Five ways property buyers waste time and money

There’s plenty of effort involved when you purchase property. Often millions of dollars are changing hands, and a bad buying decision can result in dire financial consequences.

But there are other ways to do your dough and burn your hours besides choosing the wrong asset.

Here are five ways I see everyday buyers lose time and money when on the real estate hunt.

Being on again/off again

Hunting for your next home or investment requires consistent and sustained effort.

The perfect property is unlikely to reveal itself at your first open-home weekend. It takes time to build “buyer momentum” which is the force driving you toward better market intelligence and the ability to make a definitive “yes/no” decision.

By stop/starting during the search you waste valuable time and can miss an exceptional property option.

Too slow to “yes”

I’ve seen fantastic opportunities slip through buyers’ fingers simply because they were too slow to recognise a great deal.

Whether it’s a “grass is always greener” mentality, analysis paralysis or just the fear of moving forward, failure to get to ‘yes’ means you’ll need to invest more time, brain power and money into continuing the search.

Another thing that happens when you delay is that other buyers get time to discover what’s on offer. As such, the home will either be snapped up by some else, or the seller will respond to the high demand by increasing their asking price.

The way to get to yes sooner is to be well informed about the market, and your property needs. Know your ‘must haves’ in a home, understand what people are paying for that type of property and be prepared to act as soon as your wish list is ticked.

Switching focus

When buyers step away from their defined list of property must haves, they burn effort, energy, time and mental capacity looking at the wrong real estate.

For example, if you’re hell bent on living in the inner west, don’t start looking at listings elsewhere.

Then there are people who vacillate between criteria, such as whether the home needs renovation or not. Maybe they constantly change their mind on future demolition or development potential.

My tip is to be decisive and stay consistent about what you want. Focus on a achieving those things and have the right budget to spend. Don’t be distracted by options that you know deep down you’ll ultimately reject.

Offer and hope

This describes buyers putting in an offer and then standing back to wait and see what happens.

Yes, you need to make an offer based on your due diligence, but you must also have backup plans. What will you do if they counter? Worse still is if you get radio silence from the agent –  how long will you leave it before requiring a reply?

All the time you spend sitting on the sidelines waiting for a reply equates to lost search opportunities that may have unearthed another property.

Treating portal prices as gospel

Time and again I see buyers put price parameters in their listing portal search criteria and unearthing a home they think is ideal.

“Marvellous!” they say. “I asked for listings up to $2 million, and this cracking property has shown up. I’ll offer $1.95 million!”

The problem is that in the back engine of these portals, the agent has nominated a list price range for the property. Now, the agent’s goal is to generate as much competition as possible for the home. As such, they tend to be more conservative with their asking price.

In the above example, a home that will easily achieve $2.3 million on the market may well be captured by an “up to $2 million” search.

Do this too often and you’ll soon burn out and lose focus, frustrated by researching homes you realistically have no possibility of buying.

My hack solution is to simply be aware of the market and able to identify a listing that is likely to be above your budget.

Of course, all this time and money wasting can be avoided by utilising the skills of a buyers’ agent. We can see past the white noise and help identify genuine purchasing propositions that will meet your needs.