While most people aspire to become homeowners, research has revealed that around 80% of people who have purchased a property have at least one noteworthy regret regarding their home buying decision. Staggering numbers considering buying a property is often the largest financial decision a person is likely to make in their life time.
So why do so many people have something they regret after they buy a home? According to data compiled by an online estate agency, it takes people an average of 38 minutes to decide on the home they want to buy. Around two thirds of home buyers will view a property twice before making an offer, while some make an offer after seeing the property just once. Making a large financial decision in less time than it takes to prepare the average dinner could result in a few issues.
It is easy to get caught up in the emotional aspect of buying a home, which could lead to you possibly overlooking certain key elements. It is often only once you have moved in and everything settles down, that you start to see things you might have previously only glossed over or missed. If you are not fully prepared and do not have an idea of exactly what you are looking for, it could be easy to miss something or make an incorrect decision.
Here are a few tips you can use to avoid regretting your purchase:
Separate the needs from the wants
Before you set out looking for the ideal property, make a list of what you need and what you want. Make the must-have a priority and note the features or aspects you are willing to compromise on.
It’s important to remain focused on your must-haves and not get distracted by your wants. A property might tick many of the boxes on your wants list, but if it does not meet your main objectives – it can’t be the right home. It is likely that you will stay in the property for at least a few years, which means dealing with your compromises for that long. It is better to rather make the right decision upfront, than have to deal with living in a home that just isn’t right.
Look at your finances, and then check them again
Often one of the main reasons that buyers have regrets is the unexpected costs of owning a property. It is vital that you calculate what you can afford considering all costs such as council tax, insurance, service charge, maintenance and ground rent if the property is leasehold.
The bank, mortgage lender or professional financial adviser will be able to provide you with a list of costs that you can expect to pay when purchasing a home.
Get another opinion
Hire someone to have a look at the property to give you an idea of the type of repairs you may need to address and budget for beforehand. If you don’t want to hire someone, at least have a trusted friend or family member have a look at the property to give you an unbiased, objective opinion.
Make sure you choose the right solicitor
All the legal aspects of buying a home will be handled by a solicitor or conveyancer. It is vital to choose and work with a solicitor that you trust and feel comfortable with, rather than one you have been forced into using by the agent. A good solicitor will ensure you are kept informed and will help guide you through the home buying process. The service you receive from your solicitor can make all the difference in how easy or difficult the all experience is for you, so choose carefully.
Don’t engage in a bidding war
Competition from another prospective buyer could make the property seem more attractive than it is and could lead you to put in a higher offer. However, it is important to remain focused on the main objective, which is finding the right home and not winning a contest. Rather walk away from the deal, than overpay. A higher price will mean a larger deposit, higher fees and thousands in additional interest on a larger mortgage. Another downside is that it will take much longer to build up any equity.
Buying a home is the largest financial decision that most people will make in their lives. While finding the right home will be an emotional journey, remember to keep things in perspective and focus on what matters most.