The most common mistakes homebuyers make – and how to avoid them

Written by in Buying on April 20, 2017

Planning on purchasing a new home or investment property? You’re in luck—the buyers who have come before you have made some elementary mistakes, and you can learn from them!  

According to Westpac research*, more than half of all homeowners have made crucial mistakes when buying a property—and these can be mighty costly.  

Here are some of the most common mistakes many buyers make, and our tips to help you avoid them:

1. Only inspecting the property in dry weather

This is the most common that buyer mistake, with 17% of respondents falling into this trap. Of course, it may be unavoidable, depending on the time of year. That said, by not making an effort to see how the property holds up when it’s wet, you could be setting yourself up for some major expenses down the track.

When it’s raining, you can spy leaks in the roof and around doors and windows, gutters that don’t drain, and standing water around the home’s foundation that will save yourself future hassles.

2. Only conducting one inspection

It seems crazy that you could make such a massive investment decision after just one brief glance, yet 16% of home buyers don’t return for a second or third look at a property before making an offer.

If you’ve fallen in love with a home at first sight, you risk being blind to major flaws, which have the potential to cost you a lot of money. Gen Y buyers are the biggest offenders, with a quarter reporting they have purchased a property after a single viewing. In addition to conducting several viewings yourself, you may want to engage a professional to inspect the home and compile a report, as detailed below.

3. Failing to have a professional inspect the property

This is a big one, and one in ten property buyers fall victim to it. A professional property report can uncover hidden issues you were unaware of, potentially saving you tens of thousands if major structural problems are detected. Organising a pest inspection is also a wise move.

4. Putting too much trust in the agent

When you’re chatting away to an enthusiastic and friendly real estate salesperson, it’s easy to forget that don’t necessarily always have your best interests as their top priority. Remember, their job is to secure the best price possible for the seller, not to help you score a bargain. Be sure to do your own research or seek an independent professional opinion to back up any claims they make about the home or the area.  

5. Not checking out the neighbourhood

More than ten per cent of buyers copped to making this mistake. If the ink is dry on your contract before you realise your new home backs onto a dirt bike racing track, you can kiss your dreams of quiet weekend barbeques goodbye! By taking the time to scope out the suburbs you’re interested in and figuring out what is important to you as a homeowner, you can maximise your enjoyment level (not to mention the resale value) by buying in an area where exciting new amenities are being developed and growth is likely to be strong.

6. Letting your friends and family have a say

Of course your dad means well and only has your best interests at heart, but at the end of the day, you are the one who has to live in (and love) your property. Unless your loved one is an industry expert, don’t let your nearest and dearest influence your decision too much.

If you keep these pointers in mind when buying a home, you should be able to avoid these common mistakes and secure the property that’s right for you.

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Source: *2015 Westpac Home Ownership Report