90% of homeowners didn't realize how expensive it would be—here's what surprised them the most

Biryla tells CNBC Make It a second look is about reaffirming your initial feeling.
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If you think it's difficult to afford a home, you're probably right.

Nine out of 10 homeowners who bought a home in the last three years say they were unprepared for the extra costs of maintaining and financing their property, according to a new survey of 1,000 U.S. homeowners by Real Estate Witch, a real estate education platform.

Additionally, 73% of those surveyed said they had regrets about buying their home, with expensive maintenance and hidden costs cited as the most common reasons. 

Only 35% of homeowners say they had no feelings of buyer's remorse after buying their home. In the 2019 version of this survey, 65% of respondents felt no buyer's remorse.

Median home prices have risen by nearly 50% since 2019, so it makes sense that more recent homebuyers have regrets about their purchases, especially if they struggle to pay their mortgage costs. And rapidly rising home prices may explain why nearly a third of homeowners say they overpaid.

Of those with regrets, homeowners say they've been surprised by the cost of the following items.

  • Property taxes: 33%
  • Renovations: 27%
  • Utilities: 27%
  • Roof work: 25%
  • Maintaining the home's appearance: 24%
  • Homeowners insurance: 23%
  • Appliance repairs: 22%
  • Upgrading appliances: 21%
  • HVAC: 21%
  • Yard work: 19%
  • Home cleaning: 16%
  • Foundation repairs: 15%
  • HOA fees: 11%

Aside from mortgages, homeowners say they pay an extra $17,459 in annual expenses on average, according to the survey. 

While many homebuyers choose cheaper, fixer-upper homes that they plan to renovate, the costs of improving a home can be quite drastic. Remodeling a kitchen or bathroom can cost as much as $20,000, according to the survey.

Likewise, older homes need constant maintenance. HVAC replacement costs an average of $7,000, according to HomeAdvisor.    

With the benefit of hindsight, 57% of homeowners say they would have approached buying a house differently had they realized the true cost of homeownership. 

For those with regrets, the most common things they would've done differently are:

  • Purchased a home that requires less maintenance: 42%
  • Negotiated a better price or contingencies on their home: 33%
  • Purchased a less expensive home: 29%
  • Waited longer to buy a home: 27%

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