What are the biggest regrets for first-time buyers?

What are the biggest regrets for first-time buyers?

First-time buyers can be emotional, they fall in love with a property and get caught up in bidding wars they can’t afford.

After the boxes are unpacked and the infatuation had faded almost half of them said they would do things differently, according to a recent Zillow survey.

Here some of the biggest regrets.

Size and layout

Of buyers with regrets, 62 percent said they wish their homes were larger or laid out differently. They wish they had bigger kitchens, more storage space or just more space in general.

You may outgrow a property quicker than you think, so reviewing the floor plan and looking at the configuration of rooms and the flow between rooms can be more important that square footage.

Perhaps a more modern house might suit your requirements if you’re looking for a open-plan living

Sometimes, they just need to consider something more modern.

The cost

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 completing the purchase.

Of the 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.

The neighborhood

More than a quarter of those with regrets said they don’t like their neighborhood or area.

One tip is to visit your potential new home over a weekend or on a Friday night.  You’ll be able see what’s happening, whether the street is noisy and whether the street is overcrowded with cars.

You may think differently about your dream home if the neighbourhood doesn’t meet your expectations.

The garden

Almost one in four homeowners had a regret about their garden. Of the 24 percent who cited lessons learned, 12 percent wish for bigger gardens, and 12 percent wish they had easier gardens to maintain.

That means you should be realistic about what you want in a garden before you buy. If you’re going to want bigger and more outdoor space, you have have to compromise on location by moving further away from the city centre.


Nearly 17 percent of first-time buyers with regrets wish they had a different parking situation — another practical matter that might get lost in the emotional swirl of a first property purchase.

That’s where a good agent comes in.  If you’re a first-time buyer you should look at a good selection of homes and be aware of the positives as well as the negatives.  When you dream about paint colors and where you put your furniture, be aware of any issues with parking, location and resale.  Make sure you think everything through so that your heart doesn’t rule your head!

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted February 27-28, 2014. For the survey, a nationally representative sample of 2,030 randomly-selected adults aged 18 and older residing in the U.S. was interviewed via Ipsos’ U.S. online omnibus.

Buying a property can be a daunting task regardless of whether you are a first time buyer or if you have bought multiple properties.  Get advice from Martin & Co and take a look at our frequently asked Buyer questions here http://www.martinco.com/buy/property/advice/faqs.

With thanks to Emily Hefter, Zillow for this article.