Real Estate News & Commentary

What Do Americans Regret Most About Their Homes?

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Real Estate

With the housing market keeping its rebound and home sales and property value still on the upswing, it seems that a new wave of Americans will become first time homeowners. In light of this, Trulia recently published a study outlining longer-term homeowners biggest regrets about their property. As publicized by a new piece in Forbes, the Trulia’s data breaks down among a few distinct parameters:

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I Wish I’d Remodeled More

There’s a general theme to the overwhelming amount of homeowners qualms that Trulia tallied, and nearly all of them hinge on regrets around poor financial decisions. Even though it concerns the cosmetic state of your house (and not your literal checkbook), many of those polled expressed a hindsight wish that they’d renovated their home more thoroughly once it was theirs. Remodeling a home, or at least updating much of the structure, can go a long way towards augmenting its value in the future and preventing possible hangups with worn out architecture. A small investment in the exterior of your home can likely pay off beyond its initial value ten or twenty years down the line.

I Wish I’d Put In A Larger Down Payment

With many younger homeowners, having the financial resources to sustain a mortgage at all is often a struggle. Millennial homebuyers are particularly at risk for complications in getting a mortgage, with some commentators even going so far as to encourage expanding the circumstances under which potential buyers can gain credit. However, for longer-term homeowners, many seem most regretful about not doing what they could to clip the size of their mortgage loan. Putting in any sort of down payment can be challenging, but doing so goes a long way towards untangling the financial burden of a long-term mortgage. It seems that just like putting aside even meager savings for retirement, tightening your belt to restrict your mortgage weight pays off in spades down the line.

I Wish I Was More Financially Secure When I Bought

A kind of inverse to the regrets around a small down payment, many homeowners wish their financial windfall were bulkier when they first settled on a home. This seems to be an especially big regret since the housing crisis hit, for when many Americans saw their mortgages go underwater (or their property values dip overall), its created a domino effect with their assets. Unfortunately, the value of your house alone cannot sustain financial security, and for homeowners who didn’t have much fallback capital when the housing crash started, they had an even harder time sustaining a mortgage once the bubble burst. Better safe than sorry, as they say too often, and for potential buyers, it seems crucial that you do whatever you can to make sure your home purchase doesn’t become a detriment down the line.

All in all, it seems that doing whatever diligence you can to make sure your home is the best investment down the line goes a long way to staving off buyer’s remorse. A home is a foundation for raising a family, giving your kids a comfortable space to grow up in, and can still be a wonderful place to spend your days once the little ones are out the door. Still, a house will never be a truly be a home if it ever becomes a financial thorn in your side.

Photo: propertysnaps

    Replied over 7 years ago
    When I went house shopping, I started from the perspective of not wanting to spend more than 25% of my take home pay on the monthly mortgage payment. I then worked backwards towards how much house I could afford. I realize some areas make it particularly hard to do that, but this has helped me avoid house headache.
    Replied over 7 years ago
    Not sure how one’s private residence is ever really a good investment. If you buy new and hold for more then 30 years the place needs a total redo just to bring it into alignment with the rest of what might be for sale if you chose to put it on the market. If you buy an older place it will need a total redo whether upfront or along the way. Also since all of the payments for one’s home come out of our pocket as opposed to a tenant occupied property the investment is really negative. If you bought for example a $300k house after a 30 year mortgage you would have shelled out near another $300k in interest. On the other hand if you bought as I did with the idea of clearing the 30 year note in 7 years or less, the property might give you great peace of mind as mine has for the last 27 years. Not to mention the great return of saving tens of thousands in interest over the course of the loan. I know lots of equity is locked up in my bricks and mortar, but I would rather unlock the equity in my rental properties just in case the SHTF. If it never does I figure I have not as yet missed a meal based on the out of reach home equity.