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12.5 million households regret things about their home

Nearly half of households have things they regret about their home

regret buying house

According to the latest research by us here at the HomeOwners Alliance and, polled online by YouGov, millions of us regret buying our house or renting our flat.

A few weeks into lockdown, not enough storage, maintenance issues and too much noise top the list of things they wish they considered more when they purchased the property. The research went onto show that,

  • Homebuyers and renters focus on the important physical characteristics of the property (beyond location and number of rooms), such as sufficiently sized rooms (66%), a private balcony or garden (57%) and good natural light (46%)
  • But more than half (52%) of renters and more than 4 in 10 (42%) homeowners regret not giving more attention to particular aspects of the home they picked to rent or buy. Among those with regrets:
    • 25% regret not paying attention to storage space
    • 21% to maintenance & repairs including the condition of the roof, electrics, boiler, plumbing, heating, damp and insulation
    • 21% to noise from neighbours or traffic. 

The good news is that almost 8 in 10 UK adults (77%) say they are happy with their homes, which is so important for people’s wellbeing as we tackle the current pandemic.  The research also found that:

  • Renters are not as happy as homeowners (63% vs 87%) and more than half of them (52%) have regrets.
  • Of homeowners, those who are older (age 55+) are the happiest with their home (91%) and the least likely to have regrets about their home (36%). Younger homeowners aged 25-34 are the least happy homeowners with only 79% saying they are content with the home they chose to buy.

regret buying house 2

Really starting to nag…

“Staying at home 24/7 is making a lot of homeowners regret their choices. The things we didn’t get right from the start are really starting to nag us.’”

“Our research shows that while we may get the big things right when choosing a home, we often overlook the smaller, less glamorous considerations like storage, how well insulated a property is and the condition of the roof and boiler. These are issues that are difficult or expensive to put right but if ignored, can negatively impact our lives on a day-to-day basis.’

“If you have a problem with your roof, heating or have penetrating damp that can’t wait then you shouldn’t live with it – not even during lockdown. The government has advised that work carried out in people’s homes, such as tradespeople carrying out repairs and maintenance, can continue, provided that the tradesperson is well and follows social distancing guidelines. Many plumbers and gas engineers are still operating but some have closed until further notice so be prepared to phone around. Use the tradesperson finder tool below.’


6 tips for what to look for when buying a property:

  1. Take your time. Don’t spend 20 minutes viewing a property you’re going to live in for 20 years. This is the biggest investment of your life. Take a checklist with you.
  2. Room for a broom. Once the home you are viewing has your heart, it’s time to think with your head. Storage space is an asset which our research shows can be a homeowners’ biggest regret. Where will you keep your stockpiled toilet roll, vacuum cleaner and spare linen? Is there room for cupboards or shelves to be built in?
  3. Background noise. Stand and listen. Revisit at different times of days. Open the windows. Sit outside. Sit inside. Can you hear next door talking or their TV? Are the sounds from the “very good transport links’ acceptable to you when you sit in your garden? Think carefully about how much local noise pollution bothers you.
  4. Size and layout. Consider whether the rooms are a good size and shape for the function it will serve and for your furniture. Quirky shaped rooms are endearing but you may be cursing the waste of space in years to come.
  5. Survey. We always recommend getting a building survey as it’s worth the investment if only for your peace of mind. On your viewing, you should look for issues you want the surveyor to report back on: missing tiles, cracks in brickwork, loose guttering, windows.
  6. Future proof. Moving house is an expensive business; legal fees, stamp duty, mortgage fees and removals have to be paid on top of the cost of the property itself. Make sure the home you buy is one you can live in comfortably for the years to come. Adaptability and home office space will no doubt be high on people’s wish list following the pandemic.

Get planning your home improvements

Alex Depledge, CEO of, says: “With all the time we’re spending at home, it’s becoming clear to more and more people that homes impact our happiness and mental health. Rather than focusing on aesthetics and trends, we need to focus on our needs and design with those in mind.Resi is committed to working with people’s unique needs at this time, offering bespoke support and advice. For example, Resi is offering guided surveys so people can survey their own homes themselves, as well as extensive finance and mortgage advice, so that clients can make decisions about how to improve their homes and finance building work when current restrictions are eased.“

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