Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in your lifetime, and you want to get it right. But unless you do your homework and learn a little about the home-buying process, home buyers in Kansas City may find themselves regretting something long after they buy their home and moved in. In fact, nearly half of homeowners said they wish they had done something differently during the home-buying process, according to a 2017 survey of more than 1,400 homeowners conducted by financial website NerdWallet.
From choosing the wrong mortgages to buying a too-small home, here’s a list of the most common regrets people have after buying a home:
- Spending too much: If you bite off more than you can chew for a house financially, it can come back to bite you. More than half of Americans said they’ve had to make sacrifices in order to afford their mortgage or rent, a 2015 MacArthur Foundation survey found. A fifth of homeowners got an extra job to help, 17% stopped saving for retirement, and 14% just added to their credit card debt to stay afloat.
- Buying the wrong house: Five percent of homeowners said they regretted buying their home, but there are no take-backs or returns with real estate. To avoid buyers’ remorse, make sure you demand a home inspection before you buy a house, study the neighborhood and its crime statistics, and figure out what your daily commute to work will look like before you buy.
- Buying a too-small home: This was the No. 1 regret among homeowners, according to both NerdWallet and Trulia. Home buyers in Kansas City should make sure to find the home that best fits them and their family. While you don’t want to buy a home you can’t afford, 13% of homeowners told NerdWallet they regretted not buying bigger. Indeed, buying a home you can grow into might be a good idea. HomeAdvisor says a typical home addition costs $41,000 on average, and renovating a basement to make it livable costs $18,800 on average.
- Buying a home with high-maintenance features: So you want a house with a backyard pool and three acres? But are you prepared to spend the time and money to keep the pool crystal clear? Are you ok with spending every weekend mowing those acres? Many homeowners are attracted to appealing amenities during the home-buying process but then change their mind once they actually own the home. Those 20-foot ceilings are glorious until you have to change the lightbulbs.
- Not saving enough money: In general, the bigger your down payment, the better. A smaller down payment can get you into a house sooner, but it may result in higher costs in the long run. While it may seem daunting for first-time homebuyers to save the traditional 20% down payment, doing so can help avoid private mortgage insurance and result in less interest and smaller monthly payments over time. NerdWallet found that 28% of millennials and 27% of Gen Xers wished they had saved more before buying their house.
- Not doing enough research about the house: In a 2013 Trulia survey, 22% of homeowners said they regretted not having more information about their home before buying. Many of those were remorseful over not requiring a home inspection to find potential problems with a house before they bought it. Other regrettable factors included not checking the quality of the school district the house is in and not looking up crime statistics in the area.
- Not shopping around for a loan: Don’t simply take the first mortgage offered to you, experts warn. But half of borrowers do just that, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. About 41% of homeowners said they were not aware of all of their loan options, NerdWallet found. Home buyers in Kansas City, and everywhere, should apply for loans from several different lenders and ask about fees and APR. Just half a percent can mean a difference of tens of thousands over the life of your mortgage.
- Choosing the wrong mortgage: Research the different types of mortgages before starting the home-buying process. Learn about the pros and cons of traditional and adjustable-rate mortgages, as well as of interest-only and negative-amortization loans, before you start house hunting. Only then can you choose the best loan for you with no regrets.
The home-buying process is not for the faint of heart. But your real estate agent can walk you through every step so you won’t have regrets down the road. Home buyers in Kansas City can trust Team RE to help make your home-buying experience easy. Visit us at www.teamre.com.