American home buyers persevered through high prices and fierce competition in 2021 and 2022, but few landed their dream home, with 80% compromising on their priorities, according to a new report from Anytime Estimate, an online real estate education platform owned by Clever Real Estate.

Anytime Estimate surveyed 1,001 people who purchased a home in 2021 or 2022 on their home-buying experience and found that the process was far from seamless for most.

In fact, nearly one-fourth of all buyers (22%) weren’t satisfied with their home-buying experience, and 88% said the competitive housing market impacted their experience.

Due to this competitive market and lack of inventory, many Americans were forced to compromise on their priorities. Although 50% of respondents said that finding a home in a good neighborhood was their No. 1 priority, 20% actually settled for a home in a less-desirable neighborhood.

To keep up with the fast-paced market, 80% of buyers made more than one offer, with 41% making five or more. In addition, the house hunt took one month or more for 61% of buyers, including 1 in 8 (12%) who looked for six months or longer before their offer was accepted.

What’s more, more than 1 in 3 buyers made an offer sight unseen, and 55% bought a fixer-upper — yet nearly a quarter of those who did regret doing so.

Despite compromising on their home wishlist, one-third of buyers still paid over asking price, including 1 in 8 (12%) who paid more than 30% over asking price. Although realtors typically recommend offering no more than 1-3% over asking price, 29% of respondents who paid over asking price reported paying 21-30% more, and 12% reported paying at least 30% more.

First-time home buyers dominated the market in 2021 and 2022, with 70% of recent buyers indicating they were making their first home purchase. First-time buyers struggled to submit attractive offers – they were 1.6x more likely than repeat buyers to submit at least 10 offers and to make risky moves such as making an offer sight unseen.

First-timers also paid a median of $510,000 for a home in 2021 and 2022 — about 13% more than the $450,000 that repeat buyers paid.

Forced to make decisions on the spot, it comes as no surprise that nearly 3 in 4 recent home buyers (72%) have regrets about their purchase, including spending too much (30%) and buying too quickly (26%).

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