🏡 How many Americans experience home buyer's remorse? 🏡
Nearly all buyers in 2023 (93%) have regrets about their home-buying experience — up from 72% in 2022.
Home Sale Price | Offering Above and Below Asking Price | Financial Struggles of Homeownership | Home-Buying Difficulties | Priorities vs. Compromises | Home Buyer Regrets | Home-Buying Timeline | Home-Selling Timeline | Home Sale Profit | Home Seller Regrets
Home buyers are saying good riddance to bidding wars and fierce competition as the hot housing market cools after two volatile years. But for many beleaguered buyers, the market correction hasn't been the boon for which they had hoped.
The 2023 real estate market is still a pretty lousy environment for buyers, and 93% of recent buyers say it impacted their buying experience — up from 88% in 2022, according to a new survey from Clever Real Estate
Competition has waned, but rising mortgage rates have forced buyers to lower their budgets, making it even more difficult to find an affordable home while prices remain near record highs.
Meanwhile, the dip in buyer demand means most home sellers are no longer profiting from bidding wars, benefiting from contingency-free offers, or selling their homes as quickly.
As a result, everyone is disappointed, and nobody feels like a winner.
To learn how buyers and sellers are navigating this bizarre new market, we surveyed 1,000 Americans who purchased a home in 2022 and 2023.
We found that half of Americans think it's a bad time to sell a home (51%) and an even worse time to buy (53%).
About 44% of buyers say purchasing a home in 2023 is more difficult than expected, and 36% aren't satisfied with their buying experience.
First-time buyers are more likely to be dissatisfied, and it's not hard to see why.
In addition to paying higher prices and facing more competition, 51% say the seller of their home took advantage of them, and 67% say they felt pressured to submit an offer — making them 11% and 15% more likely, respectively, than repeat buyers to say so.
New and repeat buyers alike persevered through the challenging market, but the personal and financial sacrifices they made to own homes took their toll. More than half of buyers (52%) say their overall happiness has not improved since purchasing their home.
Read on to learn more about the obstacles buyers encountered and the compromises they made to own homes.
🔑 Recent Home Buyers and Sellers Statistics
Buyers Spent 23% More Than the National Average Price on Their Homes
Buyers who thought less competition for homes would lead to significant savings in 2023 were in for a rude awakening.
The sheer lack of homes for sale has kept prices inflated, and three-fourths of buyers (75%) had to pay more than the average price of $516,500 nationwide.
On average, buyers paid 23% more than the national average price and 31% more than the $500,156 they paid in 2022.
As Americans stretched their budgets to afford homes, more than half of all recent buyers (58%) and nearly two-thirds of first-time buyers (63%) admit they overpaid, with first-time buyers 11% more likely than repeat buyers to do so.
To afford such a big purchase, 78% of recent buyers had to co-purchase their home or share expenses with a spouse, family member, friend, or significant other. Just 22% of buyers are the sole homeowner and do not share expenses.
With home prices hovering near a record high, many buyers can't afford a traditional 20% down payment. In fact, more than half of buyers (55%) put down less than 20%.
More Than 1 in 3 Buyers Still Paid Over Asking Price for a Home
Buyers' purchasing power may be limited by high mortgage rates, but they're still willing to pay top dollar for the right property.
Although competition has eased nationwide, a surprising 38% of home buyers still paid over asking price for a home in 2023 — compared to 31% in 2022.
The puzzling increase could be driven by a greater share of first-time buyers offering over asking price in 2023. Compared to 2022, first-time buyers were 31% more likely to pay above asking price, whereas repeat buyers were just 17% more likely to pay above asking price.
As affordability concerns cause buyer demand to shift from expensive homes to homes in the lowest price tier — which typically attract new buyers — it's likely first-timers faced increased competition with repeat buyers and had to submit high offers to land a home.
Unfortunately for first-time buyers, homeowners who already have assets tend to get better deals. Repeat buyers are more likely to pay below asking price than above it, while the opposite is true for first-time buyers.
This wasn't always the case. In 2022, first-time and repeat buyers had the same likelihood of paying below asking price. Now, repeat buyers are 18% more likely than first-time buyers to pay below the list price.
It's possible that as buyers regain some bargaining power in the market, repeat buyers can leverage their experience and negotiation skills to make home buying more affordable.
Nearly 2 in 3 Homeowners Have Struggled to Pay Their Mortgage Since Purchasing a Home
Owning a home is considered an important part of the American dream, but many homeowners have realized it isn't the key to happiness — it's just another source of stress.
Approximately 59% of recent home buyers, including 66% of first-time buyers, say buying a home was more stressful than expected. Unfortunately, enduring the stress didn't translate into future happiness for a majority of buyers.
More than half of buyers (52%) say their overall happiness has not improved since purchasing a home, and 20% say it's actually gotten worse.
The initial joy of becoming a homeowner can fade quickly as unexpected costs — which surprised 26% of new buyers — strain buyers' tenuous financial situation. More than half (56%) have felt in over their heads financially since purchasing their home.
Additionally, more than 1 in 4 buyers (27%) say their overall financial situation has deteriorated since becoming homeowners, and nearly 2 in 3 (62%) have had difficulties paying their monthly mortgage on time — with first-time buyers 8% more likely than repeat buyers to struggle.
To maintain their lifestyle while paying their mortgage, 56% of recent buyers have taken on additional non-mortgage debt since buying a home.
First-time buyers particularly struggle to maintain their standard of living after spending more on their home purchase than other buyers. Compared to repeat buyers, first-timers were 11% more likely to borrow additional money.
It's hardly surprising that home buyers are concerned about how much they owe, with 29% saying their debt burden has gotten worse since purchasing their home.
Americans want more money to rebuild their savings (27%), pay off remaining debts (25%), and contribute toward retirement (24%). But as they struggle to afford their homes and manage their debt, it makes achieving other financial goals more difficult.
Purchasing a Home Was Harder Than Expected for Nearly Half of Home Buyers
Although house hunters encountered less competition in the past year, first-time and repeat buyers generally believe it's getting more difficult to purchase a home.
About 44% of buyers say purchasing a home in 2023 was harder than expected — a significant increase from the 33% who said the same in 2022.
It's possible 2022 buyers were more aware of the challenges they'd confront during their house hunt, whereas 2023 buyers experienced new, unforeseen hardships as the market shifted.
Buyers generally found the home-buying process more difficult than they expected because of financial reasons, such as:
- Exceeding their budget (45%)
- High interest rates (42%)
- Expensive home prices (42%)
Americans are specifically reeling from the impact of rising interest rates.
More than half of buyers (53%) accepted loan terms with a higher-than-desired interest rate to secure a mortgage, with first-time buyers 11% more likely than repeat buyers to take on the additional expense.
93% of Recent Home Buyers Compromised on Their Priorities
Buyers persevered through a challenging market, but few came away with their dream home. Overall, 93% of buyers compromised on their priorities — compared to 80% in 2022.
First-time buyers found it especially difficult to achieve their priorities, with nearly 1 in 4 (24%) saying they were surprised by how much they had to compromise.
Although 1 in 3 buyers (32%) wanted to find an affordable home, it was the most-compromised priority among house hunters. Of those who said it was a priority, about one-third (34%) had to offer a higher price than expected.
After price, buyers were most likely to sacrifice a short commute.
Americans recognized the upside of not commuting during the pandemic. As many return to the office, few want to live in a home where they'll have to fight traffic every day. In fact, finding a home with a short commute was the most common priority among buyers.
Nearly half of buyers (45%) wanted to find a home within close proximity to work, but 34% had to settle for a home that was farther away.
After surrendering their top priority, home buyers were less inclined to give up other essential wants.
The second- and third-most important priorities were a desirable location (41%) and a good school district (36%). Consequently, those were some of least-compromised priorities, with just 21% settling for a worse location and 22% settling for a worse school district.
Buyers who prioritized a move-in ready home were the least likely to compromise. Of the 24% who wanted to buy a home that didn't need renovations, just 1 in 5 (20%) bought a fixer-upper.
Fixer-uppers might seem like a bargain for cash-strapped buyers, but they can be costly to repair and maintain. The average homeowner spent a staggering $4,283 on maintenance last year, while 1 in 6 spent more than $10,000.
Of those who bought a fixer-upper, more than 1 in 4 (26%) regret it.
Sacrifices are often necessary to land a home, but 35% of buyers aren't satisfied with the home they purchased.
Repeat homeowners walked away from their home-buying experience with slightly more satisfaction than new buyers.
With profit from their previous home sale to make deals happen, repeat buyers (10%) were 2x more likely than first-time buyers (5%) to not compromise their priorities — likely leading to higher satisfaction rates.
Nearly All Recent Home Buyers Have Regrets
Compromising on their priorities inevitably led to regret among homeowners.
As more homeowners compromise in 2023, more also experience buyer's remorse. About 93% of recent buyers have regrets about their home-buying experience — a 29% increase from the 72% who said the same in 2022.
Repeat buyers, who are less likely to compromise, naturally have fewer regrets. Once again, repeat buyers (10%) are 2x as likely as first-time buyers (5%) to say they don't have regrets.
Purchasing a home that requires too much maintenance is the most common regret — especially when 39% of buyers said the seller was not upfront about how much maintenance the home would need.
One-third of buyers (33%) feel remorse about the upkeep their home needs, compared to 25% in 2022. As home buyers bust their budgets to pay for more expensive homes in 2023, they likely have little left over for home maintenance and repairs.
The second most common regret among recent buyers is buying too quickly (30%). Buyers can take more time to consider their decision as competition wanes, but it may be difficult to put into practice after years of lightning-fast home sales.
House hunters may not have to compete as much, but they must still contend with high prices. Buyers report spending more on their home purchase this year, but many have seemingly resigned themselves to the likelihood that they will overspend.
The percentage of buyers who regret overspending dropped from 30% in 2022 to 28% in 2023.
Listings Have Increased, but Half of Buyers Searched 3 Months or More for a Home
Sellers may be losing their grip on the housing market, but they still hold an ace in their hand. The number of U.S. home listings remains painfully low, despite rising 63% after bottoming out in February 2022.
Many of the new listings, however, aren't quality homes that attract buyers. To the shock of many buyers, there's still competition for homes in good condition that are fairly priced.
About 24% of buyers were surprised by how much competitiveness still exists in the market, and 22% were surprised by how long it took them to find a home.
Nearly 2 in 3 buyers (61%) say searching for a home took longer than expected, with first-time buyers 12% more likely than repeat buyers to underestimate their home-search timeline.
Three-fourths of buyers (76%) searched for at least one month before finding their home, while nearly half (47%) looked for at least three months.
While house hunting, 95% of Americans made more than one offer. Nearly two-thirds of buyers (62%) made five or more offers, and 1 in 8 (12%) made 10 or more.
New buyers were more likely to experience rejection. They submitted at least five offers 10% more often than repeat buyers, and they submitted at least 10 offers 2% more often.
As a result, 1 in 5 (19%) first-time buyers were surprised by how many offers they had to make.
44% of Sellers Aren't Satisfied With How Quickly Their Home Sold
Just two years ago, sellers nationwide received multiple contingency-free offers over asking price within days of their homes hitting the market.
Today, the heyday for sellers has stalled as high mortgage rates and expensive home prices suppress buyer demand.
Some recent sellers weren't quite ready to accept that the market has shifted. About 40% say home selling was more difficult than they expected — up from 31% who said the same in 2022.
One of the greatest hurdles homeowners face in 2023 is selling their home in a timely manner. Over the past year, the percentage of homes that sold within one month decreased by half — from 55% in 2022 to 28% in 2023.
Homes that sold within one week also dropped by more than half — from 20% to 8% — while homes that sold in less than one day decreased from 8% to 4%.
Meanwhile, the number of homes that sat on the market for six months or more increased 60% from 5% in 2022 to 8% in 2023.
With homes no longer flying off the market, it's no wonder 44% of sellers aren't satisfied with how quickly their home sold.
1 in 3 Sellers Aren't Satisfied With the Profit They Made From Their Sale
Buyers are no longer able to overpay for homes, prompting sellers to set their initial asking price more in line with buyers' expectations.
Still, home prices remain out of reach for most buyers, and some sellers have to lower their price again after listing. In March 2023, the percentage of sellers who reduced their asking price rose to about 13% — more than double the percentage in March 2022.
As a result, sellers no longer reap excessive profits, and more than 1 in 3 (38%) aren't satisfied with the money they made on their home sale.
A majority of sellers (57%) made less than $50,000. What's more, about 1 in 4 sellers (22%) made less than $10,000 on their sale, including 1 in 14 (7%) who actually lost money or broke even.
95% of Sellers Regret Some Aspect of Their Home Sale
Today's sellers have to compromise to make deals happen, but doing so often leads to regret. About 95% of sellers have regrets about their home-selling experience, up from 90% in 2022.
The most common regret is paying too much in Realtor commission, with 28% of sellers saying the rate is too high. Just 20% of sellers said the same in 2022, when homeowners making big bucks off their sale could justify paying additional fees for an agent's services.
Nearly 1 in 5 sellers (19%) regret that their home didn't sell for enough money. As profit margins shrink, homeowners are looking for ways to save money by selling with a discount real estate agent or without an agent at all.
About 1 in 5 sellers (18%) wish they sold for sale by owner. Selling FSBO is a lot of work, but it may appeal to the 56% of sellers who think their agent cared more about making a deal than their clients' best interests.
Overall, sellers are reluctant to relinquish any of the leverage they've enjoyed over the past two years — whether to agents or buyers.
Sellers have become accustomed to desperate buyers acquiescing to their demands to win homes in an ultra competitive market. As interest rates rise and buyer demand wanes, sellers need to sweeten the deal for apprehensive buyers.
However, more than 1 in 4 sellers (26%) regret making too many concessions, such as paying the buyer's closing costs or offering to make expensive repairs.
With many new hardships in today's market, homeowners who failed to capitalize on the extreme seller's market are likely to feel remorse. About 19% of sellers regret waiting to list their home, and 21% regret how long their home sat on the market.
The proprietary data featured in this study comes from an online survey commissioned by Clever Real Estate. One thousand Americans who purchased a home in 2022 or 2023 were surveyed April 12-13, 2023. Respondents answered up to 21 questions regarding their recent home purchase, previous home sales, and views on buying and selling homes.
Since 2017, Clever Real Estate has been on a mission to make selling or buying a home easier and more affordable for everyone. 12 million annual readers rely on Clever's library of educational content and data-driven research to make smarter real estate decisions—and to date, Clever has helped consumers save more than $160 million on realtor fees. Clever's research has been featured in The New York Times, Business Insider, Inman, Housing Wire, and many more.
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