Whether you’re a first time buyer or already on the property ladder, most of us have to make compromises when searching for our dream home. But how far should we go – and what aspects are we happy to sacrifice?
As someone who works in the home moving sector as a mortgage adviser I’m not immune to the effects of compromise. When I bought my first property seven years ago I had to make concessions on the outside space, but in return got a decent property in a good area, with an easy commute in to work.
The second time around, my priorities had changed. I had children and outside space was crucial, as was proximity to good schools and living in a good area. We looked at properties in areas that were outside of our price range and eventually found the perfect property; the compromise this time was the fact it needed a lot of work.
Is there ever a ‘right’ house?
Recently Which? Mortgage Advisers conducted a survey looking at compromise. We asked people who had bought a house in the past five years if they had made any compromises on the property they bought, and if so, what aspects they had sacrificed. We found that seven in 10 people had made some form of compromise on their property purchase.
Compromise, no matter how big or how small, is an inevitable part of any house search. Interestingly the research found that the level of compromise between first-time buyers and those who’d bought a property before was also almost identical, at 69% and 68% respectively. In short, the perfect house that has everything you ever wanted doesn’t exist, at least not for most people.
Being able to compromise in a market where across the board house prices are rising is essential. It’s important to put compromise into perspective. It doesn’t mean giving up on a dream or settling for second best, it’s all about being flexible and realistic with your budget. For buyers who aren’t willing to compromise and instead hold out until the right property comes to market, they may find that the right property will never exist and they could be squeezed out of the market.
What we are willing to compromise on
The survey revealed that 90% of homebuyers weren’t willing to budge on local crime levels, and almost the same percentage (86%) weren’t willing to compromise on the number of bedrooms or the property’s proximity to schools.
Conversely, three in 10 people were willing to make concessions on the overall condition of the property, and a quarter were willing to compromise on its location, general layout and whether it had a garden or outside space.
Are you happy with your compromises?
Buying a home and imagining your life in that environment is an emotional experience and while many of us are resistant to compromise the research found that 89% were ultimately satisfied with the compromise they made.
While there is no such thing as the perfect property, there is such a thing as the perfect home – amazingly only 3% of those surveyed said they were dissatisfied with the compromise they made.
Compromise isn’t about settling for second best, it’s about looking at the bigger picture and being realistic about what you can afford in the market you’re looking in. The compromise I made on my second property meant we’ve had to put a lot of effort in renovating the house to the standards we wanted. By compromising we’ve been able to get everything we wanted and while it took a little longer we’ve been able to turn our house into our dream home.
What kind of compromises have you made when house hunting? Are you happy with the compromises you made or would you do things differently next time around?