Finding that “dream home” within your budget is always a challenge and, because it is one of the most important financial decisions most consumers will ever make, it is worth putting lots of time and effort into the search.
But searching too long could lead to “buyer’s block”, says Shaun Rademeyer, CEO of BetterLife Home Loans, SA’s biggest mortgage originator. “This refers to a homebuyer – especially a first-time buyer – who simply cannot decide on any property they view because they have been overwhelmed at the thought of such a large purchase or such a long-term payment commitment.
“And the state of indecision and confusion these potential buyers face is generally not helped by any amount of advice from friends, relatives or colleagues, no matter how well-meant it is. They need to un-freeze themselves.”
Indeed, the best solution for those who find themselves with buyer’s block, he says, is to “go back to basics”, starting with a really honest look at what they can comfortably afford, and how much they are willing to pay.
“Then they should make a list of the features they regard as absolute must-haves in a home (as opposed to nice-to-haves) and do some research to identify a few areas in which they would prefer to live.
“Then finally it is very important that they put a time-limit on their mission to go out and find the right home.”
Once they have done this, Rademeyer says, they many want to go back over the details of the homes they have already seen and compare them to the budgets and wish lists they have made. One or two may actually be very good matches.
“But if that isn’t the case, they should just restart their search, armed with their lists and the help of reputable estate agents in the areas that interest them.
“They should only consider homes that are within their price range and have all their essential requirements, see as many of these as they can within the time-frame they have set themselves, and then pick one that they like and that they think provides good value for money.”
He says those new to the property market should know that purchasing a home that they can afford, in the best area they can find, will prove to be a good investment over time. “Home price increases vary from year-to-year but in the long-term they move steadily upwards.
“So buyers new to the market also need to hold on to the idea of buying their own property and starting to build their own wealth as soon as possible, and avoid an over-lengthy search for a “bargain” or a “perfect” home while they carry on paying rent to someone else.”