Buying a home is serious business, especially if you’re making the financial commitment for the first time. While millennials continue to make up a strong chunk of all home buyers, it turns out that they might be too easily swooned by crown molding, original hardwood floors, and charming facades.
According to a new survey from Bankrate, nearly two-thirds of millennial homeowners have regrets about their purchase. After surveying 2,668 adults, including 1,493 homeowners, they discovered that 44 percent of all homeowners have regrets and that the number is even higher among younger generations. Approximately 63 percent of millennial homeowners who participated claim they would go back on their purchase if they could. Their biggest pain point? Unforeseen maintenance and hidden closing costs.
“When you buy a house, you can’t call the maintenance company or a landlord to fix major issues; it’s all on you,” Luis Rosa, a certified financial planner in Henderson, Nevada, told Bankrate.
In other words, it’s the not-so-glamorous expenses—like purchasing a new air conditioning unit or replacing the water heater—that tend to take first-time buyers by surprise. Sure, you might love the sweeping staircase that frames the foyer and the look of your french doors in the bedroom, but what kind of condition is the furnace in?
Here are three precautions to take to avoid buyer’s remorse.
Don’t stretch your budget
It can be tempting to push your wallet to the limit when you believe your dream home is at stake. But when it comes to your down payment, monthly mortgage bills, and additional expenses and repairs, “winging it” will only stress you out. The trick to avoiding a financial meltdown? Budget early.
“Put yourself on financial lockdown for at least six months before purchasing a home,” Dana Scanlon, a realtor in Bethesda, Maryland, told Bankrate. When the time comes to house hunt, avoid considering homes that are outside your budget and account for structural and cosmetic changes even if you don’t have plans for a full gut renovation.
Think of space in terms of the long run
We’re all for making the most of small spaces when we have to, but if you know you need ample square footage to function, don’t squeeze your belongings into a teeny, one-bedroom home just because you think you’re saving money. According to the survey, 12 percent of homeowners said that their biggest regret was buying a house that was too small. A smaller home that spans 1,000 square feet might meet your needs this year, but how will it measure up when you add a troop of new plants, a pet, or a child to the mix?
Immerse yourself in your new neighborhood
Next to unexpected maintenance expenses and buying a house that is too small, participants claimed that their third biggest regret is that they put down roots in a less than ideal location. Loving your neighborhood can be just as important as loving your home. Educate yourself about your new home’s surroundings by popping into nearby restaurants, talking to potential neighbors, and familiarizing yourself with the traffic, noises, and other quirks.
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