How Long Does It Take To Find A House To Buy?

17 August 2015
Is house hunting an expensive and drawn-out process for you? You might not be alone – research reveals exactly how long and costly Australian house hunting actually is.

Home loan affordability, buying a house, getting a mortgage – they’re all issues that are constantly in the news. What gets less publicity is just how long it can take to find a property to buy in the first place! New research conducted by UBank reveals that the search for your dream home is taking more than six months on average and costing $580 in expenses before an offer is even made. That’s a lot of weekends and a lot of petrol.

According to the UBank research, a whopping 36% of SA residents spend over 6 months looking at properties, while 9% of them spend over two years looking at properties. That’s not so much a mission as a habit! 14% of VIC residents spend 7-12 months looking at properties and one-third of Queenslanders spend 4-6 months on their property search.

House hunting costs around the country

Then there’s the cost of the hunt: UBank found that almost half (45%) of NSW residents spend over $500 when looking for a property and 18% of QLD residents spend between $500-$999 when looking for a property. The other states came in slightly cheaper, as follows:

  • 41% of SA residents spend under $300 when looking for a property
  • 41% of WA residents spend under $300 when looking for a property
  • 45% of NSW residents spend over $500 when looking for a property
  • 18% of QLD residents spend between $500-$999 when looking for a property
  • 16% of VIC residents spend between $300-$499 when looking for a property

Why does the house hunting search taking so long?

The cost of buying property is undoubtedly a factor in the length of time that it takes to buy, but organisational skills may have something to do with it as well.

Several key figures in the Buyer’s Agent industry have agreed that home buyers need to be organised and clarify what they’re looking for before jumping onto the property ladder.

Their comments come in the wake of a survey by St George Bank which revealed that just over 62% of respondents claimed they do not have a strategy in place when attending an auction. Real Estate Buyer’s Agents Association of Australia (REBAA) president Jacque Parker and winner of the 2014 REINSW State Awards for Excellence (Buyer’s Agent of the Year) said buyers needed to consider not only their buying strategy but also their exit strategy and consider how ‘saleable’ the property is.

“Treat buying property like the assignment it needs to be,” said Ms Parker. “Set your goals, ensure they are realistic, decide on a target date, formulate a schedule, employ a strategy and stick to the plan.

“When you’re spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, do your homework to get the job done correctly and thoroughly.”

Karen Young from Property Zest and winner of the 2015 REIQ Awards for Excellence (Buyer’s Agent of the Year) said buyers should write down and prioritise their criteria.

“Write down what you want then prioritise it into ‘must have’, ‘nice to have’ and ‘must not have’. “Many people jump straight in, looking at property online and going to inspections without really thinking through what it is they are trying to achieve out of a property. You need to clarify your goals before you can decide what it is you should be looking for.”

Ubank’s UrHome: An app to help

To help the undecided, overwhelmed or simply time-poor buyer, UBank has launched a brand new, free app. The UrHome App, is available on iOS and Android devices and can help home buyers to:

Search almost any home in Australia: You can search for almost any property in Australia that was sold in the last 10 years, and gain insights into the size, location, pictures, estimated stamp duty and an estimated value.

Personalise your list: You can add notes and take your own photos to customise your list and take it to the next level. This is something no other app in the market offers.

Compare & Select: You can compare and select different properties to easily evaluate them side by side.

Factor in Renovations: The UrHome App also allows you to estimate the cost of a renovation on a property at a low, high and mid spec. For example, if you’re looking at a home and you know you need to renovate the bathroom to a high spec, it will tell you the cost will be approximately $20,000, so you can build that into your overall budget.

One-Click Home Loan Enquiry: By using the information you’ve already entered into the app, you can click to proceed when you’re ready to both speed up and simplify the process.

One final word – make sure you don’t overextend yourself. Try our home loan calculator to help you work out how much you could comfortably borrow. And compare home loans here.

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