More than half of Australians spend less than an hour inspecting a house before they buy it

More than half of Australian homeowners spend more time watching a TV show than they would inspecting the property they buy, according to new research by ME bank.

The survey of 1000 property owners found 58 per cent spent less than 60 minutes checking out the house they then went on to buy and more than a quarter of those people found issues with it after their purchase.

ME head of home loans Patrick Nolan said the results were not surprising because many responded emotionally when it came to making one of the biggest financial decisions of their lifetime.

“Once they got interested and excited for their ‘perfect’ home they focused on how they can get the property instead of stepping back and strategically looking at the future requirements and costs of the house,” Mr Nolan said.

The survey found 36 per cent of people bought a home with rose-coloured glasses because they “fell in love with the property and overlooked problems” while 32 per cent said they “lacked experience and skill in inspecting the property,” and 11 per cent were simply “impatient and tired of looking.”

The biggest post-purchase problems included paintwork, construction quality, gardens, fences, fittings and chattels.

While 92 per cent said they would have gone ahead with the purchase even if they knew about problems with the property, Mr Nolan said if buyers took more time to inspect potential homes they would have the upper hand in negotiating a deal.

“Having that knowledge upfront and getting the property inspected can really empower people. They could use that bargaining power in the negotiation process,” he said.

The survey did ask a mixture of first-home buyers and ‘second steppers’, who own a second or subsequent property, but it unclear when they entered the market which is why the question of rising house prices didn’t resonate with many of the respondents, according Mr Nolan.

But Taj Singh, director and co-founder of First Home Buyers Association said since there was a perception of a cooling market in cities like Sydney he had seen many first-home buyers jump at the chance of owning a property without giving it more thought.

“It’s the fear of missing out especially since the market has cooled – they don’t want to miss out on the opportunity of buying again. They’re probably scarred by what’s happened in the property market previously when they’re outbid by foreign investors and mum and dad investors,” Mr Singh said.

Arch Staver, selling agent at Nelson Alexander in Melbourne said purchasing a house was often an emotional decision rather than a forensic one.

“It’s more of an emotive sensation when you walk through a house, if it feels right, smells right. Those are the things that motivates a buyer. You can delegate a building and pest inspection. As long as you can afford it, it’s in the right location and it’s not going to fall down that should be more than enough,” Mr Staver said.

In our experience if a buyer comes in for a fourth time they’re looking for a reason not to buy it,” he said.

But Singh warned buyers to take their time to investigate all aspects of a home before buying as it could cost tens of thousands of dollars in the end if there was unforeseen structural damage.

Mr Nolan said people should make purchasing decisions with “your head, not your heart”.

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