Why do 1-in-4 homeowners suffer buyer's regret?

Mike Sante

One in four homeowners told a recent survey that they regretted buying their home.

Unfortunately, the survey didn't ask those homeowners why they were so unhappy with that decision.
So we decided to ask Steve Diltz, a senior vice president for wealth management at Merrill Lynch, what might be going on here.

Diltz frequently advises his clients on their home-buying decisions and says, "It's very disappointing that people feel that way because often the idea of owning a home is such a feel-good thing."

The Chicago-based financial adviser says three primary problems turn homeowners against their purchase:

Steve Diltz

Steve Diltz

They're underwater. During the height of the recession, property values fell so far that about 12 million homeowners owed more on a mortgage than their homes were worth. Even though housing has come back, about 6 million homeowners are still underwater. "Obviously, losing money doesn't feel good," he says.

They're house poor. Lots of buyers take on too much debt relative to their income. Then the furnace goes out. Or the roof starts to leak. And it seems like the home just gobbles up every cent they have. "They're just spending too much of their paycheck to own it," he says.

They feel tied down. Building a career often means looking for opportunities hundreds or even thousands of miles away. Sometimes it’s a transfer within your current company. Sometimes it's taking a chance on a new employer.

But homeowners have to ask: Am I even going to be able to take that job, because I'm going to have to sell my home?

Intrigued? Why don't you spend a few minutes listening to our entire conversation?

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