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How to beat a first home buyer burnout

By George Hadgelias

Finding and buying your first property is akin to running a marathon.

You must typically invest years to save a deposit. Then there’s the grind of convincing lenders to back you by lending you funds, the long slog of researching home values and inspecting properties then the final, heady, sprint to the end, often pushing past other buyers to buy the right home.

It’s no wonder your buying legs can feel exhausted – threatening your effort – before you cross the finish line.

According to Andrew Date, Buyers Agent and Vendor Advocate for Advantage Property Consulting, first-home buyer burnout is common.

“Even myself, when I bought my first property, it took me nine months to find the one,” says Date, who formerly worked for almost five years as a sales agent.

ME Head of Home Loans, Patrick Nolan says some days can feel like a marathon when you’re saving for a first home.

“As any distance runner knows, at some stage you could hit the wall of fatigue,” Nolan says.

“If you find your enthusiasm for growing savings is starting to flag, it can pay to adopt the strategies used by professional runners to forge ahead even when the wall tries to slow them down.”

So how do you stay motivated on the property search? Here’s our five top tips to keep you in the race.

1. Keep a steady pace

Nolan says first home buyers should aim to stick to a consistent pace of saving, which can help you avoid saving fatigue.

He says putting everything into savings without allowing money for lifestyle choices is a sure fire way to burn out.

“Crunch the numbers to work out how much you need to save to reach your first home deposit target. Once you have the numbers in place it’s just a matter of maintaining the momentum.”

Date advises all buyers to inspect at least 10 properties before buying one. First-timers need to start their journey with realistic expectations, he says.

“You will get fatigued quickly if you don’t commit to educate yourself and this can and should take some time – sometimes years – depending on a buyer’s risk tolerance.”

2. Fuel your mind

Elite sportspeople often use visualization – like imagining themselves on the winner’s podium – to help them stay motivated, and keep going.

If your enthusiasm is flagging, focus on the end game.

Find a motivational saying, save it on your home page, and look at it whenever you are losing your way and feel like going AWOL to Costa Rica or similar.

Imagine how awesome it’s going to feel opening your own home’s front door and saying ‘it’s all mine’.

Christelle Tuyau saved for two years before buying her first home in the southwest Sydney suburb of Ambarvale.

Having the willpower to save $2,000 a month was not easy, she says.

“Create a vision board with your goals and what you what to achieve,” she says.

“Put up a target figure and a picture of a home. Think of it like the law of attraction!”

3. Talk to your running mate

Date says it’s all-too-common for pairs of first home buyers to work against each other and run the risk of losing motivation.

Spouses or friends who decide to buy a first property together need to talk to each other in the early stages of the process so you are on the same page.

“You really need to work out what is non-negotiable for each buyer early on so you can avoid fatigue caused by wasting time looking at properties beyond your budget.”

4. Load your savings

In the same way distance runners use stopping points to fuel up on carbohydrates, first home buyers can boost their deposit by upping the return on savings.

“Explore options to earn bonus rates like holding your everyday account and savings account with the same bank. It all helps you smash through the wall of fatigue and hit the finish line a whole lot sooner,” Nolan says.

Budget tips: How to save without even noticing 

5. Run your own race

Never feel pressured to buy something just because you see other people doing it. This may mean buying something more expensive than you can comfortably afford, or buying in an area to please friends or family.

Always run your own race to buy your first property to ensure a full recovery and a positive experience.

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