'Buyer's block': How to hit the restart button on your home search
You're pre-approved for a bond, you've spent weeks visiting showhouses, read a ton of advice on where, when and how to purchase, and you still can't bring yourself to sign an offer to purchase. Sounds familiar? You may have what agents call 'buyer's block'. We can help you with that.
If you're struggling to sign on the dotted line, don't ignore the feeling if you want a happy ending to your home-buying story. Take the time to find out why you're conflicted about wanting to buy, and why you're just unable to make that final decision.
The main reason is usually — you guessed it! — money. More precisely, it's that reluctance to commit to such a big financial investment. When you see the numbers on paper, it's enough to send the most level-headed of us into a tailspin. But, fortunately, there are several practical ways to overcome this property-purchasing panic. Here's how to get you moving forward — and, in a matter of months, moving in.
Start by checking out less expensive and smaller homes in more affordable areas. Online property portals and estate agency websites make this so easy to do — and you can't really go wrong with buying for less than the maximum amount that you can actually afford.
This will give you a sense of security that you have a financial buffer — you haven't overextended your monthly budget. Plus, you'll have peace of mind about possible interest rate hikes in the future, as well as the rising costs of owning and maintaining a home. You may also find that you're able to pay an additional amount into your bond account each month and pay off your home way faster than you expected.
Alternatively, if you're planning this purchase because you want to start or grow your family, you may need to think hard about whether you'll be able to take on two big financial goals at the same time. It's tough to cope with a new bond and a burgeoning family. Constantly worrying about your cash flow is bound to take the bliss out of home ownership.
So, again, you may need to set your sights on a less expensive home while you work on bringing down your debt, boosting your savings and improving your overall financial position — just so you can sleep soundly at night!
And finally, if you're worried whether buying a property will actually be a good 'investment', make sure you make provision in your budget for home maintenance, and choose a tidy, secure area where the other homes are also well-kept. There's always demand in these areas, and property prices tend to rise steadily as a result.
Once you've worked through those financial fears and foibles, you need to make a firm decision about how much you're willing to pay, where you're willing to live, and what sort of home features are absolutely essential. Then, you need to start actively hunting down homes that perfectly match these prerequisites.
And give yourself a decent time frame in which to finish your home search and make a final offer. Although there are many homes to choose from in today's market, you shouldn't feel pressured about 'missing out' on a great bargain that might come on to the market next week, next month or next year.
You should be focused on finalising a purchase so you can start adding to your personal wealth, especially if you're a first-time buyer, instead of pouring funds into someone else's pocket as a tenant. Overcoming 'buyer's block' will help you get out of the blocks and put you ahead of the field in the hunt for a home.