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Buy a house: things to consider when house hunting

There’s no doubt about it. It’s not always easy to buy a house. By the time you find a home that ticks all the boxes, check you can afford it and go back to make an offer, it’s been sold. Alternatively, you’ve attended seven auctions in the last month and every single time the property has sold for a higher price than what you wanted to pay.

How does anyone manage to buy a house these days? What’s the secret?

Whilst we don’t believe there’s a “secret” per se, here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re house hunting.


Do your research, but don’t get stuck doing research forever 

It’s always great to do research. The more you know about what’s happening in the market, the better placed you are to detect good value. Research can take many forms and most buyers will do a combination of these – for example: talk to agents and mortgage professionals; attend open homes and auctions; look up past sale prices and/or analyze market trends. The trick however, is not to get stuck in this phase.

Perhaps it’s fear associated with owing the lender lots of money, fear of making the wrong decision or maybe it’s fear of not getting a ‘good deal’. Maybe it’s nothing like that at all and you’re just having trouble working out what kind of house you want. It’s completely understandable – buying a new home is a big deal!

The thing is, sometimes the longer you deliberate and the more you research, the bigger everything becomes. We’re here to help.


You might need to be flexible

This can be a hard one if you’ve always imagined living in a particular suburb. However, if you’ve been looking for months and months and months and still nothing is coming up, maybe it’s time to expand your horizons.

Make sure you check surrounding suburbs and nearby areas to where you’ve been concentrating your search. You might discover a home in the next suburb over, and although it’s slightly further from the city than what you wanted, is more attainable in terms of price.

Alternatively, if you’re not willing to be flexible on the area, maybe you need to be flexible about the type of property. Perhaps you need to compromise on the size of the property, or be open to the idea of updating the bathroom in a few years.


Adjust your expectations

It’s human nature to want more for less. But sometimes our expectations about what kind of house we can secure for what kind of price, are a little out of alignment with what’s actually possible.

Whilst we would never suggest paying more for a property than you should (or can afford), if it’s going to be your family home for the next 15- 20 years, maybe paying that little bit more to secure it today, might not be so disastrous over the long term. We’re not advocating you pay more than you can afford, but if you’ve spent the best part of a year looking for the perfect home (at the perfect price), turnsprepared to pay a little bit more for a property than someone else, chances are it will be yours. At which point, you can resume normal life activities sans weekend open homes and late night Allhomes sessions.


You have to be ready to act

You need to able to act quickly if the opportunity arises. If you see a place you like, you need to know if you can afford it and whether a lender would approve your loan application. A pre-approval can help with this and give you the confidence to bid/ or put an offer on a property you like.


Buying a property you absolutely love; that meets every single one of your requirements; one that’s in the perfect area; and one you secure for a ‘bargain price,’ is a bit like making a healthy dessert. Because you’re trying to achieve competing objectives simultaneously, it can be a difficult task to pull off!

We’re definitely not saying it can’t be done, nor is it something you shouldn’t aim for, but it can be helpful to remember that more often than not, you may need to compromise in one area for the benefit of another.

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