HSH.com did a survey of 2,000 home buyers over the age of 25 who recently purchased a home and found a staggering 80% were dissatisfied with their home! This number came as a shock to us, as 98% (or more) of our buyer clients are super happy with their homes, even years after their purchase. Looking at the list, I believe it is because a lot of these issues are something we ask our home buyers to think about, even if they don’t mention it to us. When you buy a home, you want to buy more for the long term. The most expensive part of buying and selling is buying and selling. The fewer times you can do that in a lifetime, the less you’ll pay in fees. Here’s what 80% of home buyers regret and how you can avoid buyer’s remorse.
16% Felt their Home Was too Small
Outgrowing a home is actually one of the top reasons homeowners decide to sell. You can live with a small home for a while, but eventually you are busting at the seams and need to move into something bigger.
Pro Tip for Determine How Big of a Home You Need: Ask yourself where you want your life to be in 5-10 years and try to plan for as many unknowns as you can. Questions like, will an older parent have to come and live with me? Would I like to get married? How many kids do I see myself having? Will I need a dedicated space for a home office? Of course you might not be able to plan for every possibility, but these questions will help you consider what type of space you will likely need in the next several years.
9% Said They Didn’t Have Enough Storage or Closet Space
We see evidence of this in quite a few homes for sale. Just yesterday, I saw a quasi closet built in someone’s garage. Closets in older homes are generally not built for the amount of clothes and stuff we have today. If you are someone who has a lot of stuff, closet and storage space will affect how you enjoy living in your home, especially when clutter is spilling out everywhere.
Pro Tip for Planning for Storage: Compare storage in the house you’re looking at to storage in your current place. Does the new home have enough storage for you to keep your belongings without spilling into other bedroom’s closets? What if a kid were to come into the picture, would you be able to then have enough closet space to put everything you need? Do you need a space for your cars, or would you use a garage as storage? Is there room in the yard to put a storage shed so you don’t have to keep garden tools in the garage? Do you need space for a hobby? Does the house you’re considering have adequate storage space for that? Finally, will your stuff just barely fit in the storage space available in the house, or do you have room to grow into it?
Other Common Complaints from Buyers
The two biggest complaints from recent home buyers are mostly due to size of home and space to store things. But, those aren’t the only types of complaints the respondents had. Here are some additional complaints home buyers had about their new homes.
Neighbors were a Nuisance
Living next to a neighbor that’s a nuisance can significantly affect how you enjoy living in your home. Whether it be how they keep their yard, how loud they are, or that they have 6 cars parked on the street, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to get them to change their ways.
Pro Tip for Checking Out Neighbors: When you are looking at homes, make sure to observe the homes around it. Are they kept up well? Is there trash in the yard? How many cars are on the street or in driveways? When you’ve identified the house you want, walk the neighborhood. Listen for how noisy it is. Walking is the only way to really get a sense for the daily workings of the neighborhood. Ideally, you should walk the neighborhood at several different times of day and on weekends, so you can gather as much data as possible. Some neighborhoods are busier at night and others are busier during the day.
Didn’t Know the Schools were Poorly Rated
Schools are another common complaint we hear from people who want to sell their homes. Either no one brought up schools to them when they were buying, or they did not think they would stay in the house long enough to have kids and decided to buy anyway.
Pro Tip for Considering Schools: Never ignore school ratings – even if you don’t have kids or don’t plan to have kids. Schools are the single most influential factor that contributes to resale value. Historically homes in the better school districts have held their value more than homes in inferior school districts. Even if you don’t plan to use the schools, know how they’re rated, so you know what you’ll be facing when it comes time to sell.
Home Had Too Few Bathrooms
Not having enough space to get ready in the mornings would impact anyone’s enjoyment of their home, the cost of a new bathroom varies according to the job size so make sure to decide how big you will like your bathroom to be. If I had to sacrifice 30 minutes of sleep in the morning just to accommodate my family’s bathroom time, I would certainly be looking for a new house.
Pro Tip for Number of Bathrooms: Think about the needs of your family. Do you all take morning showers? Do you get ready at different times or the same time in the morning? If your family size would increase, how might that change the number of bathrooms you would need? Think before buying a house with only 1 bathroom. Do you want your guests using your bathroom? Would you want at least another half bath for guests to use?
Yard Was Too Small
From a privacy standpoint, a small yard can mean the difference between you actually using your backyard to avoiding it.
Pro Tips for Determining Your Ideal Yard Size: Will you need room for a garden? An outdoor playscape? Outdoor seating area? Room for a pool? Space for kids or pets to run? If you don’t have kids or a pet now, is that a possibility for your future? This one might be a little more difficult, especially if you don’t have a yard currently and don’t know how you would use it. But, think about how you would want to use your outdoor space and ask yourself if the home you’re considering has enough of it.
Not Enough Natural Light
Brightness is one thing that can make or break a buyer’s decision to buy, even if they don’t know that’s what’s causing them to like or dislike a house. Dark homes don’t feel very inviting, while bright homes feel cheery and welcoming.
Pro Tips for Evaluating Light: When you tour a home that’s for sale, often the owner will leave on all the lights. They want to create a bright house, especially if the house is not necessarily bright. If you decide this home might be on the short list, turn off all the lights and see how bright the house is without any lights on. Check how the house is oriented, whether it will get morning or afternoon sun and how many windows the house has. Will the home be bright enough?
Steep Maintenance Costs
Maintenance costs are one of the risks to buying a home. Some maintenance costs, like a roof, you can plan for, and others, like a broken A/C in the middle of a heat wave, you can’t. What can you do to plan for some of these unexpected maintenance costs?
Pro Tips for Planning for Maintenance Costs: Have your Buyer’s Agent recommend a great home inspector who will go through the house with a fine tooth comb. Ask them questions about how long they think certain systems might last. Is the roof nearing the end of it’s usable life? Is the water heater original to the house? Once you get a better handle on those issues, purchase a home warranty that covers as many of the systems and components as possible (we can get the seller to pay for the warranty). The home warranty can limit your out of pocket expense to a service call when one of the covered systems or components breaks. This protection will help offset some maintenance costs.
Home Was Too Big
Though this was one of the least frequent complaints, some home buyers felt their home was too big. It is one thing to buy a home you can grow into and yet another thing to buy a home that’s so big you wouldn’t fill it up in a lifetime.
Pro Tips for Evaluating the Size of a Home: Yes, it is important to buy a home that you can grow into, rather than a home that’s just big enough for your family. But, it is also important to think about what size home might be too big. It’s nice to have 5 bathrooms, but do you want to clean all of them? Will you have empty rooms for years to come? Do you want to heat empty rooms that you are never going to use? Think about how long you might live in the house and try to evaluate how much space you’ll need while you’re living there.
22% of Dissatisfied Home Buyers thought About their Mistake Daily
Interestingly enough, dissatisfied home buyers thought about their home buying mistakes more often than you’d think. 36% of survey respondents said they only thought about their home buying regrets occasionally, 37% thought about it frequently and 22% thought about it everyday. To home buyers, these oversights impacted how they enjoy living in their house.
What Do Home Buyers Wish They Would Have Researched
Looking back, here is what the home buyers surveyed wished they would have researched before they bought.
- 25% wished they’d researched the neighborhood or neighbors
- 22% wished they’d researched home insurance costs
- 20% wished they’d researched property taxes
- 14% wished they’d researched local schools
Do You Want to Love Your Home in Austin?
We’ve helped thousands of buyers in our combined 55+ years in the business find the best home for their family at this point in their lives. We help them think through what they really need or want in a home, so they can avoid buyer’s remorse. If you’re looking for a Buyer’s Agent who will professionally coach you through the home buying process, not sell you the most expensive home you see, we might be the best buyer’s agents for you. Check out our Austin Home Buyers section to learn more about who we are and how we work. Then, call us at (512) 827-8323, email us at info@11OaksRealty.com or fill out our Buyer Survey to schedule a no obligation consultation.