The perils of buying with rose-coloured glasses

More than half of Australian house hunters spend the same amount of time inspecting a property as they do watching an episode on Netflix, according to new research by ME.

The lender’s survey of 1000 homeowners revealed that once they found their property, 58 per cent spent less than 60 minutes checking out the residence they eventually bought, despite it being one of the biggest purchases of their lifetime. More than a quarter (26 per cent) discovered issues with their property after they purchased it.

Around 36 per cent of this group said they missed picking these up issues because they “fell in love with the property and overlooked them”, while 32 per cent said they “lacked experience and skill in inspecting the property”, and 11 per cent were simply “impatient and tired of looking”.
Top post-purchase problems included paintwork, construction quality, gardens and fences, and fittings and chattels.

Among owners who identified issues, 74 per cent had to spend money fixing, replacing or improving the issues identified, or had plans to do so. Another 41 per cent said that they would have paid less for the property had they noticed the problems earlier, while 23 per cent experienced buyer’s remorse following the purchase.

Patrick Nolan, ME head of home loans, said that emotions are always involved when purchasing a home, which can cloud your judgement.

“Spend more time inspecting the prospective property with several return visits at different times of the day,” he said.

“See lots of properties so you can compare and contrast, give weight to any niggling hunches that give you cause for concern, and get a professional property inspector to do the checking for you.”

According to ME’s survey, around a third of buyers failed to arrange a professional building and pest inspection for the last property they purchased.

Despite some reservations among those who identified issues, a large proportion also reported to be happy overall with their decision. Some 92 per cent said it had still been worth buying the property despite the problems they discovered, while 19 per cent said they wouldn’t have purchased the property had they discovered the issues beforehand, and only 14 per cent said they intend to move sooner than originally planned now they’ve discovered the faults.

Top post-purchase problems identified among property owners:

TOTAL FIRST HOME BUYER SECOND STEPPERS (Second or subsequent buyers)
Paintwork 29% 30% 29%
Construction quality 26% 27% 24%
Gardens and fences 24% 26% 22%
Fittings and chattels 20% 19% 21%
Services: hot water, heating/cooling etc. 16% 18% 14%
Neighbours 15% 14% 16%
Illegal building work 10% 9% 11%
Noise or lighting 10% 9% 11%
General floor plan 8% 8% 7%
Location 7% 8% 6%
Valuation 5% 5% 5%
Zoning or title 3% 4% 2%

 

Information supplied by ME

Image: Anton Skavronskiy/Dreamstime.com