Most common homeowner regrets

By Mark Rosanes

Buying a home is one of the most significant financial decisions you will ever make – and for investments of this magnitude, it is often easy to second-guess yourself.

But you are not alone –  a 2019 survey by US real estate marketplace Zillow has found that about three-fourths, or 72%, of homeowners have at least one regret about the house they bought.

While the findings are based on a representative sample of 10,000 US respondents, we can generally say that many homeowners worldwide – including Australia – share this sentiment as navigating the home-buying process – with its often tedious and complicated requirements – entails a steep learning curve.

Here is a list of some of the most common regrets that homeowners have after purchasing their homes, according to the survey.

1. Unexpected repairs and maintenance

A separate survey by ME Bank in 2018 revealed that 58% of Australian homeowners spent less than an hour checking out a property before purchasing it. This has caused them to overlook issues in the property – including problems with paintwork, construction quality, fittings and chattels, and gardens and fences – resulting in unexpected repairs.

Experts strongly advise home buyers to arrange for a building and pest inspection to avoid these problems. This can cost you between a few hundred and a thousand dollars but may be worth it in the long run. Seemingly minor problems can be masking bigger issues that can cost you a lot more down the line.

2. Inability to relocate

Having your own home gives you a sense of security because, unlike renting, you know that you will not be evicted as long as you meet your mortgage repayments. However, this can also hamper your ability to move freely from one place to another, especially with the amount of money you have invested in the property.

3. Wrong home size

Some homeowners regret purchasing a house that is either too large or too small. This can be a source of frustration, especially after finding out that your home does not have a big enough space for your growing family, or you are paying for space that you do not have a use for. You can avoid this issue by having a clear understanding of your family’s must-haves before settling on a property.

4. Mortgage payments are too high

Choosing the right home loan can be a confusing and daunting endeavour because of the vast array of mortgage products available. An experienced mortgage broker can help you navigate this process and find the best deal that suits your financial situation. You can also do your own research, so you can compare interest rates and loan terms first-hand.

You can compare home loans from some of the country’s top lenders by visiting this page.

However, if you are already paying for your mortgage and realise that your current rate is no longer competitive and better deals are available, refinancing may be a good idea.

5. Getting too emotional

It is easy to let your emotions cloud your judgement – especially when making big decisions such as buying a home. This emotional attachment can often lead you into purchasing a property without thoroughly considering if it has everything you need. Experts strongly recommend going in with a plan when looking for a house to settle. Having a sound strategy can help you avoid making rushed decisions and commit common mistakes such as overpaying.

6. Not liking your neighbours

Experts say that when you buy a home, you are also buying into the neighbourhood. Not doing enough research about the neighbourhood and your future neighbours before purchasing a property can be a big mistake as it can put you in a miserable living situation – especially if your neighbours happen to be rude, inconsiderate, and obnoxious.

Avoid this by taking the time to get know to the neighbourhood before committing to a property. Do not hesitate to meet with the neighbours. This will give you an idea if you can get along with them and they may also be able to provide additional information about the home you are planning to buy.

7. The commute is too long

Your commute becomes a burden if it is taking away valuable time you can otherwise spend with your family or personal goals. It is best to do a geographical research of the location you are buying into to know how long it will take to travel to and from work, if there is access to public transport, and if it is near lifestyle amenities.

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