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Top 4 Real Estate Regrets

Take the hidden hassles and lurking costs into account now to avoid being sorry once you've moved in.

Whether buying or renting, there seems to be a commonality to the real estate regrets people have once they have purchased or rented a new home or apartment. It’s easy to understand why: moving, buying, renting, and the craziness and stress that surround the process, especially in a competitive market, sometimes leave a few stones unturned.

And sometimes those stones aren’t turned over until you’ve already unpacked the boxes and settled into your new home. Call it buyer’s remorse or second- guessing the decision, the top real estate regrets are all ones that can be avoided if they’re taken into consideration now —before you get the keys to your new place.

Where are we going to put all of this?

Space. According to a survey done by Trulia, 52 percent of people regret something about their current home or the process of choosing it. Among homeowners, the top regret is wishing they had chosen a larger home.

Yes, once you begin the move-in, the most common complaint is there is just not enough room for all your stuff. Older homes and apartments can be lacking in the closet department, since our current lifestyle has simply outgrown the closets from 30, 40, and 50 years ago.

Consider the other side of the equation, too. That gorgeously decorated model home looked so perfect with all the scaled-down furniture — yet, once you move, and bring your beloved, already-paid-for overstuffed sofa and a dining table that seats more than four, things start to get cramped. For young couples moving into their first place, the regret often comes in about nine months, when they realize they didn’t plan for more space and a growing family.

We have no money left over!

Let’s put all the financials on the table, so there are no surprises! Don’t regret getting caught short. Home-purchasing costs don’t stop with the down payment.

Homebuyers have to factor in the closing costs and all the expenses incurred to buy the house: appraisal fees, loan application fees, loan broker fees, structural inspection fees, and so on. By the time they are all added up and paid for, most first-time home buyers have shelled out way more than they had planned for.

If you are renting, you are forking over a boatload lot of cash for first and last’s month’s rent and a security deposit. If you haven’t planned for them, all those costs can often leave you scrambling and with a zero balance in your checking account.

Why didn’t we talk to the neighbors before we moved in?

I am going to share my own regret with you on this one. A few years back, I bought a wonderful home in the Hollywood Hills. Unfortunately for me, it was the one time I did not follow my own advice to chat up the neighbors to learn about potential problems.

My first night in the house, I woke to the barking and yelping of two dogs that howled and bellowed until morning. The next night the same thing happened. I later found out that the seller had been fighting with the neighbor over the barking dogs for six months. The surrounding neighbors had also been complaining, but the awful, miserable owners of the dogs just didn’t care. Had I talked to the neighbors, I would have been much less tired all year long!

Taking stock of your new neighborhood beforehand helps you avoid lots of regrets like this. Including but not limited to: the teenager next door who practices his drums at 2 a.m., the screaming babies, the mammoth Winnebago parked next to your house in winter, and the weekend party house.

We should have tested the commute

Ah … the American Dream: a three-bedroom home in the suburbs. Argh … the American nightmare: an hour-and-a-half drive to work!

One of the biggest regrets is not considering the commute when selecting a neighborhood! A long commute has been proven to negatively affect quality of life and overall happiness levels, so keep this in mind as you buy or rent.

Keep your wallet in mind, too. Commuting costs happen to be one of the items new nesters most often forget to add into their monthly budgets. Commuting nightmares are avoidable with tools like Trulia’s commute maps.