Buyer beware of quick purchase decisions

About a third of property buyers fail to arrange professional building and pest inspections, according to an ME Bank survey. 

A further startling statistic reveals that more than half of Australian house hunters spend the same amount of time inspecting a property as they do bingeing Netflix for an hour, according to the research. 

The survey of 1,000 property owners reveals that once they find their property, 55 per cent spend less than 60 minutes inspecting it before buying, despite it being one of the biggest purchases of their lifetime.

Yet, despite reservations, a large proportion of those who identify issues still report that they were happy with their purchase decision.

An overwhelming 94 per cent say it was still worth buying the property despite the problems they later encountered.

However, with 34 per cent of respondents experiencing remorse or regret following their purchase, buyer beware looms large.

The overall lesson is to be mindful of making emotion-charged, flash decisions when it comes to buying property.

If the asking price is well below current market value, homebuyers should always ask themselves why?

Problem areas identified 

The top post-purchase problems identified among property owners include:

Construction quality (32 per cent); paintwork (28 per cent); gardens and fences (23 per cent); fittings and chattels (21 per cent); neighbours (17 per cent); services and utilities (15 per cent); noise or lighting (14 per cent); illegal building work (10 per cent); floor plan (seven per cent); valuation (six per cent); location (six per cent); and zoning or title (four per cent).

Prevention is the solution

The survey found that the lack of inspection time led to about 61 per cent of Australian buyers discovering issues with their property after moving in.

However, an encouraging sign is the finding that 84 per cent of respondents spend money fixing, replacing or improving the issues identified, or have plans to do so.

But this would be money well spent and even saved in the event of conducting professional building and pest inspections prior to purchasing.  

A qualified and registered building inspector and hazard/pest inspection experts can alert potential buyers to immediate problem areas. These can and should sway purchase decisions away from must-have, emotion-based compulsions towards value-adding or reducing practicalities.  

Furthermore, the study’s authors say it is also important to know your borrowing capacity in advance — so that you can buy your home with full confidence, knowing you’ve got solid financial backing.