As you open your front door and gaze out at your surroundings, does a part of you wonder what might have been if you’d bought in the area where you really wanted to reside? One quarter of people who didn't buy in their preferred location feel this way, based on the annual Which? homebuyers’ survey.
In our survey of just one,205 people who’d bought their homes in the past 2 yrs, one in five told us they’d compromised on location.
While 69% of these didn't have regrets, 25% wished they'd bought in their preferred area.
While you’ll almost always have to compromise on something when buying a home, some concessions result in bigger regrets than others. Read on to find out what compromises homeowners regret probably the most, and things you can do to make sure you buy a property you’ll be at liberty in when conducting your own house hunt.
Location, location, location?
While 20% of these surveyed asserted they’d compromised on location, some ended up buying much further using their favourite area than others.
A quarter of those who compromised on location ended up living under two miles from where they'd planned, but the same amount (25%) bought at least 10 miles away.
People living in London were probably the most likely to have bought outside their desired location (26%), closely accompanied by homeowners in Yorkshire and the Humber (24%), the South East (23%) and Wales (23%).
The regions with the least location-based compromise were the North East (13%), North West (15%) and East of England (15%).
If you’re attempting to decide whether or not to buy inside a particular location, our handy area research tool will explain about house prices, schools, council tax, quality of life and much more.
House price the most common compromise
Of course, it wasn't just location that homeowners compromised on. The people in our survey also reported groing through budget, accepting smaller rooms and even a less-than-perfect structural condition.
The graphic below reveals the most common homebuying compromises.
Should you break your budget when buying a house?
It’s no secret that buying a home is pricey, with 26% saying they spent a lot more than they had intended, perhaps it’s no surprise that 19% of these found regret it.
But with the most of homeowners saying they did not regret overspending, you might wonder whether you should do the same.
While spending a lot more than you can afford is always inadvisable, strict market regulations mean lenders are highly unlikely to offer you a mortgage you can’t repay anyway.
Read our help guide to just how much mortgage you are able to borrow to find out what you’re likely to be offered – and only commit to payments you know you may make, even if your needs change.
Compromising on structural condition homeowners’ biggest regret
Most of those who had compromised on at least one facet of their property told us they didn’t live to regret it – and also the proportion of those that had regrets varied based on exactly what the compromise was, as the table below shows:
A relatively small proportion of house owners (17%) compromised on their own garden, but 26% of those who did regretted it.
And, while 23% bought a home with decor that wasn't to their taste, just 5% regretted it – perhaps because dodgy colour schemes aren’t too expensive to exchange.
A leaking roof, on the other hand, is usually a lot more costly to repair. It’s no surprise, then, that compromising on structural condition was homebuyers’ biggest regret, with 30% wishing they hadn’t.
How to prevent homebuying regrets
If seeing how often homeowners regret their buying decisions has you worried, take these steps to reassure yourself that you’re purchasing the right property for you personally: