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ERIESENSE BLOG

Buyer’s Remorse: Can You Guess What Homeowners Regret Most?

These stainless steel appliances show EVERY fingerprint!
Is that how much it’ll cost to refinish our hardwood floors!?
I thought I’d love these granite countertops… but I’m so over them!

Ever experience a homebuyer’s hangover? You’re not alone. What seemed like a great feature during that walk-through gradually loses its sparkle when you’re living with it every day.

Our latest national survey asked 500 U.S. homeowners what they would—and wouldn’t—choose again if they were buying a home today.

Here’s what we found out.

What do homeowners regret most?

By a slight margin, the majority of homeowners said they wouldn’t change anything. More than half of U.S. homeowners (53%) said they’re happy with the features they chose. The rest (47%), however, admitted to some regrets.

Infographic: See More Results From Our Homeowner Hindsight Survey

The survey asked homeowners about features they wanted and got when they bought their home, but wouldn’t get again if they were buying a home today. It also asked about features homeowners did not get but now wish they had.

Overall, homeowners are much more likely to regret not having something than getting it. For example, when asked what they wouldn’t get again, the biggest percentage (9%) of survey respondents said they’d pass on hardwood floors.

Watch: Homeowners Reveal What They Do (And Don't) Love About Their Homes

However, when asked about what features top their wish list for their next home – a much larger percentage (16%) say they wished they had gotten hardwood floors.

Below are the top five features homeowners wanted and got, but would not choose again:

Feature Percentage of homeowners who would not choose it again
1. Hardwood flooring 9.2%
2. Granite countertops 7.8%
3. Stainless steel appliances 7.6%
4. Fireplace 7.4%
5. Deck 7.2%

Features like fireplaces and decks add character, but they also require routine upkeep and cleaning. Learn more about why you need to schedule an annual chimney inspection or how to get your deck ready for summer.

Granite countertops: a rocky relationship

The granite always gleams brighter when it’s in someone else’s house—at least according to our survey.

Granite countertops were second on the list of features homeowners wanted and got but wouldn’t choose again, with nearly 8% of homeowners saying they regret it. Curiously, more than twice as many homeowners (18%) without granite countertops said this feature is a must-have for their next home.

Is granite right for you? It’s a big investment that can last for decades—for better or for worse. Learn more in our blog post about the pros and cons of granite countertops.

Other surprising findings

So, let’s dig deeper into those regrets. Why did homeowners say they wouldn’t get a certain feature again? Here are a few explanations we heard through the survey:

  • Feature isn’t worth the money
  • It’s outdated
  • Just tired of it
  • Too hard to keep clean (white kitchen cabinets, whirlpool tubs and stainless steel appliances were big culprits here)

Some homeowners even regret getting plush features people might assume everyone would want, such as two sinks in the master bathroom. Four percent of homeowners said they regret that layout, saying they just don’t need or use separate sinks. A few respondents added that they’d prefer to have more countertop or cupboard space.

So, what tops the wish list?

In terms of features homeowners regret not getting, a walk-in pantry topped the list, with just under a third (30%) saying they wish they had one.

A fair number of people regret not getting green features in their homes, such as tankless water heaters (16% wish they had one) and solar panels (15%).

Related: 6 Reasons Why Water Heaters Fail

A few also wish they’d gotten a dedicated space to bathe Fido—5% wish they had a dog washing station, though this feature is three times as coveted in the South as in the Northeast. A total of 7% of Southern homeowners regret not having a dog washing station, while only 2% of Northeasterners do.

Here are the top five features homeowners didn’t get but wish they had:

Feature Percentage of homeowners who now wish they had it
1. Walk-in pantry 30.2%
2. Granite countertops 17.8%
3. Kitchen island 16.8%
4. Tankless water heater 16.4%
5. Finished basement 16.2%

Want more home design inspo? Check out these other blog stories on 7 smart and stylish ideas for your mudroom or 8 easy and affordable ways to upgrade your kitchen.

There’s no place like home… so, protect it with the right insurance

Regardless of how they feel about specific home features, an overwhelming number of people reported that they feel positively about their homes as a whole. In fact, 94.6% of homeowners said they like or love their home just as it is.

“It’s heartwarming to see that the vast majority of people have very positive feelings about their homes,” said Bob Buckel, vice president and product manager at Erie Insurance. “It feels good to know that we’re protecting something that really matters to them.”

The survey also asked questions to gauge people’s knowledge about their homeowners insurance. Do they understand how their coverage works and what they need?

“One of the most important coverages a homeowner can have is what’s called ‘guaranteed replacement cost,’ which would pay to replace a home regardless of what it would cost in today’s dollars,” Buckel said. “Unfortunately, more than four in 10 homeowners say they don’t know whether their policy has this coverage or not. That tells us that we, and the industry at large, need to do a better job of educating consumers about the important coverages that are available to them.”

At ERIE, every homeowners insurance policy comes with a local agent who’s there to help you understand and feel confident about your policy. And, yes – we offer 100% guaranteed replacement cost* for worry-free coverage that protects you without surprises.

Find a local agent in your neighborhood to request a quote and get the conversation started.

Erie Insurance surveyed 500 U.S. homeowners ages 28 – 60 about their home features and what they do and don’t regret. The results found the majority of homeowners surveyed are happy with their choices of home features. In fact, more than half (53%) say they don’t regret any of the features they wanted and got in their homes. But the rest (47%) regret at least some of the features they got.

The vast majority of respondents (95%) like or love their home. 41% love my house, 53.6% I like my house, 4.4% I don’t like my house and 1% hate my house.

And the older people get, the more likely they are to love their house. 37% of people in their 30s love their house, 41% of people in their 40s love their house and 46% of people in their 50s love their house.

The majority of homeowners surveyed are happy with their choices of home features. In fact, more than half (53%) say they don’t regret any of the features they wanted and got in their homes. But the rest (47%) regret at least some of the features they got.

The top feature they regretted were hardwood flooring (9.2%), granite countertops (7.8%), stainless steel appliances (7.6%), fireplace (7.4%) and deck (7.2%).

Several respondents survey complained about stainless steel appliances and white kitchen cabinets being hard to keep clean (“They show all the dirt”) and others said the same about whirlpool bathtubs (“It is awful to keep clean because we do not use it often.”)

Of the 9% of people who wouldn't choose hardwood flooring again, 30% are tired of it now, while 28% just don’t like it. 13% said it wasn’t worth the money, while 8.7% think hardwood flooring is outdated now.

7% percent of all homeowners surveyed said they wouldn’t get a fireplace again, but men were more than twice as likely to say this as women (12.3% vs. 5.2%, respectively). There was also a big disparity by region. Only 1% of homeowners in the Northeast regretted having a fireplace, while 11% of homeowners in the Midwest did.

When asked about features they did not get in their home but now wish they had the number-one overall feature people regret not getting is a walk-in pantry (30.2%). While 17.7% now wish they had granite countertops, 16.8% a kitchen island, 16.4% tankless water heater and 16.2% a finished basement.

When asked about outdoor features 15.4% of all respondents regret not getting solar panels. The largest percentage of people who regret not getting solar panels live in the Northeast (18.6%) and West (17.4%). Other outdoor features homeowners did not get but now wish they had: swimming pool (15.2%); fenced yard (14.8%); deck (13%); hot tub (12%)

When considering their pet dog washing stations are three times as coveted in the South compared with the Northeast (7.1% of Southern homeowners regret not having a dog washing station, while only 2.3 % of Northeasterners do).

Other features they wish they had included a tankless water heater. Men are significantly more likely than women to now wish they had gotten a tankless water heater (21% of men compared with 14% of women), and people in the West are more than twice as likely to wish they had one compared with people in the Midwest (22% compared with 9%).

About the survey: The survey was conducted of 500 U.S. homeowners ages 28 – 60 was conducted by Falls Communications on behalf of Erie Insurance from March 22 through March 26, 2019. While different sample sizes have different statistical margins of error, the estimated margin of error for any question with a sample size of 500 is +/-4.5%. Additional methodology details are available upon request from Media_Relations@erieinsurance.com.

Methodology: This survey of 500 U.S. homeowners ages 28 – 60 was conducted by Falls Communications on behalf of Erie Insurance from March 22 through March 26, 2019. While different sample sizes have different statistical margins of error, the estimated margin of error for any question with a sample size of 500 is +/-4.5%. Additional survey results, including breakdowns by age, gender, and geographic region, are available upon request.

*Guaranteed Replacement Cost applies to dwelling and requires home improvements over $5,000 to be reported within 90 days—not available with all policies and in all states. Coverage of costs to comply with laws or ordinances is subject to limits. Depreciation will be deducted until repair or replacement is made. Talk to an ERIE agent for more information.

Love your walk-in pantry, but hate your granite countertops? You’re not alone. See what homeowners had to say in our latest survey. /blog/home-survey-2019 Erie Insurance