Location, location, location? Homebuyers compromising on where to buy often regret their decision

A quarter of people who compromised on location when buying their current home later regretted the decision, according to a new survey from Which? Mortgage Advisers.

The Which? Mortgage Advisers annual survey of more than 1,200 homebuyers highlighted some of the most common concessions made when choosing a property, and those that homebuyers later came to regret.

One in five homebuyers surveyed said they compromised on the location of their current home. Of those, one in four (25%) said they later regretted the decision.

The most common aspects of a home that those surveyed made concessions on were price (26%), decor (23%), location (20%), and the size of the rooms (20%).

Compromising on location was more common among people living in London, with 26 per cent of those surveyed in London saying they had to compromise on where they bought their home. Families with children were also more likely to regret choosing a different location for their home than they had originally planned (38%).

While compromising on decor was not an issue for the majority of those who chose to do so (with 93% saying they did not regret the decision), nearly one in four (23%) of those who made concessions on the size of the rooms in their house said they came to regret it, as did nearly one in five (19%) of those who paid more than they had planned.

The most common regret among homeowners in the survey was compromising on the structural condition of the property, with three in 10 (30%) of those doing so later coming to regret it. Making concessions on the structural condition of a property in the first place was less common though, with only 13 per cent of those surveyed saying they accepted a poorer structural condition than they had intended to.

The survey results come after Which? Mortgage Advisers recently revealed that one in 10 people surveyed admitted to viewing just one property before making their decision, with nearly three-quarters (72%) viewing fewer than 10.

While some compromise should be anticipated when buying a home, Which? Mortgage Advisers is urging those looking to buy a new home to consider the following when choosing where to live, to reduce the risk of making concessions on their location that they might later regret:

  • Use a house viewing checklist – To prevent forgetting anything important or getting swept up in the moment when viewing a property, use a checklist as a reminder of the issues that matter the most to you to help keep you on track. You can download one for free at which.co.uk/viewingchecklist.

  • Try to keep your emotions at bay – It’s not always easy, but try to approach any viewings with a level head, to prevent getting swept up in the excitement. Don’t get too attached early on or your heart might rule your head and cause you to overlook any problems or make allowances over matters that are important to you.

  • Think ahead to the future – It’s important to think about what your plans for the future might look like – for example, changing jobs or starting a family – and how your new home will support these. Concessions you make now may not immediately impact you, but they could further down the line.

  • Consider how the location might develop – Compromising on location won’t always necessarily be a bad thing. Regeneration projects could transform an area in a few years, meaning an initial compromise may pay off in the long run. Which? has a host of tips for spotting a property hotspot if you are hoping to buy in an up-and-coming area.

  • Compare your options – Always consider all of your options together, creating a list of pros and cons to help assess what the best decision is for you. Which? has a free area comparison tool to help you compare the areas you’re looking for properties in.

Most common compromises made

Percentage of those that later regretted it

Price (26%)


Decor (23%)


Location (20%)


Size of rooms (20%)


Garden (17%)


Structural condition (13%)


David Blake, Principal Mortgage Adviser at Which? Mortgage Advisers, said:

“Buying a home is a very emotive purchase. In an ideal world, we would be able to find our dream home in a great location, ticking everything off our list – but for most of us, some compromise is to be expected. But that doesn’t mean you have to settle for somewhere that will leave you unhappy.

“The first step in your house hunt should be to talk to an independent mortgage adviser, so that you have an accurate idea of your budget. From there, you can research what’s available for your money and work out what you are – and aren’t – prepared to compromise on.”

Notes to editors:

  1. YouGov, on behalf of Which? Mortgage Advisers, surveyed 1,205 people who own their home and bought it within the last two years. Data was collected between 3 and 24 January 2019.

  2. Which? Mortgage Advisers is one of the Which? commercial services. When an important market fails to deliver value for customers, we develop products and services that put customers’ needs first. Which? Mortgage Advisers provides truly independent, whole-of-market mortgage advice. You can find out more by visiting https://mortgageadvisers.which.co.uk.

  3. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

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