Life is full of regrets, from the risks you never took to the fashion choices you unfortunately made (shoulder pads, really?). But for many millennial homeowners, their biggest regrets may have to do with the homes they've purchased.
According to a recent survey by Bankrate.com, 63% of millennial homeowners feel buyer's remorse when it comes to their current home purchase. In fact, millennials (meaning those in the 23–38 age range) are more inclined to regret their home purchase than any other age group, and nearly double the percentage of baby boomers (35%) who say they have regrets.
So what exactly do millennials hate about their homes? The most common regret from all respondents is underestimating the costs of maintenance and repairs, with one-quarter of millennial homeowners noting that this was their biggest pain point.
"A lot of folks don’t realize how much it costs to repair and replace items. They're used to picking up the phone and having a landlord or maintenance company come fix it," says Deborah Kearns, a Bankrate mortgage reporter and author of the survey. "It can be a real shock to the wallet."
Bankrate commissioned YouGov Plc to conduct the online survey of 2,668 adults, including 1,493 homeowners, from Jan. 30 to Feb. 1.
Other regrets that homeowners reported included size and location—many say they bought a house a little too cozy (12%), too big (5%), or in a bad area (8%). Homeowners are also kicking themselves for poor financial decisions, with 7% of respondents lamenting a poor investment and having high monthly mortgage payments.
So what exactly can potential homeowners do to prevent home buyer's remorse down the road?
How to avoid home buyer's remorse
Once you've finally picked out your dream home, it's tempting to sign the papers as quickly as possible to get those keys and move in. But not so fast: Getting a home inspection is a crucial step that can save homeowners from future remorse, Kearns notes.
"The entry-level price range is competitive, and some buyers will skip a home inspection contingency to make their offer more competitive," she says. "But this is a huge mistake."
A home inspection will help buyers understand exactly what they are about to acquire. An inspector may unveil issues in the home that are not noticeable to the naked eye, like electrical issues or mold, and this can save a homeowner a pretty penny.
Kearns also suggests that homeowners set aside 1% of their home’s purchase price each year in a savings account so when tragedy strikes in the form of a broken boiler, there's money to cover these expenses.
"Budgeting early on can prevent dipping into emergency savings or going into debt to handle these repairs,” she adds.
As for avoiding home-size regrets? Kearns recommends looking ahead toward the future and debating whether or not a space will work with a family.
"You may have to sacrifice a few things on your wish list to get a home that will last," she adds.
And to avoid accidentally buying a home in a less-than-ideal area, ask your real estate agent about the safety of the neighborhood, or research it yourself.
"It behooves you to lean on that expertise so you’re not buying in a place with a high crime rate," Kearns says. "Take the time and do a little bit of legwork to make sure you’re covering all your bases."