Nearly 75% of pandemic homebuyers are now suffering remorse — don’t make these mistakes when you put in an offer

‘Didn’t Want To Wait Too Long’: Nearly 75% Of Pandemic Home Buyers Are Now Suffering From Guilt – Don’t Make These Mistakes When Bidding

Kay Kingsman bought her first home in the summer of 2021, but now she wishes she hadn’t.

Kingsman, a travel blogger based in Portland, Oregon, says she decided to buy because she had a lot of money saved from not traveling during the pandemic and mortgage rates were extremely low.

She and many other homebuyers during the pandemic rushed into a purchase that didn’t fully align with their needs, and are currently dealing with the ramifications.

Kingsman recounts finding beard shavings in the bathroom and the carpet smelled like cat urine when the previous owners moved out. The water pressure was weak and the air conditioner was broken.

He also found out that he didn’t have parking privileges thanks to a messy lawsuit they left behind.

“It’s just been a complete headache,” she says.

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Many homebuyers overpaid or compromised on what they wanted

Nearly three-quarters of Americans who bought homes in 2021 and 2022 have regrets, according to the Anytime Estimate Survey of American Homebuyers, released in September.

“Pandemic-era buyers really faced these unprecedented conditions,” says Amanda Pendleton, Zillow’s home trends expert.

“This combination of rising prices, few options to choose from, and that extreme time pressure meant that some buyers actually ended up in a home that wasn’t ideal.”

The survey showed that respondents paid a median amount of $495,000 for their home, with nearly a third paying more than they asked for.

Eighty percent of buyers were also engaged with their priorities, like finding the right location. Some bought homes to fix up, while others made offers without ever seeing the properties in person.

Like Kingsman, 70% of buyers were buying a home for the first time. After seeing a previous listing that sold out in a day, she was determined not to be left behind.

“[Homes] they were selling well above the market rate. I didn’t want to wait too long,” explains Kingsman. “And I felt like I was swept up in this quick go, go, go movement.”

How to avoid regretting the purchase of a home?

Before you buy a home, make sure you’ve done your research and set your priorities.

She says her only priority had been finding a home that was close to where she works, but she wishes she had considered other factors, such as updated plumbing and proximity to green space and trails.

“I’d say my regret isn’t that I bought a house, it’s more that I didn’t take the time to choose the right house,” says Kingsman.

Pendleton has four tips for home hunters before buying a home.

“Number one: Before you go into the house hunt, really understand where you’re willing to compromise and where you’re not,” she says. It’s important to set your priorities and deciding factors and separate your needs from your wants ahead of time.

His second suggestion is to focus on the right things, like placement and design. “You can update an outdated kitchen, you can rip out that ugly rug. But all the money in the world can’t really change the location of your house, and changing the layout of a house would be very expensive.”

Pendleton’s third tip is to determine the hidden costs of home maintenance to make sure you can really afford it.

She advises against taking unnecessary risks, such as forgoing an inspection. This can end up being incredibly expensive later on.

Zillow Research shows that homeowners end up paying around $750 a month, or more than $9,000 a year just for basic repairs and maintenance.

“The fourth tip would be to have a sounding board,” advises Pendleton. “You know, you really want to trust a real estate agent that you trust to keep you grounded and focused on your priorities… So that they can help you identify potential red flags in the home.”

Read more: Should I wait for housing to plummet further before buying a house? 3 reasons why the end of 2022 could be the best time to make the leap

What can you do if you have regrets?

Kingsman doesn’t think he’ll ever be completely happy with his current home, mainly because he doesn’t have a designated parking spot and has to resort to street parking.

The previous owners were involved in a conflict with the HOA and one of the stipulations of the resulting lawsuit was that the future owner of the lot would also not have access to designated parking.

“So now all my neighbors are very upset with me because of some drama they had with the previous owner and my lot,” adds Kingsman.

She hopes to eventually sell or rent the house.

“I feel like a lot of people are very sentimental about their first house and stuff, and I can’t wait to get out there.”

Just because you buy a house doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll never move again.

“Not every home is going to be a forever home,” Pendleton emphasizes. “If your home doesn’t meet your needs, you can always move. And in today’s market, you’ll still get a very high price for your home.”

You could also consider doing renovations that suit your needs.

“Tomorrow your house may not look like it came straight off HGTV. But you know, if you work on it, maybe in two years, you’ll get a lot closer,” she says.

Look at any potential tax credits or rebates you can also claim for making upgrades, such as making energy efficiency improvements.

Today’s Home Buyers May Have Better Luck

If you can afford current mortgage rates and prices, you may be in a better place than buyers were in the last two years.

The housing market has shown signs of chill — with home sales falling for the seventh consecutive month and prices falling for the first time in a decade.

“The positive side for [buyers] it’s that they’re going to face less competition, they’re probably not going to get into a heated bidding war, they’re going to have more options to choose from, they’re going to have a little more breathing room to make that decision,” says Pendleton.

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This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.

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