — a bigger home, grander kitchen, better neighborhood, more bedrooms, fabulous design — that will start you rationalizing why you need it and how you can get it. This is normal.

These intense desires, though, cloud buyers’ judgment — maybe just momentarily, but sometimes long enough to cause mistakes with long-lasting consequences, such as stretching to pay more than you should, spending too much on mortgage fees and interest, or failing to hold money in reserve for all the costs of owning the home.”

Once you know how much house you can really afford, consider these home-shopping tips:

Do you have any regrets about your current home? Let us know below or on our Facebook page.

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