A Surprising Number of Homeowners Suffer “Buyer’s Remorse”

by Peter Thomas Ricci

We don’t like to pair the term “buyer’s remorse” with real estate, but new survey results suggest we should.

The term “buyer’s remorse” is often associated with cars and appliances, but a new survey from Redfin suggests that a surprising number of homebuyers experience it as well.

According to the survey results, which was conducted by Harris Poll and sampled more than 2,000 adults, one in four American homeowners (25 percent!) have experienced buyer’s remorse, meaning that if they had to do it all over again, they would not buy the home they currently live in.

Regional and Demographic Differences

Beyond that 25-percent total, the Harris Poll survey also uncovered some very interesting nuance to the findings:

  • Midwest homeowners, at 28 percent, were the most prone to buyer’s remorse, with the Northeast (27 percent), South (25 percent) and West (20 percent) following its lead.
  • Older homeowners were the least likely age group to experience buyer’s remise, with 85 percent stating they’d buy their home again (compared to 72 percent of Americans aged 18 to 64).
  • Interestingly, women (at 27 percent) and people with children under 18 (28 percent) were more likely to experience remorse with their home purchase.
  • Finally, one’s income level also has a strong impact on buyer’s remorse. Eighty-six percent of individuals with a household income or $100,000 or more were satisfied with their purchase, which is 16 percentage points higher than those with incomes below $100,000; also, those with a college degree or higher were more satisfied (at 82 percent) than those with some college or less (72 percent).

Agents and Buyer’s Remorse

What can such numbers mean for real estate agents? Of the consumers that Harris sampled, 89 percent who bought or sold a home in the past 10 years used an agent, and 47 percent said they “loved” working with their agent.

However, there was a pronounced generational difference. Though 52 percent of homeowners aged 35 to 44 loved their agent, only 31 percent of homeowners aged 18 to 34 shared their feelings – and if you notice, both younger homebuyers and those with a lower income level were less likely to be satisfied with their purchase.

Are agents connecting less with their younger clients? Is homeownership losing its luster? What’s going on?

Obviously, it would be irresponsible to draw any conclusions at this point, but suffice to say, it’ll be interesting to see if further survey data in 2014 (especially NAR’s next Generational Trends study) comes up with similar findings.

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