What to compromise on and what not to when buying

If you are anything like most buyers, you’ll undoubtedly have a wish list for your new home that’s pages long…but few of us have a bottomless pit of money to fund our long wish list and we’re therefore forced to make some compromises when buying.

Time to compromise
  • 31 October, 2018
  • RESIDENTIAL
  • Buying, property, real estate

Compromise is necessary in nearly every purchase, so working out features you need and want and removing the nice to have’s is the key to finding a home that ticks nearly all the boxes in an area you’re happy with and for a price you can afford. 

Here’s a look at what you should and shouldn’t compromise on when buying a home.

Potentially compromise on the Location

This is a tricky one – location has a big impact on the long term value of a property and it’s one feature that can never be changed. However, if your budget really won’t stretch to a property in your desired location, consider what it is that you like about this area; is it the proximity to parks, good schools, transport, its walkability, the local amenities, the low crime rate or is the architectural style and established trees?  Once you identify what it is you love about the area, you can start to investigate other locations offering similar ‘must-have’ features.  

Another tact here, is rather than dismiss the area altogether, is to investigate which properties in your dream area fall within your budget. You’ll most probably need to compromise on the type of property, its size, condition or all of the above, but if the area is not something you’re willing to compromise on you may find this option is more doable.  It’s also worth looking at the surrounding suburbs as you may find these areas offer the same or similar benefits you are looking for and only a few minutes further away, but for a more achievable price. 

Keep in mind when deciding on where you want to buy, over time you can spend money on renovating, changing or replacing your property, but the location can never be changed.  If it’s in your price range and ticks nine out of 10 boxes for your lifestyle, you want to make sure you get the right property.

Don’t compromise on major building issues

Buying a property with serious building issues such as major structural faults or leaking should be a no-no for the average buyer.  Even if the property seems like a good price, fixing these issues can cost a fortune and outweigh the bargain nature of the deal. 

Of course, if you’re prepared to spend time and money fixing the issues, or are looking to knock the property down, the deal might be worth it.  

Don’t compromise on your budget 

If you’re serious about your home hunt, you most probably have a clear view from the bank as to how much they are prepared to lend you. This is a good starting point. Knowing your true budget is important but it is even more important to stick to it.  Overstretching yourself even if it means buying your dream home can add a layer of financial stress that can be stifling. 

Do compromise on extra rooms

In terms of size, you’ll find that properties with more bedrooms cost more.  This is an area you can compromise on.  Consider if you really need the extra bedroom for guests…do you really want your mother in law coming to stay all the time!  Again, if you need a study, perhaps you could place a desk in a corner for the short term. Over time you may be able to modify the floor plan or extend on the property to get the space you want.  

Do compromise on parking 

Parking is another property feature that can add zeros to the price tag, especially if you live close to the city.  If you’re prepared to live where you want to but have to hunt around for a street park then compromising on a garage can save you some money. 

Do compromise on a modifiable floor plan

Not all floor plans suit everyone, so when buying a property, carefully review the floor plan and determine if it fits your minimum criteria in terms of rooms and perhaps talk to an architect to see if there is scope to modify the existing floor plan down the track.  Keep in mind you may not be able to afford the modifications immediately, however over time you may be able to reconfigure the property to suit you. 

Don’t compromise on the commute

Work out how long you are prepared to commute to and from work and stick as close to this as possible. 

Commute time doesn’t grow on people.  If you’re one of those people who hates the idea of a long commute to work each day, then buying a home miles away from where you need to be, may not be something you should consider. In most cases you’ll grow to hate the commute rather than learn to love it.  

However, if you don’t mind commuting, and like the idea of having more space and a quieter home away from the hustle and bustle of work, then buying a property further away with a long commute might just be your best decision.  The message here is to stay true to how long you’re prepared to sit in traffic each day. 

By prioritising what you really need, what can be improved later and what isn’t necessary at all, you may be surprised at how many ideal properties fall into your budget. 

LJ Hooker NZ

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