How to Stay Cool When House Hunting

Stressed at the thought of buying a house? You’re not alone, in fact, Allianz Australia conducted a study in 2019 which found that “searching for a new home affects the mental and emotional wellbeing of more than half (51 per cent) of Aussie home buyers, highlighting a need for potential home buyers to find effective coping strategies during the process.”

As the market becomes more competitive by the day, and with cities looking to open up further with vaccination targets on the horizon, how do you best manage your stress levels and stay focused during this high-stakes time? We’ve put together our top 3 tips to keep your cool when you’re hunting for a property.

Don’t Get Fazed By Other Buyers

We’ve all been there - whether it’s a job interview or an audition, you arrive and the place is crawling with other potentials and you can’t help but think, “Do I even stand a chance?” In the current market, it’s not unheard of for site-unseen offers to be accepted, bidding wars to transpire and a general rush to be the winning offer for a property.

So, keep your head and focus on your viewing time, even if the place is swarming with buyers and the agent has run out of offer forms. One recent anecdote comes from viewing a property that had great looks, a motivated seller and a crowded 30-minute viewing window.

Just a few minutes into checking out the rooms, we spotted hushed tones and conversations from interested buyers, a gentleman who planted himself right in the living room to “take in the energy” of the space, and a real estate agent who was so sure of her commission, she’d effectively given up the sell altogether.

We didn’t make an offer despite liking the home, thinking “Our offer will be at the bottom of a pile”, but just days later we received a call from the same agent asking our thoughts, and a price reduction of 30k to the home. The lesson? There are plenty of people out to simply have a snoop, so don’t be deterred by the volume of other buyers and get your offer in even if it seems a long shot.

Don't let yourself be put off or pressured to 'act now' by crowds and real estate agents. 

Refine Your Options

In retail, the saying goes that there’s a magical ‘3’ number when it comes to showing off stock - too many options leads to decision fatigue, and the same goes for browsing your future homes.

Of course, get perspective and check out lots of options - your hard-earned money is valuable and worth the time - but don’t spread yourself too thin with dozens of potential homes on your list. Get specific about your deal breakers, and aim to find a home that fits 80% of your vision, rather than striving for perfection and ending up way off track.

Real estate photography can be smoke and mirrors at times, so recognise that even if a new house pops up for sale, it will rarely appear as the photos suggest, and it’s not worth being distracted from a winning property you’ve seen in person already and liked. Every time you take on another new “potential”, it could add a matter of months to your house search, with someone else snapping up the property you paused on, so keep a lean list and stay realistic about what the home MUST feature.

Buy the house (not the hype!)

“The market is crazy right now!” “I can’t get enough stock!” “You’ll never find one like this again.” “I’d put in an offer today if you’re interested!”

Real estate agents are definitely having their moment right now, with buyer demand continuing to swell and a push from people who had paused their house-buying goals for lockdowns now itching to get to viewings and auctions.

However, don’t lose sight of the role of the agent - they want you to sign on the dotted line, and they don’t want you to think too long about it. It’s easy to feel you’re already behind when you jump into the buyers market, but if you’re prepped and ready to purchase, you’ve got just as much chance of locking it down as any other buyer in your price bracket.

Be wary of big, bold statements about properties on the listing or from the agent, and use your head (as well as your heart) when you’re making a decision - don’t settle for a property you feel is overpriced just because you’re nervous to keep searching and miss out, or overlook serious structural or location issues for the sake of “having one in the bag”.

Above all, remember that you’re buying a home which will form the base of many wonderful memories in future, and while the process can be taxing, the outcome will be a place that will grow alongside you.

Written by Ben Saravia,  

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