Five classic buying mistakes

BUYING a home is an expensive and time-consuming process so it's worthwhile considering how to avoid common mistakes that could cost you dearly.

As a buyers' agent, I've seen many buyers rush in and make offers without considering their long-term needs or the current market values. The most classic mistakes that we regularly see include:

1. Lack of research

Many buyers are under time pressures due to work or family commitments, so they buy in a hurry without doing enough research.

You need to create a "property brief" and set your priorities in terms of suburbs, type of property, features and price range. This helps you shortlist only the most suitable properties and avoid wasting time at inspections.

2. Buying before selling

This is where many buyers back themselves into a corner with the time constraint of settlement.

While it would be ideal to be able to sell and then buy immediately, the reality is that the standard settlement period is not enough time to adequately research the market.

Being cashed up from a sale means you are in far better negotiating position and ready to move on the right property.

3. Becoming emotionally attached

So you've found your dream home after a six-month search and the auction is in full swing.

You're being swayed and sweet-talked by the real estate agent.

And your partner really loves the place and you just have to buy it (because you think there is no other option)… and you end up overpaying at auction due to the pressure situation.

Avoid emotional impulse-buying.

4. Poor negotiation/evaluation

Some buyers can be too greedy by making low-ball offers in a seller's market and miss out if they are not prepared to pay a fair price.

On the other hand, some buyers can be too eager or competitive and end up overpaying for a property.

To buy well you will need to have a good understanding of local values and property types.

5. Buying the wrong house for future needs

Don' make a "frustrated purchase", i.e. buying the next house you see just because you are sick of searching.

Think about your life stage and what will suit your needs for the future. Don't just think one year ahead - think 10 years down the track.

Taking the first step is often the hardest.

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