Homeownership remains one of the largest, if not the largest financial decision that one may make. Unfortunately, given the temperamental nature of the housing market, the evolving perspectives on homeownership, and the substantial impact that homeownership has on financial health, not every buyer lives without regrets.
Trulia did a fun survey about said regrets. Key fact:
In addition, 1/5 say a previous home purchase is holding them back.
Major regrets about any big decision are not uncommon, homeownership is no exception. Regardless of age, income, education, or real estate decision, regrets can come from a number of places.
Housing regrets are frequently due to a lack of through research or fact finding: 51% of participants overall express regrets about the process they used to select a home, and just under a fifth (15%) wished they had more information before they signed that mortgage document. Unlike dessert, more information is the better decision. Collect information on local property taxes, crime rates, quality of life, and nearby schools and infrastructure.
Homeowners may sit still for a decade, so knowing the neighborhood before they sign on the dotted line is critical.
Not thinking about the future seems to be another issue. Many homebuyers were unhappy about the amount of home they purchased (29% of younger folks wanted more) or felt they should have remodeled more. How much square footage is best remains a complicated question, but home buyers must also consider how a family can grow in that home.
Speaking of family, failing to consider the needs of children in regards to school or neighborhood remains a problem.
Financial security a major factor
Finally, not thinking about overall financial health tends to be a regret as well, especially among younger buyers, 17% wish they had been more financially secure.
Home buyers should consider personal debt management, particularly if they carry student loans as well. In general, some debt is better than others (here’s a quick primer). Using smart personal finance strategies to prioritize debt payoff is a good move for homeowners.
Homeownership has a big impact on financial health – leverage and plan accordingly.
Given how uncertain retirement looks for many Americans focusing on financial health should be as important as a lot of health decisions.
There is a lot of good information from Trulia, but it seems, especially with younger buyers, the focus should be on the future and making sure a home purchase doesn’t just meet today’s needs. The right house, the right fit, the right location, and the right price should line up.
Most importantly? Agents help home buyers fact find before they sign.