90% of homeowners underestimated the cost

If you think it’s difficult to afford a home, you’re probably right.

Nine out of 10 homeowners who bought a home in the past three years say they were unprepared for the added costs of maintaining and financing their property, according to a new survey of 1,000 U.S. homeowners by Real Estate Witch, a real estate education platform.

Additionally, 73% of respondents said they regretted buying their home, with expensive maintenance and hidden costs cited as the most common reasons.

Only 35% of homeowners say they had no feelings of buyer’s remorse after purchasing their home. In the 2019 version of this survey, 65% of respondents felt no buyer’s remorse.

Median home prices have increased nearly 50% since 2019, so it makes sense that newer home buyers have regrets about their purchases, especially if they’re struggling to pay their mortgage costs. Rapidly rising house prices may also explain why nearly a third of homeowners say they paid too much for their home.

Of those with regrets, homeowners say they’ve been surprised by the cost of the following items.

  • Property tax: 33%
  • Renovations: 27%
  • Utilities: 27%
  • Roof work: 25%
  • Maintenance of the appearance of the home: 24%
  • Homeowners Insurance: 23%
  • Appliance repairs: 22%
  • Upgrading white goods: 21%
  • Plumbing: 21%
  • Gardening: 19%
  • Cleaning in the home: 16%
  • Foundation repairs: 15%
  • HOA Fees: 11%

Aside from mortgages, homeowners say they pay an extra $17,459 in annual expenses on average, according to the survey.

While many home buyers choose less expensive homes that they plan to renovate, the cost of improving a home can also be quite drastic. Remodeling a kitchen or bathroom can cost as much as $20,000, according to the study.

Likewise, older homes need constant maintenance. HVAC replacement costs an average of $7,000, according to HomeAdvisor.

With the benefit of hindsight, 57% of homeowners say they would have approached buying a home differently if they had realized the true costs of home ownership.

For those who have regrets, the most common things they would have done differently are:

  • Buy a house that requires less maintenance: 42%
  • Negotiated a better price or unexpected expenses on their home: 33%
  • Bought a cheaper home: 29%
  • Waited longer to buy a home: 27%

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