Friday, December 30, 2016

Buying a home this year? You can learn a lot from these past homebuyer regrets.

If you could go back and give your younger, greener self some advice before you bought your first house, what it would be?

While we can’t go back in time to counsel ourselves on what mistakes to avoid when buying or selling a home, we can learn from others’ mistakes, and a new survey of homeowner regrets lets us do just that.

For example, an astonishing 53% of all homeowners polled expressed having at least one regret with their past home purchase, and many had multiple regrets.

Interestingly, that percentage has come down over time, most likely because getting information online about smart home purchases is much easier. There was also plenty of remorse to go around over buying before the real estate crash and the economic downturn in 2009. In fact, from 2003-2009, 63% of homeowners had regrets; and from 2010-2013, 55% of homeowners had regrets.

Here’s a list of the top regrets reported by homeowners:

34% wished they had chosen a larger home

11% would have chosen a smaller home

14% wanted to shop around more for a better mortgage

14% wish they had chosen a different real estate agent

12% said: “I wish I had borrowed less against my home.”

27% wanted to do more remodeling when they bought the home

22% wished they had more information about the home before they decided

18% would have put more money down for the down payment

16% wanted to be more financially secure before they purchased

15% wanted a neighborhood with a closer commute to work

14% wanted more information about the neighborhood before buying

12% didn’t understand the costs of homeownership thoroughly

9% would have chosen a neighborhood with less crime

7% would go back and choose a neighborhood with stronger schools

6% would have rented instead of bought altogether

5% would do less remodeling the home than they did

4% wished they had put less money down for the down payment

2% would have borrowed more against their home

The study found that homeowners were:

5x more likely to wish they had remodeled more than remodeled less
4x times more likely to wish they put a larger down payment, instead of less
3x more likely to wish they purchased a bigger home than a smaller home

Let’s be clear: these numbers only represent homeowner regrets, not renters. In fact, renters have their whole other list of regrets (we won’t cover them all here.) But I will note that the biggest difference between homeowners and renters is that 23% of all renters wished they had bought instead of rented, while just 3% of homeowners wished they had rented instead of bought.

It's also worth noting that there's a huge difference in regards to age and the percentages in assessing homeowner regrets. For example, 75% of millennial homeowners expressed at least once regret, while only 36% of homeowners age 55 or older had any similar misgivings about their home purchase.

66% of Gen Xers, or 35-44 years old, had regrets. Only 53% of Young Boomers ages 45-54 years old, had home buying regrets.  So the indicator is that there are some significant social or culture changes taking place that impact how people feel about homeownership.

 Also, the conditions of the market over time have an impact on buyer attitude. When you bought your home makes a significant difference in the instance of regrets, as well. In fact, if you moved into your current home:

2002 or earlier, 43% of homeowners have regrets
2003-2006, 63% of homeowners have regrets
2007-2009, 63% of homeowners have regrets
2010-2013, 55% of homeowners have regrets

So do you have any regrets with your previous experience buying a home? What would you differently? What information, tools or resources would have helped you avoid these later misgivings? I’d love to hear your experiences and opinions.

The most important part of my job as your Realtor is to help empower you to make the BEST possible decisions when you buy so you do not end up in those statistics.

Contact me if you have any questions about real estate or want to buy or sell a home – regret free!

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