If no two people are the same and no two properties are the same, how do you find the perfect home?
If you are buying with a spouse, partner or friend agreeing on what you are looking for can be a challenge.
Prioritising property wants and needs
When it comes to narrowing down the features you are looking for in a property, National Property Buyers Victorian State Manager Antony Bucello, says prioritising and comprising are key.
“We ask our clients to prioritise the ‘must-haves’ and the ‘nice-to-haves’ in order to understand their property needs,” Bucello says.
Bucello says buyers need to ask themselves some hard questions. What are your property non-negotiables? What about the size, quality and location of the property?
While buyers are sometimes unwilling to sacrifice anything at the beginning of a property search, Bucello says they often become more willing to compromise once the reality sinks in about what can be bought for their budget in their preferred location.
“It’s a process,“ Bucello says. “There’s always some sort of compromise unless you have an unlimited budget.”
“Prioritise your non-negotiables and think about the future,” Bucello says. “Position is important but it’s also important to get into the market if you are a first-time buyer.”
A property reality check
Veronica Morgan, principal of Good Deeds Property Buyers, says there is a lot of psychology behind property buying, particularly as a couple. However, she believes a reality check is important.
“You have to be really real about what you can afford in the area you want to be in,” Morgan says. “The quicker you do that, the quicker you buy something”.
Morgan says there are three key things to assess in any property search: Budget, property and location.
Buyers should ask themselves if the budget is big enough. And if the budget doesn’t stretch far enough and it can’t be increased, what compromise needs to be made?
Common property disagreements
Morgan asks her clients who are couples to write separate briefs. Comparing the results can be interesting.
“Some people are on the same page (with what they want), but some won’t find it in the same house, budget or suburb,” Morgan says.
While many couples agree about key features like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, Morgan says it can be other aspects of the search that cause friction.
Morgan commonly sees couples disagreeing on parking or the level of renovation they’re willing to do.
Morgan says that relationship dynamics and each person’s property wish list often changes when a couple has kids, particularly if one parent is at home for a time. So location can be a huge sticking point. For those at home with small children proximity to parks, shops and cafes can often be important, as is a decent kitchen. But this typically means a compromise on property size.
Antony Bucello says a fight about a location can rear its head in many forms.
“A lot of couples disagree on location,” Bucello says. “One wants to be close to work or the CBD and the other wants a better quality property further out.”
He often sees couples disagreeing about the size of the property and says men are more inclined to buy something with extra land and covet a garage or parking space.
Bucello also says price can be a sticking point with couples – particularly when one half of the couple becomes emotionally attached to a property and may be willing to pay more than it is worth.
The perfect match
“Often one half of the couple does all the legwork and the other one kiboshes it,” Morgan says. “Is their relationship like that at the beginning or does it become like that after house hunting for a while?”
Morgan says one person in the couple can become tired of the search and turn into a saboteur.
“They give lip service to what the other one wants but they will do something every time that means they won’t buy a property.”
Morgan says if you’re in a property stalemate with your other half, engaging a buyer’s agent can provide an objective viewpoint.
“People often get backed into corners so we help them get into the middle again and start on a more even footing,” Morgan says. “Someone actually said to me: ‘You’re like a threesome that’s good for our marriage’”.
Get real and start compromising
Veronica Morgan’s advice to prospective buyers is simple: Stop fighting and face the facts.
“To buy the wrong property has huge consequences,” Morgan says. “Stop fighting – you won’t get anywhere if you’re not agreeing. You need to get on the same page or you buy the wrong property, or one of you is happy and one is miserable.”
Once you take that reality check it’s time to understand that you won’t find a property that ticks off every single feature you may like unless you have a limitless budget.
As Antony Bucello highlights, it’s important to look at the bigger picture.
“There’s usually a compromise, but it’s important to get into the market and start building some equity and some wealth,” Bucello says.
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