Regrets? Recent Home Buyers Have Had a Few

In this hyper-competitive housing environment, most home buyers who even consider themselves lucky enough to have found a home have some regrets about their purchase—and the process, said Zillow, Seattle.

A Zillow survey found even those who are successful often make compromises and can suffer from buyer’s remorse. It said three-quarters of those who successfully purchased a home in the past two years say they have at least one regret about the home they bought (75%). Nearly one-third of new buyers regret buying a home that needs more work or maintenance than expected (32%). A similar percentage regret buying a home that is too small (31%).

“The pandemic-driven feeding frenzy in the for-sale market added challenges for buyers, especially those purchasing for the first time,” said Zillow population scientist Manny Garcia. “Many of those buyers ended up in a home that was less than ideal. It’s important to remember that even in a balanced market, most buyers have to make compromises to stay within their budget. However, to minimize regret, aspiring buyers would be wise to establish where they’re willing to compromise and what’s a deal breaker before shopping.”

The survey said most successful buyers (74%) wish they had done at least one thing differently during the shopping process, with 38% wishing they had spent more time searching for a home or weighing their options. One-quarter would have shopped for and purchased a home in a different area (28%).

A vast majority of successful buyers say they had to make at least one compromise to afford their home (81%). Nearly 2 in 5 say they ended up in a location that increased their commute time (39%), while 32% purchased a home that was smaller than they initially planned to buy.

The survey also noted buyer burnout has become increasingly common amid rapid home price appreciation. Nearly 60% of successful buyers say they took a break from their home search (59%), while 72% of prospective buyers say they have done the same. Both prospective and successful buyers who paused their search were most likely to do so because the type of home they wanted to buy became too expensive.

“These pandemic-era buyers faced unprecedented conditions,” the survey said. “They had far fewer homes to choose from and far more competition for the homes that were listed for sale…today’s buyers face similar challenges, but in a calmer market, they should have more time to assess their options before making one of life’s biggest financial investments.”