Most Americans have at least one regret about their homes, or so suggests one of those reports that perpetually pop up in my in-basket.
We aren't talking here about buyer's remorse, the illness that sometimes afflicts new homeowners within a few days or weeks or months of settlement.
We're talking about things that we wish we could change - if we had the money to spend or simply could get off the couch on a Sunday afternoon to deal with them.
At the moment, mine is wishing that I had zoned our heating and air-conditioning system, so that the second floor of our house was as warm or as cool as the first.
That way, I wouldn't need a window unit in the bedroom in the summer. The electric fireplace we turn on for a couple of hours before bed in the winter to take the edge off the room . . . well, that was part of a remodeling project I completed almost 10 years ago, and that's what keeps me on my figurative couch.
I don't for a minute regret buying the house. We continue to live in Hightaxsy, even though the reason we moved here is no longer valid, because of this house, which we wish we could drag with us to a less-expensive retirement.
What I'm referring to, really, are the conclusions of another one of those surveys I get from entities seeking publicity. This survey is from HSH.com, a mortgage-tracking site.
The issues resulting in regret for 80 percent of the 2,000 people nationwide who responded to the HSH.com survey stem from the difficulty they have finding the right-size house in the perfect location, with good schools, friendly neighborhoods, low maintenance costs, and the right price.
The survey shows that not only do Americans think their homes are too small, but that many wish they had done more research before buying.
Too small probably means they can't find enough room to store the things they buy.
Not enough research is a long-term problem. Americans are always criticized for doing more legwork on buying cars that begin to lose value when they leave the lot than they do before buying their houses.
The top five regrets are:
House is too small, 15.5 percent.
Lack of storage/closets, 9.2 percent.
Neighbors, 8.35 percent.
Not enough bathrooms, 8.2 percent.
Poor school system, 7.15 percent.
See? Lack of research.
In the first instance, too small means that they knew the house was too small when they signed the sales agreement, but someone told them that (a) homeownership was the American dream; (b) they'd better buy it now because there are three other bids; (c) it's a starter home and you can buy a bigger one because houses always increase in value, but then the bubble burst and . . . .
Lack of storage/closets? De-clutter and stop going to yard sales.
Neighbors? Research means talking to them before you buy. (When we lived in Mount Airy, my neighbors would tell newcomers to avoid me unless they wanted to be in the newspaper.)
Bathrooms? One bathroom, six people, get real.
Regretting a choice of home in a poor school system? This is the reason most people with children buy where they do in the first place. There are online resources that offer information on every school system. Visiting the schools is a good idea, too.
Despite these regrets, which almost 95 percent of the survey's respondents said they think about at least occasionally, 66.4 percent of Americans said they would buy their current homes again.
But after they get to test the bathrooms.