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Netflix and too chill: house hunters cutting corners on inspections

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.

We get it. You see a house you like and you immediately want to buy it, warts and all.

But take a breath, as FOMO can be costly – with a third of recent purchasers admitting to “buyers regret”.

Not doing your due diligence on a property can also have implications when applying for finance if the lender’s valuation doesn’t come in at what you expected.

And it turns out that a lot of house hunters are leaping before they look right now.

A recent survey of 1,000 property owners by lender ME revealed that 55% of house hunters spent less than 60 minutes checking out the property they eventually purchased, despite it being one of the biggest purchases of their lifetime.

That’s about the length of a standard 55 minute Netflix episode.

The impact of COVID-19

Turns out we haven’t just become better at bingeing during COVID-19.

COVID-19 has also reduced the time buyers have to check out properties.

But it’s not always the purchaser’s fault.

About two-thirds (65%) of recent buyers said “real estate restrictions impacted their ability to inspect and purchase their property”.

And surprisingly, almost half (45%) of buyers restricted by lockdowns admitted to doorknocking vendors to ask for an inspection on the sly, as well as looking at photos and/or videos of the property.

Hidden issues

The lack of inspection time led to around 61% of Australian home buyers discovering issues with their property after moving in.

Around 40% of this group said they missed picking up the issues because they “lacked the skill or experience in inspecting the property”, while 33% simply “fell in love with the property and overlooked them”, and 18% were “impatient and concerned by rising prices”.

Overall, the top post-purchase problems included construction quality (32%), paintwork (28%), gardens and fences (23%), fittings and chattels (21%) and neighbours (17%).

Among owners who identified issues:

– 34% experienced a degree of “buyers regret” following the purchase. – 58% would have paid less for the property had they discovered the problems earlier. – 84% spent money fixing, replacing or improving the issues identified, or have plans to do so.

The moral of the story? Emotions are always involved when purchasing a home, which can cloud your judgement.

“Give weight to any niggling hunches that give you cause for concern and get a professional property inspector to do the looking for you,” says ME General Manager John Powell.

“It is also important to know your borrowing capacity in advance so you can buy your home with full confidence knowing you’ve got solid financial backing.”

Get in touch to find out your borrowing capacity

As mentioned above, it’s important to know your borrowing capacity before you start house hunting so you don’t stretch yourself beyond your limits.

So if you’d like to find out what you can borrow – get in touch today. We’d be more than happy to sit down with you, take a breath, and help you work it all out.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute tax or financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.


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