Only about 45% of Gen Xers (aged 41 to 56) and 33% of Baby Boomers (aged 57 to 75) reported having some type of remorse about their current home, according to the ‘investigation. But overall, it’s pretty common to have some dissatisfaction: around 43% of all homeowners have at least one regret about their home.
“These purchases, even for those who are well qualified, can be a leap of faith,” said Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate. People tend to focus so much on the possibility of buying a home that often it feels like everything else will work out after the initial purchase is complete.
“The reality is, this is just the start of the homeownership experience,” says Hamrick. After the initial excitement wears off, many owners find themselves with a regret or two, which they wish they had done differently.
“You’re never going to get your entire wish list, so you usually have to make at least a few compromises because money is a factor in the biggest financial transaction of your life,” she says. These compromises could lead to a feeling of regret down the line.
But just because homeowners may have some qualms that doesn’t mean they never wish they had bought their home. “Overall, most people are happy they made the decision to buy,” says Hamrick.
The most common regret: underestimating the costs
Beth Holmes-Roberts, 38, and her husband bought their first home in January 2019. The 60-year-old San Antonio, Texas home consists of four bedrooms and two bathrooms and was listed for $ 195,000 . “We literally walked into the house the first day we looked and said, ‘We need this one,’” says Holmes-Roberts.
While Holmes-Roberts says owning a home has been a blessing, especially amid the Covid-19 pandemic, she wishes she had done a bit more research into what the home buying process looked like. in advance, especially with regard to mortgage procedures. “It kind of looked like a whirlwind of activity that ended up bringing us past this empty house with a set of keys saying, ‘Okay, here we are,’” she said.
Maintaining the house has been an ongoing challenge, says Holmes-Roberts. Over the past two years, a lot of plumbing has been done, including fixing a toilet and a tub that was not draining properly. They also had to replace their entire garage door. All of the family’s stimulus payments over the past year, over $ 6,500, have been used to maintain the house.
“The vast majority of the money we’ve spent on the house since we moved in has been either standard maintenance or preventative maintenance, so we couldn’t start the renovations we wanted to do,” Holmes- Roberts says.
Last year, homeowners spent an average of $ 13,138 on household projects, according to HomeAdvisor’s new 2020 Real Estate Expenditure Report. While these costs can vary depending on where you live and the age and condition of your home, homeowners should plan to spend 1% to 3% of the home’s purchase price. annual maintenance.
This means that if your home costs $ 300,000, it is worth setting aside at least $ 3,000 each year for repairs and maintenance.
How to get ahead of the owner’s regrets
Build your savings
The most important thing is to have a fairly large savings cushion. Think of it like a game of poker, says Hamrick. If you put all your chips in the middle of the table to buy a house, you’re going to be in trouble right off the bat. You must have tokens, or in this case, savings, in reserve.
“Life is going to come to you quickly, whether it be something that happens with regards to the maintenance costs of the house, or suddenly your car tire goes flat or there is a big dental bill” , says Hamrick. Having a strong savings cushion is essential.
You might be tempted to spend everything you have on the down payment or closing costs, but Hamrick says that’s a mistake. “The need to save almost becomes more important after you own a home because there is more risk with spending,” says Hamrick.
Make sure you are thorough
It’s important to think about what you’re looking for and how you’ll get there in the most complete way, says Lautz. Look at any potential home with your eyes open to what the property has to offer and what it would mean to live there for years, if not decades, she adds.
It is also important that all appropriate inspections are carried out. Even if you have to spend a little more up front, it can mean that you will avoid unpleasant surprises down the road. “Home inspectors are there to help you and understand all the systems in this house,” Lautz says.
Do your homework
When it comes to buying a home, be patient, says Lautz. Once you decide to buy, it can be tempting to rush through the process and start looking for places. But taking the time to do your research on the market and the types of homes that interest you can be a big advantage.
Look at the photos online first and think about which homes you’re going to see in person, Lautz says. This way you and your real estate agent really approach and view homes in a very strategic way, and bid on the ones that really matter.
And at the end of the day, it’s about finding a home that’s right for you so that you don’t have any major regrets.
“I am really happy that we chose the house to buy. We really felt at home here, and we feel like this is the right home for us, ”says Holmes-Roberts.
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