Home buyers overlooking property problems



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Nearly one in four Australian home buyers has experienced buyer’s remorse after purchasing their property, with a significant percentage overlooking potentially expensive issues when inspecting their property, according to new research from ME Bank. 

Based on a representative survey of 1000 property owners in January 2018, 58% spent less than 60 minutes checking out the property before their purchase, and 26% discovered issues with their property after their purchase, including problems with paintwork, construction quality, gardens and fences, and fittings and chattels.

Some of the reasons these buyers gave for missing these issues during their initial inspection included:

  • Fell in love with the property and overlooked them (36%)
  • Lacked experience and skill in inspecting the property (32%)
  • Impatient and tired of looking (11%)

Also, approximately one third of those surveyed said they failed to arrange a professional building and pest inspection for the last property they purchased.

As a result of buying a property with problems:

  • 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.

However, it was found that the presence of post-purchase property problems isn’t always a dealbreaker for all home buyers:

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

ME head of home loans, Patrick Nolan, said that it was important to thoroughly inspect a property before any purchase, and to beware the potential of emotions to cloud your judgment when buying a home:

“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.”

Top post-purchase problems identified among property owners:

Problem Total First home buyers Second or subsequent buyers
Paintwork 29% 30% 29%
Construction quality 26% 27% 24%
Gardens and fences 24% 26% 22%
Fittings and chattels 20% 19% 21%
Services (hot water, heating/cooling etc.) 16% 18% 14%
Neighbours 15% 14% 16%
Illegal building work 10% 9% 11%
Noise or lighting 10% 9% 11%
General floor plan  8% 8% 7%
Location 7% 8% 6%
Valuation 5% 5% 5%
Zoning or title 3% 4% 2%
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