Owning a new home is a milestone most people want to achieve.

When shopping around for a home, the feeling for prospective buyers may feel exhilarated and frenzied, leading them to make rushed decisions. And when the process is all over, buyer's remorse sets in. 

Buying a home is a complex process, so it's easy to be overwhelmed and overlook many factors which could later taint the joy of being a homeowner afterward. According to a survey by Zillow, 75% of recent homebuyers have at least one regret about their new home.

Setting clear priorities before embarking on your home buying process is one way to numb the adrenalin rush that comes with the home buying process. It helps you focus on what you need in a house and feel more secure about your decision later on, avoiding some common home buyer regrets. 

In this article, we look at some things home buyers wished they knew before they closed the deal.

 

 

8 Common Home Buyer Regrets to Get in Front of 

1. Not seeing the bigger picture.

Buying a home is a decision that could affect your life in the long term and in so many different ways.

As such, there are many factors and potential curveballs to consider. Sometimes, homebuyers fail to picture the future when they are shopping for homes. You have to think about what you'll need 5, 10, or 20 years from now, and make sure you find a home that fits the lifestyle you foresee.

Simple things like:

...usually top the checklist of home buyers. 

However, other less obvious details like:

...could also have an impact on how we feel about the house later on. 

When you're purchasing a property, you're buying a lifestyle. But also, understand that life is dynamic, and each stage in life comes with its unique challenges which require adjustments. For example, would you still be staying in the same home when your kids reach their teen years?

 

2. Not getting a home inspection

Home buyers are constantly looking for ways to save money when negotiating home prices.

However, it turns out that a cent saved today could cost you a dollar tomorrow. A home inspection lets you know what kind of shape the home is in, and how much money you are likely to spend if you move in.

As such, you should refuse to waive it if the agency offers it as one of the contingencies

Though inspections are not a one-size-fits-all solution to repair problems you may be facing in the house, it is best to work with a seller that prioritizes issues like repairs. 

To avoid any regrets, try to ensure that you have a clear understanding of every repair issue. If the report is confusing, hire an electrician, plumber, or roofer to get clarity on the issue before going to settlement. 

 

3. Not researching mortgage options and rates

Skimming over the financial details of the home buying process could hurt your pocket down the road.

This should be one area you should pay attention to because of its long-term effect on your finances. Most people tend to skip comparing rates because it is a time-consuming process. 

No matter how enticing the deal may seem, research other options to get the best mortgage.

Chances are you could get a better deal. You should contact at least three different lenders before you make a decision.

Ask what all of your options are and make sure you understand them before making a down payment. You do not need to get your mortgage from the same bank that issued your pre-approval.

 

4. Focusing on aesthetics

Everyone loves a home that is complemented with a beautiful scenic view or artsy interior decoration.

But this could be a distraction when it comes to the nitty-gritty of your home like how big your kitchen is, or its distance from shopping malls. 

 

5. Renovation costs

There will come a time when you may wish to renovate your home.

But it could come at a steep financial price. When purchasing a home, consider the potential costs of renovations if you decide to upgrade.

Though it is difficult to estimate this at first because, well, you are moving into a new home, it is always best to factor this in your calculations. You can talk to a general contractor or an architect to get an estimation as part of your due diligence.

 

6. Maintenance costs

Maintenance costs are like shadows, you can't shake them off no matter how hard you run. 

Even if homebuyers don't plan to purchase a home that needs major renovations, they may fail to understand the cost of upkeep. 

HOA fees, taxes, and insurance costs are only one part of the puzzle. Other things like lawn care or snow removal also add up to your home expenses.

There are also unexpected costs such as leaks, new plumbing, or installing a new boiler. As such, it's best you make provision for maintenance costs when trying to buy a home. 

 

7. Impulsive buying 

If you thought FOMO only happens with stocks, then you are wrong.

Sometimes the "Fear of missing out" makes a buyer purchase a house on impulse, only to regret it later. Even with due diligence and research, it is still possible to fall victim to your impulses.

This could lead you to spend more than you budgeted, not to mention that you could overlook factors such as maintenance, taxes, repairs, etc. 

Since a home is a long-term investment, you should take control of your emotions when making a decision. To make sure your emotions are not running ahead of you in your home-buying journey, always seek the opinion of another person.

This helps you to put things in perspective and consider other angles that may not be obvious to you. After all two (good) heads are better than one. 

 

8. Financial condition

It’s common for buyers to buy at the top end of their range of affordability.

They may do this with the expectation that their financial situation will grow to match or overcome the high cost of the property. However, if you are not careful you could end up being house poor.

It’s better to buy a home that's a little bit beneath your maximum financial capability. That will leave extra room in your budget to take care of all the other things in your life that aren’t related to your home. It also acts as a buffer in case you can't maintain your present lifestyle in the future. 

 

 

Common Home Buyer Regrets: Avoid Them

Buying a home is an emotional and complicated process, making it easy for a lot of prospective buyers to lose track of things they should consider.

Though the points outlined above are not exhaustive, these common home buyer regrets can serve as a good starting point when you intend to buy a home. 

The key thing is having the understanding that buying a home is not just a financial decision, but it's also one that could have a serious impact on your life. Your present needs may be important, but perhaps your future needs may be more important when buying a home.

As such, you have to make sure to cross the T's and dot the I's before you commit. If you are unsure, you can consult with family, friends, or real estate experts for advice. You can read this article if you need more information on things you should know before buying a house.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska