Reducing the stress of buying property in Brisbane
It is easy to romanticise the process of buying a home or investment property. After all buying your dream home should be an exciting and rewarding experience that brings families together. Purchasing an investment property should feel empowering and build confidence as people take a positive step to creating wealth for retirement. Unfortunately the reality of purchasing property in Brisbane can be very different. Some have likened the stress levels that buyers experience to that of losing a job or going through a relationship breakdown.
Stress and frustration leave buyers feeling disillusioned. Many purchasers delay (or abandon) the search altogether. It is common for buyers to spend 12 months or more looking ‘on and off’ for property
So what is it that makes buying property so stressful?
Corelogic RP data recently released the results of a survey of property buyers regarding their perceptions of the purchase process. The following behaviors by sale agent were found to be the most frustrating for buyers:
- Not providing a list price for properties
- Being sent to properties that were clearly unsuitable
- Continuing to advertise open for inspections when the property is already under contract
- Failing to return phone calls during negotiations
- Failing to disclose property faults or defects
- Providing a poor level of service after the exchange of contracts
What can purchasers do to make to the process of buying a property less excruciating?
As Brisbane buyer’s agents we understand (and experience!) these frustrations every day. Indeed these same factors are often the reason that investors and homebuyers choose to employ buyer’s agents to work on their behalf. Unfortunately there are no easy solutions to these cproblems. The following tips are designed to help buyers overcome their frustrations (or a least to understand them a little bit better!).
Not providing a list price for properties
As the Brisbane market becomes increasingly competitive more and more properties are being listed for sale either without a price guide, at “offers over $x” or by auction. Many buyers are unable to determine whether a particular property is within their budget, and waste time inspecting unsuitable properties.
Buyers cannot rely on the sales agent to give them advice regarding price. Buyers need to either (i) educate themselves about recent sale prices and current market conditions (ii) or seek the advice of a professional buyers agent. All major realestate portals provide details of recent sale results which buyers should review prior to inspecting listed properties.
Being sent to properties that were clearly unsuitable
Currently in Brisbane stock levels are low (<2% across most suburbs) and sales agents are struggling to obtain listings. Any particular agent may only have 5-10 listings at anyone time making unikely that they will have multiple properties to suit your needs and budget. In order to save time and frustrations buyers should always scrutinise properties online, and perform basic due diligence (checking flood risk, school catchments, google maps, google street view etc) before arranging any inspections.
Continuing to advertise open for inspections when the property is already under contract
It is common for sales agents to continue to market properties until the contract of sale becomes unconditional. That way if the contract crashes they may still have other interested buyers. Buyers need to understand that this process is common, and they should not assume that the property in still for sale just because inspection times are advertised . It is always worthwhile contacting the sales agent before attending an inspection
Failing to return phone calls during negotiations
Poor communication from sales agents is a common frustration and one that can be difficult to manage. Only this week I received notification by text message(how rude!!) that my client’s offer was unsuccessful and the property had been sold to another party. Buyers need to be proactive when it comes to property negotiations. Don’t wait for the sales agent to call because they probably won’t!. Don’t assume that voicemail messages or emails will be received. In multiple offer situations don’t expect to be given the opportunity to negotiate further – the property is likely to sell as soon as the vendors receive an acceptable price.
Failing to disclose property faults or defects
Buyers cannot rely on sales agents to disclose defects about a property. I recommend when buyers inspect a property for the first time that they should walk through (and around) the property a least a couple of times. On the first inspection work out if the property suits your needs. On the second walk through, concentrate on identifying defects and making a list of work which may be required. On the inside buyers should concentrate on inspecting wet areas (kitchens and bathrooms) for any leaks, and ceilings for any mould or water damage. Outside they need to check for any cracking; the condition of the roof, gutters and stumps, and the yard for any potential drainage problems. All contracts should be subject to a satisfactory building and pest inspection. (Why not spend a day shadowing a building and pest inspector – it is a great way to learn!)
Poor levels of service after contracts are exchanged
Expect poor service and be pleasantly surprised if you receive otherwise! Buyers need to take control during the contract period to make sure that their solicitor and bank receive the contract documents promptly, that building and pest inspections and valuations are performed in a timely way; and that deposit monies are paid on time. All service providers (banks, brokers, solicitors, building inspectors, valuers) need to be contacted regularly to make sure everything is on track.
Unfortunately there are no easy ways to overcome many of the frustrations that homebuyers and investors encounter while on the property hunt. Understanding these issues will at least prepare buyers mentally for the process ahead. Becoming educated on your local property market and surrounding yourself with trusted professionals will definitely improve your chance of success. Happy house hunting!