A new survey says that most house-hunters only take 27 minutes to make a decision to buy a pad – a third less time than they would do choosing a sofa. How long did it take you to decide to buy your home?
But according to a new survey by property website Zoopla, most house-hunters make a decision on buying a home within just 27 minutes of walking through the door.
That isn’t a long time to mull over a purchase likely to cost hundreds of thousands of pounds. Still, I can’t say I’m surprised by Zoopla’s findings.
My property viewing experience
When I was looking to buy a shared ownership property last year, I went to view a couple of one-bedroom flats, and was determined to practice what our experts preach by taking my time.
Armed with the free Which? property-viewing checklist downloaded on my smartphone, I tested all of the taps and gas hobs. I examined every wall for signs of damp and kept an eye out for faults potentially hidden by furniture.
Each time, the property’s owners told me I was the only person to bother being so thorough, but I was still done in less than half an hour.
I also had a nose around the local neighbourhood, but with so many residents having already declared their interest, I didn’t have the time to check what it was like at night.
On both occasions, I put in an offer, but both were sold to someone else. Who knows? Maybe it was for the best? Maybe the lucky buyers have since shelled out thousands to fix a problem I didn’t spot.
A seller’s market
Most estate agents can afford to pressure buyers into a decision, knowing that if one customer won’t make an offer, someone else will.
Which? Conversation editor Lauren admits that the speed of the market played a big role in the amount of time she spent viewing a property:
“When I was house-hunting last year, I saw a property that had 28 offers on the table after less than 48 hours on the market.
“I was given about 10 minutes to view the property before being pushed by the estate agent to make an offer.’
Our mortgages and property expert Marie had a similarly speedy viewing experience when she bought her new-build flat last year:
“I only looked at new-build homes, so there’s less that actually needs checking, especially when it’s an off-plan property, which is what I bought.
‘All I saw was a show home. It’s going to be hard to spend a long time looking at these and you can’t check stuff works when it’s not there yet. I arranged a snagging survey, which would have picked up any faults before I moved in.’
The speediness of these life-changing decisions could partly be down to the advent of online property adverts. The average house-hunter was found to have spent around 75 hours searching for properties, including visits to online portals and estate agents.
Nevertheless, we’d urge all homebuyers to at least complete all the checks featured in our property-viewing checklist, as well as investigate the surrounding neighbourhood.
How long did it take you to make a decision to buy a property? Is there anything else you’d spend six figures on so spontaneously?