Overcoming Real Estate Buying Jitters - November 2020
November 13, 2020 / Written by Rich Harvey
If I’ve seen it once, I’ve seen it a million times – a prospective buyer who has all of their ducks in a row, has dotted every I and crossed every T, and is presented with an excellent new home… only to balk at the last minute.
Sometimes it’s a case of nerves, especially if they’re buying for the first time. Often, it’s a heavy dose of self-doubt and second-guessing, wondering if this really is the best opportunity. It could just be fatigue and uncertainty.
But provided the person has done their homework and due diligence and surrounding themselves with a good team of advisers and experts, it’s rarely an instance of good gut instinct. In those cases, it’s pure, raw emotion holding people back.
And it could cost them a stellar opportunity that might not present itself again.
When faced with a conflict, it’s often important to go back to the beginning. Ask yourself… what got you to this point in the first place?
Feeling unsure? Reflect on why you’re in the market.
It might be that this is your very first home. After years of scrimping, saving, belt-tightening, planning and dreaming, you’re finally here. You’re ready to take your first step on the property ladder and get into a place of your very own.
Or perhaps you’ve bought before and you’re in the market to upgrade. Maybe your tastes have changed, or your income has grown. Maybe you’ve gotten married and had a kid or two, or they’re on the way, and you want some extra space and a yard.
It could be that you’re an empty nester, keen to trade the sprawling family home for something a bit smaller, more low-maintenance or in a lifestyle location.
Whatever your circumstances, the decision to buy is a big one. But it should also be exciting. You’re about to embark on a new journey in a new home, creating a whole bunch of special memories with your friends and family.
It’s not just a dwelling or a place to rest your head each day. It’s your space. It’s the place you and your loved ones can come back to and feel instantly comfortable and content.
Don’t lose sight of that. Yes, buying is high stakes and can be stressful. But at the end of this process is the start of something magical. Hold on to that.
So, you know why you’re here and why it’s important. It’s time to figure out what’s holding you back.
Right now, the most common fear is probably the unsettling state of the world.
We’re in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic, with economic and social consequences that are pretty big and fairly scary. It’s understandable that you might be a little nervous about doing much of anything in the current climate.
Take a step back and breathe. Look at the economy. That recession, the first we’ve had in three decades, is already easing just months after it was called, economists say. Unemployment is stable and even trending downwards in some sectors and demographics. Stimulus and government programs are helping to insulate the economy.
And from a property perspective, the slip in median prices in most areas has been modest at best. In some locations, prices are even on the up.
Another common fear, pandemic or not, is paying too much. Would-be buyers fear that they’ll become emotionally attached to a property and fork out more than they can afford to make it theirs. This is especially a risk at auctions, when things can move fast, and cool heads don’t always prevail.
Paying too much can also occur when someone is unsure of specific market forces or isn’t familiar with an area. Fear of missing out can be potent and lead to rash decisions.
And the opposite is true. Some prospective buyers are so devoted to research that they over analyse absolutely every variable and become struck by ‘analysis paralysis’. They simply can’t make a decision because they’re overwhelmed by all of the information they’ve consumed.
Similarly, some people get hung up on finding the absolute perfect property with everything they want and need. Unless you can print money, chances are you’re going to have to compromise at some point. Preparing for that is important.
So too is mapping out what you want in a home and where your true priorities lie. What can’t you budge on? What things can you sacrifice now? Are there improvements you can make later?
And finally, the other common fear is of the process itself. Some clients I’ve worked with have a pathological unease around sales agents. They feel like they’re being gamed or that they’re the one in the room who doesn’t know something important. Maybe they’re had a bad experience or know someone who has. Or they’ve just seen a lot of movies and TV shows where realtors are the baddies.
On this note, many would-be buyers hate the idea of auctions. I’ve met some clients who absolutely refuse to consider a property that’s going under the hammer because the thought of being in that pressure cooker of a situation is too stressful.
What if I told you there was a way of eliminating most of those fears and make yourself more comfortable with taking this big and exciting move?
A buyers' agent is your advocate. They’re in your corner every step of the way, from figuring out what you’re looking for and what’s important to you, to going out and finding it – including uncovering the diamonds in the rough that others miss – and then making it yours.
They handle the search process, sourcing potential deals that meet your wants and needs, both now and into the future. They tap into their networks and mine their contacts to get off-market opportunities that never make it to the open market. They sort through the duds, discarding properties that don’t stack up from a value perspective, to bring you the gold.
They answer any questions you have about the area, its future trajectory, how the dwelling fits in with demographic demands and trends down the track, and a property’s pros and cons, so you can make the most informed decision.
And then they negotiate on your behalf. You don’t have to worry about the back-and-forth with a sales agent or the mind games and tricks of the trade. You don’t have to chase or wait anxiously. The buyer’s agent takes care of that entire process.
They help remove the emotion from the scenario, which is one of the big risk factors in overpaying.
A buyers' agent does it all for you, with you, so that you don’t have to. It saves you time, uncertainty, angst and fear.
And you can play your part in reducing the stress and angst of the entire buying process too.
Be prepared. Get all of the relevant documentation for your finance application together nice and early. Consider using the services of a mortgage broker or applying for pre-approval so you remove one more layer of uncertainty.
Get to know how real estate works. Examine what makes a property a safer bet, from its value resilient elements to its blue-chip appeal. Familiarise yourself with market trends and movements, focusing on the long-term pattern of growth.
Ask lots of questions of those you encounter along the way, for sure, but back up the answers you get with your own research. The more you know about things, the less scary they tend to be.
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