Perils of buying a house with rose-coloured glasses

ME Bank has conducted research that shows over half of Australian home buyers spend the same amount of time inspecting a property as they do watching an episode via Netflix.

The survey of 1,000 property owners revealed that once they found their property, 58% spent less than 60 minutes checking out the property they eventually purchased, despite being one of the biggest purchases of their lifetime.

Furthermore, over a quarter (26%) discovered issues with their property after they purchased it.

Around 36% of this group said they missed picking these up issues because they ‘fell in love with the property and overlooked them’, while 32% said they ‘lacked experience and skill in inspecting the property’, and 11% 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% spent money fixing, replacing or improving the issues identified, or have plans to do so.
  • 41% would have paid less for the property had they discovered the problems earlier.
  • 23% experienced a degree of ‘buyers regret’ following the purchase.

ME Head of Home Loans, Patrick Nolan said 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.

“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 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 overall happy with their decision:

  • 92% said it was still worth buying the property despite the problems they discovered.
  • Only 19% said they wouldn’t have purchased the property had they discovered the issues.
  • And only 14% said they plan to move sooner than originally planned now they’ve discovered them.

Editor notes: ME’s survey was completed by a nationally representative sample of 1,000 property owners in January 2018.

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