Buyer’s remorse: More than half of homeowners fail to inspect their property

By Gerv Tacadena

Recent property owners discovered glaring issues with their property after moving in, study shows.

A third of recent Australian homeowners experienced buyer’s remorse after discovering issues in their property while moving in.

A recent survey by ME Bank, which surveyed 1,000 property owners, found that 55% spent less than an hour checking out the property they eventually purchased.

The lockdowns and restrictions amid the pandemic are considered one of the biggest factors why they were not able to inspect the property thoroughly.

Around two in five buyers said while they were able to look at photos and videos of the property, they had to ask vendors, on the sly, to also inspect the home in person.

The study also found that a third of homeowners failed to arrange a professional building and pest inspection.

Related reading: 10 things you need to check during home inspections

The same share of homeowners who skipped inspecting their properties said emotions have taken over their purchase, as they simply "fell in love" and overlooked the issues.

Around one in five, however, said they had been impatient, and would like to get the transaction done and over with before house prices rise.

Common issues with the property

According to the poll, three in five homeowners discovered issues in their property after moving in.

Among these homeowners, close to half admitted missing picking these issues up because they did not have the skill of experience in inspecting the property.

As a result, roughly four in five homeowners who discovered issues spent more fixing, replacing, or improving their properties.

More than half also said they would have paid less for the property had they discovered the problems earlier.

Top post-purchase issues discovered by owners

Concern

Share of homeowners

Construction Quality

32%

Paintwork

28%

Gardens and fences

23%

Fittings and chattels

21%

Neighbours

17%

Services – hot water, heating and cooling

15%

Noise and lighting

14%

Illegal building work

10%

General floor plan

7%

Valuation

6%

Location

6%

Zoning or title

4%

Tips to buyers

ME Bank general manager John Powell said it is crucial for buyers to set aside emotions, which can cloud their judgment during the process.

"Give weight to any niggling hunches that give you cause for concern and get a professional property inspector to do the looking for you," Mr Powell said.

"It is also important to know your borrowing capacity in advance so you can buy your home with full confidence knowing you’ve got solid financial backing."

Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) president Leah Calnan said it is crucial for buyers to have the ability to inspect the property carefully and thoroughly before committing to a purchase.

“It’s indisputable that inspecting homes is a fundamental aspect of property transaction due diligence,” Ms Calnan said in a recent statement, commenting on Victoria’s ban on private inspections amid the pandemic.

“Without it, buyers and renters are flying blind – it’s just unrealistic to expect people to lease or buy a property without seeing it.”

Related reading: What you need to know about virtual inspections

Photo by SHVETS production on Pexels.

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