Rookie Mistakes: Learn From First-Time Home Buyers’ Biggest Regrets
Virginia real estate agent Bic DeCaro has a psychology degree that comes in handy when she’s showing homes, especially to first-time buyers. They get emotional. They fall in love. They get caught up in bidding wars they can’t afford.
They make mistakes.
“The big thing is buying for the moment and not looking down the road,” she said.
That sums up the regrets of many first-time home buyers Zillow surveyed after their boxes were unpacked and their infatuation had faded. Almost half of them said they would do things differently if they had it to do over.
Here are their biggest regrets.
Size and layout
Of buyers with regrets, 62 percent said they wish their homes were bigger or laid out differently. They wish they had bigger kitchens, more storage space or just more space in general.
“Almost always, they outgrow it faster than they think,” DeCaro said.
Bobby Harding, a Keller Williams agent in Louisville, says first-time buyers think too much about square footage and not enough about the floor plan.
“Everybody wants 1,400 square feet, 2 bath, 2 beds … They’re thinking about Mom and Dad’s house, a segmented house,” he said.
Sometimes, they just need to consider something more modern.
In the Zillow survey, 40 percent of first-time buyers with regrets said they either paid too much or should have put more money down on their new homes.
More than a third (38 percent) said they were surprised by how much it costs to maintain their new homes, and 20 percent were surprised by the cost of closing.
Of their lessons learned about costs, 20 percent wish they had negotiated more on price, and 14 percent wish they had shopped around more for a mortgage.