This Is the No. 1 Regret Homeowners Have, Study Shows

Experts say there are ways to avoid making this all-too-common mistake.

The housing market has been flipped on its head during the pandemic. While there are many new frustrations people have about buying a house in 2021, some regrets are timeless. A recent survey looked at the biggest money-related regrets people have after becoming homeowners, broken down by age group. While it seemed millennial homebuyers had more regrets than their Gen X or baby boomer counterparts, the biggest regret overall was the same for all three age groups: Maintenance of a home costs too much.

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By a large margin, the biggest regret among homebuyers was being ill-prepared for the cost of maintenance. In a survey done by YouGov and commissioned by Bankrate, more than 20 percent of millennial homeowners said they felt the costs of homeownership were too high. When you zero in on younger millennials, ages 25 to 31, that number jumped to 26 percent.

"This is such a common regret because prior to owning a home, people are used to these costs being the responsibility of their landlords," explains real estate broker Kris Lippi. "This is most especially true for first-time homeowners." He adds that people often expect that maintenance is something that will come up down the line, so they aren't prepared to deal with it soon after moving in.

Lippi says that in order to prevent having this regret, "arm yourself with information" by doing a ton of research before investing in a home. He recommends talking with existing homeowners for advice, because they can share first-hand insight.

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"Many homebuyers don't add maintenance expenses into their budgets and end up financially unprepared for them," says Laura Adams, a real estate expert with Clearsurance. "It isn't easy to know precisely how much ongoing maintenance will cost. It depends on your amenities, such as a large yard, swimming pool, or aging appliances."

Even if you've budgeted for your assumed maintenance costs, unexpected repairs often pop up. Adams suggests keeping a reserve of at least 1 to 3 percent of your home's purchase price in your savings account for home maintenance and repairs.

Of course surprising maintenance prices aren't the only thing that causes homebuyers anxiety. Read on for the four other biggest money-related regrets buyers had, broken down by generation.

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They overpaid for the house.

Woman looking concerned while paying bills from home

Millennial homebuyers: 13 percent

Gen X homebuyers: 5 percent

Baby boomer homebuyers: 3 percent

The mortgage payment is too high.

Woman looking concerned while reading her bills

Millennial homebuyers: 13 percent

Gen X homebuyers: 5 percent

Baby boomer homebuyers: 2 percent

They're unhappy with the mortgage rate.

Middle aged couple sitting at home looking at their finance problems
David Prado Perucha / Shutterstock

Millennial homebuyers: 12 percent

Gen X homebuyers: 7 percent

Baby boomer homebuyers: 4 percent

They don't think it was a good investment.

couple checking bills while managing accounts on home banking sitting at home discussing finance for the month

Millennial homebuyers: 9 percent

Gen X homebuyers: 3 percent

Baby boomer homebuyers: 3 percent

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