If you’ve been searching for months and aren’t any closer to finding your dream home, you may succumb to something called ‘property search fatigue’.
Finding a property that ticks all your boxes is near impossible – something has to give. However, it might not be what you’d expect.
If you’ve been struggling to find the right home and tiring of the house hunt, follow these tips from buyer’s advocate Wendy Chamberlain to get back on track.
A key obstacle in finding a home is imagining it has to be your ‘dream home’. The reality is your first home isn’t likely to be your forever home.
“Look at the way your parents or grandparents bought real estate,” Wendy encourages. “They didn’t start with a massive house with a big media room and multiple bathrooms. Maybe that was something they worked up to; maybe they started with something that wasn’t exactly what they wanted and over time updated it or renovated.
“People need to look at the type of property that’s going to suit them today, not what they might need in the future. Consider what’s going to get you in to the market.”
Wendy warns that people are missing out on great properties in great locations due to “unfounded suburb bias”.
“Coburg [in Melbourne], for instance, used to be the home of Pentridge Prison, so people wouldn’t want to live there,” she explains. “But [the prison] has been closed for some years, the suburb has gentrified and some people still won’t live there.
“While people migrating from other states or from overseas tend to have no issue moving in to areas like this, people who have lived in the area for longer can still get caught up in old biases.
“I think that’s one thing people need to have an open mind about. Consider a suburb you wouldn’t have considered before.”
The main reason many of us become inflexible is that we simply don’t know any better. We don’t have the full scope of information or possibilities to consider. This is where an open mind and a bit of research comes in handy.
“I had a client recently who only wanted a home within a certain school zone and we could not find anything within their budget,” Wendy starts. “Eventually, they expanded their search, did further research and found out these other schools nearby actually had excellent curriculums, excellent reputations and were perfectly adequate — she just hadn’t looked at them before.”
Research might involve hitting the pavement to explore new areas, making pros and cons lists, or creating thorough, comparative spreadsheets.
“Don’t get tunnel vision!” Wendy warns. “I’ve had clients who only wanted homes with bathtubs. I had a client who just had to have an apartment with a linen closet. They wouldn’t look at anything else! People can be very specific.”
Wendy encourages people not to rule out homes that don’t immediately meet these needs. Don’t cut yourself off at the internet search stage by filtering too narrow. Instead, look at floor plans, get quotes and costs. Consider what it might take to adapt an existing home to your needs.
After all, features like a bathtub and a linen closet can always be added at a later date.
Buyer’s advocates, mortgage brokers, real estate agents, friends and family – there are so many people who are there to make the home buying search process less draining.
“Buyer’s advocates can achieve a result in a much shorter time in cases where you’ve been out there trying and trying and trying,” Wendy says. “I’m continually talking to agents and looking at the market, so I know the lay of the land and I may have information that you don’t. My quickest [turnaround for a sale] is two days!”
Once you’ve found the right place, don’t forget about insurance. For cover that suits you and your home, talk to Youi. Start the conversations around insurance early so your dream home is well-protected from the moment you find it.
If you’re strapped for time and money and can’t get out of your slump, ask your friends and family to lend a hand. Task them with keeping an eye out for properties for sale, get them to join you at open houses and lean on them for support during the long journey to home ownership. Even if they can’t help you out financially, they’ll be able to listen to your concerns.
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