13 First-Time Homebuyers Share Their Biggest Regrets

Know the fees

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Before finalizing your home sale, be sure to know of any reoccurring fees you will be accountable for and if they fit in your budget. Teacher and Los Angeles resident Joanna Campos knew she had to pay HOA fees for her townhome’s neighborhood but was surprised to discover she was responsible for a community association fee for the city, as well, which is for “the upkeep of parks, white picket fences, and trails,” she explains. Campos pays an extra $300 a year for this second association fee on top of paying $2,375 per year for her main HOA fees.

Imagine your daily life

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It is not easy to pick up and move when you have a 30-year loan attached to you, so be sure you really love your house before placing an offer. Beth Higgs started noticing inconveniences in her new home, like the lack of a linen closest, when she started unpacking. Higg’s house also lacked the feel of privacy with a large glass panel on the front door and an elevated house behind it. “I’m kind of a private person,” she says, “So while it isn’t the end of the world, some of the little things do make me wish we had looked at some more homes.”

Get to know the neighborhood

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Copywriter Tori Brock bought a Victorian semi-detached property in June 2017 and loves it, but has to deal with constant yelling and loud noises coming from her neighbors. She says, “I wish we’d talked to more ‘neighboring’ neighbors about the families around us.” Visiting the property several times at different times of the day throughout the mortgage process can also give you a better idea of the living atmosphere.

Don’t overlook seemingly minor problems

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When Holly Johnson and her husband, the creators behind the frugal living site, Club Thrifty, purchased their first home in 2007, they noticed that the yard was graded poorly, meaning that water pooled near the home and deck each time it rained. “We didn’t think it was a big deal, and our realtor told us we could just have the yard regraded,” she says. However, the Johnsons discovered that the problem was much more complicated and required $8,000 in repairs. “We ultimately had to have new trenches dug in the crawl space and have a giant French drain put in the yard.”

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