regrets signWouldn’t it be great to live a life with no regrets? Hindsight being 20/20, that may not be realistic for most of us, but at least we can learn from others’ regrets and try to not follow suit, at least when it comes to buying a home. That’s because a new survey from a national real estate brand sheds light on the top misgivings, lamentations, and plain old regrets homeowners report.

They found that 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 number has actually come down over the years, probably because of the ease of getting information online about smart home purchases, as well as remorse over buying before the real estate crash and Great Recession. In fact, from 2003-2009, 63% of homeowners had regrets; and from 2010-2013, 55% of homeowners had regrets.

There were the top regrets reported by homeowners:

34% Wishing they had chosen a larger home

27% Wishing they had done more remodeling when they bought the home

22% I wish I had more information about the home before I decided

18% I wish I had put more money down for the down payment

16% I wish I had been more financially secure before I decided

15% I wish I had chosen a neighborhood with a shorter commute to work

14% I wish I had more information about the neighborhood before I decided

14% I wish I had worked with a different real estate agent

14% I wish I had shopped around more for a better mortgage

12% I wish I had borrowed less against my home

12% I wish I understood the costs of homeownership better before I decided

11% I wish I had chosen a smaller home

9% I wish I had chosen a neighborhood with less crime

7% I wish I had chosen a neighborhood with better schools

6% I wish I had rented instead of bought

5% I wish I had done less remodeling when I bought the home than I did

4% I wish I had put less money down for the down payment

2% I wish I had borrowed more against my home

 

The study also found that homeowners were:

5x more likely to wish they had remodeled more than remodeled less

4x times more likely to wish they put more money down, not less

3x more likely to wish they purchased a larger home than a smaller home

 

Remember that these numbers only represent homeowner regrets, not those that rent. 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 in the poll 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.

Also, there are some big differences in the prevalence and number of homeowner regrets by age group.

For instance, 75% of millennial homeowners expressed at least once regret, while only 36% of homeowners age 55 or older had any regrets with their home purchase.

66% of Gen Xers (35-44 years old) had regrets, and only 53% of Young Boomers (45-54 years old) had home buying regrets.

When you bought your home actually makes a significant difference on 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 last home purchase, or any home you bought in the past? 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.

A big part of my job as a Realtor is to help empower you to make the BEST possible decisions when you buy or sell a home, avoiding the mistakes or that cause remorse and the pangs of regret later on. I take that responsibility very seriously, and would love to prove it to you! Contact me if you have any questions about real estate or want to buy or sell a home – regret free!