How to avoid the winter home hunting blues: Step one – stay patient: Mal James

How to avoid the winter home hunting blues: Step one – stay patient: Mal James
How to avoid the winter home hunting blues: Step one – stay patient: Mal James

If you don’t have a lot to look at this weekend, go and choose a really good coffee house (such as Porgie and Mr Jones in Auburn Road, Hawthorn East or Coin Laundry Armadale Street, Armadale or The Little Ox in New Street, Brighton). Do this without the kids, sit down and have a chat and a think.

If you are feeling frustrated, annoyed, scared – well, perhaps “chill” for a moment, as they say.

Buying a home should be a 20-year decision. Even if you have been looking for a year, you are probably less than 5% into that time frame. Unless you’re aged 90 and hoping to get the first-home buyers’ bonus, you have got time.

Right now the market is on the side of those who are considered and patient.

If your frustration is escalating, consider a change of habits. Very few properties are selling on the first day they hit the internet. (Although it’s true that a few are being bought off market or before auction, and for that you need a plan.) But looking at the internet four times a day like a teenager constantly checking her Facebook page will not help your mental state. And your mental state is so important in home hunting.

Try not to be afraid that you’ll never find something. Unless you are a Martian with unique requirements, you will find a home. Right now stock is short for lots of people, but things will improve. Don’t buy crap out of a sense of frustration.

If you are in the wrong head space you can end up making poor decisions – and those poor decisions can affect your whole life.

Review your results

So you’ve been looking all this year. How did you go? Have you bid on anything, were you close or have you not found anything of interest?

Back in 2010, if you hadn’t found anything after looking for six to 12 months, our advice would have been to look at your requirements and see how realistic you were – because in 2010 there was a lot on offer. However this is 2012 and the levels of correctly priced, exciting stock have been considerably lower. So your goals may be reasonable, it’s just there’s little stock choice. Our best advice is try not to make a kneejerk reaction to shift to a different set of goals without considerable thought.

Consider changes

In 2012 we suggest you take a more general overview. That’s code for “don’t be too hard on yourself”. Even if you haven’t found your dream home, think about whether you have seen homes within your price range, type and area that are similar to what you want? If your answer is yes, our advice is don’t change course – be patient. If your answer is no, then it may be time to consider a different suburb, a different type of home or more money. Dare I say it– it may be time to seek professional advice to ascertain your best options.

Reinvigorate your plan

Take the next couple of months to review. When the school holidays have become just a painful memory and we are heading into the footy finals and starting to see the first flush of early spring home releases, that will be the right time to smarten up you act. Spend some time now on getting clear on what you can do, getting motivated on what you want and resting so you are set to go when the stock options improve.

Mal James is principal of James Buyer Advocates, which advocates on behalf of buyers of property over $1 million. Mal writes weekly auction reports, advice and in-depth market analysis on James' website.

Mal James

Mal James

Mal James is principal of James Buyer Advocates, which advocates on behalf of buyers of property over $1 million.

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