On the heels of our first-ever Agent Appreciation month, Inman is leaping into February with our Residential Finance theme month. Join us as we investigate how buying and selling a home is changing, from companies backing consumers in new ways to integrated services that handle the entire transaction.
Maybe all the politics in the air is starting to get to people in our nation’s capitol and elsewhere.
A recent survey by LawnStarter, a national lawn and landscaping service company, showed that homebuyers in the District of Columbia and Wyoming are the least satisfied in the nation with their home purchases, largely because of unfriendly neighbors, and in the case of Wyoming, the added factor of a poor job market.
The homebuyers of Iowa reported the greatest satisfaction with their home purchases, noting the state’s safety and suitability for raising children as key factors leading to satisfaction.
“Iowa was ranked No. 1 for housing affordability,” Scott Wendl, president of the Iowa Association of Realtors, said in a statement about the current market. “Iowa was also first in ‘best place to find a job.’ With high marks in education, cost of living and a growing high-tech startup sector, Iowa is an attractive place to work and raise a family.”
LawnStarter’s survey employed six different questions to determine the homebuyer happiness index: friendliness of neighbors, neighborhood safety, job market, a state’s suitability for raising children, whether or not homebuyers regretted the purchase and if they would buy the same house again knowing what they know about living there now. Answers to those questions were then weighted equally and converted to a 100 point scale with 100 being the happiest.
At the top of the list, Iowa reached a happiness index of 86.67, followed not too far by Wisconsin with a happiness index of 86.37 and Nebraska with a happiness index of 86.31. Wyoming made last place with a happiness index of 68.75 while District of Columbia slid in before Wyoming with a happiness index of 73.54.
Overall, about 15 percent of homebuyers across the U.S. said they regretted their home purchase for various reasons.
Generally, homebuyers who purchased larger houses — both in terms of number of bedrooms and square footage — were happier. Individuals occupying a home with five or more bedrooms reported being 17 percent happier with their purchase than buyers owning a house with just one bedroom. Likewise, buyers with homes of 3,000 square feet or larger were most happy and individuals who purchased small homes were least happy with their purchase.
However, the survey results showed homebuyers should beware making significant lifestyle changes to purchase a home that may be out of reach financially.
Homebuyers who paid more than $900,000 for a home reported being unhappy with the home, but individuals who paid less than $100,000 were also notably less happy than those who purchased a home within the range of $100,000 to $900,000. Similarly, those who took on a second full-time job to finance their home scored a happiness index of 76, five points lower than the national average.
Interestingly enough, LawnStarter also found correlations between style of home and happiness: Tudor and ranch-style homebuyers were happiest, while Greek revival and pueblo revival style homebuyers were least happy.
Contrary to what one might expect, those who got the best deal on their home — individuals who paid below asking price — were least happy with their purchase compared to those who paid at or above asking price.
When it comes to happiness in homebuying, knowledge is power.
“A homebuyer’s level of knowledge about the homebuying process was directly correlated to how happy they ended up,” LawnStarter’s study stated. “People who reported they had little to no knowledge about the homebuying process ended up significantly less happy with their purchase.”