Buying

4 Common Mistakes Home Buyers Make When Purchasing a Property

Story Highlights
  • 1 - Searching for perfection
  • 2 - Assuming the price is negotiable
  • 3 - Failing to protect against nasty surprises
  • 4 - Being heavily influenced by the aesthetics of a house

Whether you’re a first-time home buyer, or looking for a bigger family home, or even downsizing for retirement, whatever your reason for being on the property market, here are 4 common mistakes home buyers make when searching for their “perfect” home.

1 – Searching for perfection

Dare we say it: Perfection doesn’t exist, stop searching for it!

Many buyers pass over ideal properties in the hope that they will find the perfect property, only to regret this decision months later when the reality dawns on them that, perfection does not exist!

“The house you looked at today and wanted to think about until tomorrow may be the same house someone looked at yesterday and will buy today.” – Koki Adasi

Perhaps buyers may find it useful to identify non-negotiables and a handful of “nice-to-haves” in advance of starting their property search.

These can be used to help focus the property search and if necessary, to compare two properties should the need arise. If a property ticks say 7 of 10 boxes, it’s reasonable to assume it’s as close to perfect as you’re likely to find. 

2 – Assuming the price is negotiable

Not every home’s asking price is negotiable.

There are multiple strategies home sellers can adopt when pricing their home, often dictated by the urgency with which the property needs to be sold. Some homes are priced to attract as many offers as possible, potentially going over the asking price, whilst others are priced with room for negotiation. 

Don’t risk offending the seller with a low-ball offer or waste time and effort trying to haggle over a price.

A long drawn out negotiation is in neither party’s best interest, so make sure that if you’re a serious buyer, your offer reflects this.

3 – Failing to protect against nasty surprises

Properties that are earmarked as “move-in ready” and appear to be in immaculate condition might be hiding a multitude of far more serious issues.

It’s amazing what defects can be hidden by a fresh coat of paint, new carpets or a strategically-placed wardrobe.

Typically, buyers don’t know what to look out for and most likely notice only the features and most obvious aspects needing repair. It’s also uncommon for buyers to climb into the roof or check for any underlying sources of damage.

Buyers need to ensure that what they are seeing is truly what they are getting and that they are not going to be in for more than they budgeted. The best way for a buyer to protect against nasty surprises is to arrange a pre-purchase home inspection. 

A pre-purchase inspection is performed by a professional and will uncover existing faults and identify potential problems. Home inspections usually cover external, internal and outbuilding areas giving the buyer a comprehensive overview of the condition of the property.

Whilst there is a cost associated with an inspection of this nature, the insight and peace-of-mind it provides prospective buyers is invaluable.

4 – Being heavily influenced by the aesthetics of a house

The atmosphere created by a home can easily be influenced by its décor, furnishings and flashy details, such as brightly coloured walls or gold-plated taps.

In some instances, these features may appeal to a prospective buyer and in others, they may be considered distasteful. Too often, buyers are heavily influenced, either positively or negatively, by the aesthetics of a house. It is important to recognise that décor and furnishings are not a permanent feature of the property and that flashy details are not necessarily an indication of the quality of the property. 

Buyers should focus more on the quality of the property as opposed to the superficial factors. When assessing the quality of the property, buyers may want to consider how well the home has been taken care of, the neighbourhood which the property forms part of, the proximity to major roads and thus the potential for noise pollution. These are characteristics which have a far greater bearing on the true value of the property.

All-in-all, buying a new home involves a major investment, both financially and emotionally. Being aware of these common mistakes and knowing how to avoid them will aid you on your journey and facilitate your decision-making process. 

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