You're in the market to buy a home; getting the home you want is clearly the goal but sometimes not the end result. This can lead to real estate regrets. According to Trulia Inc., a leading online marketplace for home buyers, sellers, renters and real estate professionals, 75% of Americans say it's better to buy a home now rather than wait a year from now.
However, those who were in the process or have already purchased a home at the time of the Trulia survey say, armed with the knowledge they have now, they would have done things differently. The top five homebuyer regrets are:
I wish I had chosen a larger home: 34%
I wish I had done more remodeling when I bought the home than I did: 27%
I wish I had more information about the home before I decided: 22%
I wish I had put more money down for the down payment: 18%
I wish I had been more financially secure before I decided: 16%
The survey of 2000+ consumers found that more than half (52%) had some sort of regret about their home purchase or process of choosing their home. The common theme among those surveyed is that they wished they had invested more in their home, either by increasing the size, paying more for renovations, or coming up with a larger down payment.
While the majority of homebuyers said now is the time to buy, only 32% of Americans believe it's better to sell now than one year from now. With high home searches and low inventory in many markets, the search for a home can be a bit chaotic. Inventory is down 20-25% year-over-year. In some markets houses are moving very quickly and buyers are frequently making fast decisions, sometimes without enough consideration.
The survey found that "Among homebuyers who purchased their current home between 2010 and 2003, fewer had regrets compared to those who purchased from 2003 to 2009," the company stated on its site. Perhaps that's because the bubble peaked between 2003-2006 and falling housing prices may have spurred regrets regarding financial matters such as shopping for a better mortgage, borrowing less against their home, or wishing they understood the cost of homeownership better. Now, though, as the housing market is in recovery mode, those same regrets are dissipating.
"Homeowners who moved into their current home between 2001 and 2013 also have fewer financial regrets than people who moved into their current home during 2003-2006 or just after 2007-2009 (the bubble)…," the company reported.
Even in fast-paced, low-inventory markets, getting the home you want is possible if you get organized before you start your house hunting. The best ways to be prepared are to start your homeownership plan now. Even if you plan to rent for a year or more, begin to strategize for your future homeownership today.
This means that you put an active savings plan into effect. You pay down outstanding debt. You start to analyze your current lifestyle to determine which amenities are most vital for your lifestyle. I've often recommended in my columns to keep a three-ring binder with information on the housing market. Today, you can also do that online using a social media platform or cloud-based storage.
Keep relevant articles, photos of homes you like, decor, landscaping, special services, and reports. Having a folder or online resource that you can reference regularly will help you stay on track to eventually reach your goal of buying a home and getting the house you really want with few or no regrets.