Real Estate Regrets: What New Homebuyers Wish They Had Done Differently

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — You wanted a home with a pool but got a porch instead. A big back yard? No, you went with brick back yard just a bit bigger than your grill. What seemed to be a quiet neighborhood during the Sunday afternoon open house turned out to be because the neighbors were sleeping off their every-Saturday-night booze and brawl. Real estate regrets are many, and homeowners are quick to admit what they should have done differently.

Nine out of every ten buyers felt prepared when they bought their home, but after the fact, well more than half (56%) wish they had known more about the financial process involved in buying a home. The loan closing process was at the top of the should-have-known-more list (22%), followed by making an offer and negotiating (19%) and financing (15%), according to a new survey by Chase.

Nearly four in ten (39%) said that knowing what they know now, they would have bought a different-size or different-priced home, perhaps even in a different neighborhood. Most recent homebuyers were surprised by how long the purchase process took, too: 40% said it took longer than they expected.

More than one-third (34%) said owning a home cost more than expected. And while more than 80% of buyers considered their home move-in ready, nearly as many (76%) now admit they've done, or are planning to do, renovations to their home soon.

A survey fielded one year ago by Trulia found similar results. More than one third (34%) of homeowners with regrets responding to a March 2013 poll said they wished they had chosen a larger home.

Other regrets included:

 

  • Wish I had done more remodeling on the home than I did (27%)
  • Wish I had more information about the home before I decided (22%)
  • Wish I had made a larger down payment (18%)
  • Wish I had been more financially secure before buying (16%)
  • Wish I had chosen a home with a shorter commute to work (15%)

 

It seems buyers may find fewer homes to choose from combined with higher prices this year. Pending home sales rose in March, the first gain in nine months, according to the National Association of Realtors. While home sales are expected to trend up for the balance of the year and into next, NAR expects total sales to fall below last year's pace, with existing-home sales predicted to total just over 4.9 million this year – well below the nearly 5.1 million sold in 2013. But, with ongoing inventory shortages in much of the nation, median existing-home prices are expected to rise between 6% and 7% this year.

--Written by Hal M. Bundrick for MainStreet

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