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Moving on from property grief

07/12/2021

7 ways to bounce back after missing out on property.

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While house-hunting can be an exciting time, it can also be soul-destroying – especially if you fall in love with a property and miss out on it to another buyer.

Maybe you waited too long to place an offer, or you watched as the price at auction inched higher and higher out of your budget. Whatever the reason, missing your chance to make that home your own can come with a real sense of loss and sadness.

And you’re not alone. Studies have shown more than half of Aussie home buyers found the process affected their mental health and wellbeing. So if you’ve lost out on a property, here are some ways to bounce back.

1. Consider taking a break

Missing out on one property can hurt; but when it happens over and over, you can start to feel seriously down. Plus, it can be hard to explain to anyone who hasn’t purchased property and is quick to tell you, ‘It’s just a house’. But when you’ve already imagined putting your furniture in the place and what colour you’d paint the front door, there can be a strange sort of grief in having to start the process all over again.

If you’re finding it all too hard, there’s nothing wrong with walking away, taking a break, reclaiming your weekends and possibly even renting for a while until you feel ready to jump on the property rollercoaster once more.

2. Only search in your budget

It’s all too easy to slide that bar on the property website to a higher price point or even to just over your budget, because obviously properties are far more appealing the higher you go! But this game can easily end in disappointment or tempt you to financially overcommit.

Make a rule that you’ll search for properties only under your budget and factor in a 10-20 percent buffer, so you have some room to move when making an offer or bidding at auction. There’s more chance of success than if you’re right up to the wire with your budget.

3. Calculate the true price guide

Never rely on the price guide the agent gives you. It’s typically based on an estimate derived from recent comparable sales, and in a hot market, that guide can be blown out by an emotional buyer with deep pockets. Instead, do some legwork by finding out the size of the block and calculating an average square metre rate, which experts say is key to working out a property’s true value.

4. Consider different types of properties

The longer you’re in the property search game, the more you’ll start to learn what buyers will pay more for, but here are some hints if you’re only just starting out. Apartments are usually cheaper than houses. Houses on busy roads are usually cheaper than those in the back streets. And as a rule of thumb, freestanding homes are more expensive than semis (which may be connected to the house next door by a shared wall).

Also, new and renovated homes are more likely to sell for more than a dilapidated property. Corner blocks or wide blocks are always more popular too, as are properties with off-street parking. Also think about readjusting your expectations – instead of looking for a forever home, would a next 5-10 years home be more realistic and take some of the pressure off?

5. Look in other areas

Location, location, location… It’s all too easy to get attached to certain suburbs or areas you know and love, but you could be missing out on amazing properties by not looking further afield. When considering how to widen your search, ask the following questions.

Will the location affect resale? What’s the appearance of the area – are there parks, lots of trees, pretty streetscapes? How central is it – is it easy to get to work, schools and shops? What plans are there for development in the area? Plans for new schools, hospitals or better public transport can drive property values up in an area and may affect the desirability of surrounding areas, too.

6. Get your ducks in a row

Going house-hunting before you’ve got your finances locked down is super stressful. Sure, you may find your dream property – but it’s all too easy to lose it because you aren’t entirely sure how much you have to play with, or you can’t secure finance as fast as you’d like. Once you’ve made a decision to buy, go to your lender and seek pre-approval on a home loan.

This is a process where the lender calculates your borrowing capacity, while also taking into account any government grants or concessions you may be entitled to. Then you’ll be given an approximate figure you’re able to borrow, so you can make an offer knowing you have the funds approved to back it up.

7. Seek out professional advice

Yes, seeking out a counsellor may help you if you’re really struggling with the stress and upset of the unpredictable home-buying process. But you might also want to get advice or pay for professional help to take some of the pressure off you.

Befriending agents may be a good way to get some intel on new properties coming onto the market, but you may also want to consider engaging a buyer’s agent who could save you some time and act as a buffer between yourself and the property market (great for anxious and emotional buyers!). They can also help put an accurate value on a property, negotiate with agents and bid for you at auction, but you will have to pay them a fee.

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. Information in this article is current as at the date of publication. We do not recommend any third party products or services and we are not liable in relation to them. Any links to third party websites are for your information only and we do not endorse their content.

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