Are you suffering from analysis paralysis?

Are you suffering from analysis paralysis?
Are you suffering from analysis paralysis?

Guest observation

As a buyer's agent, when talking to potential clients, we engage in a series of qualifying questions to ensure that we aren't wasting time by taking on buyers who are unrealistic or unprepared.

Though some buyers may believe they're ready and committed to purchase, this can be far from the truth. As part of our initial interview, one of our questions is: "How long have you been searching?"

If the response is more than 12 months, the warning bell sounds and I dig a little deeper. In most cases, buyers have been looking "on and off" over a period a time, or their definition of "looking" has only been restricted to surfing Domain and RealEstate.com.au - hardly definitive research to build up knowledge of an area and its values.

At least wearing out some shoe leather to attend opens and auctions is a start and a necessary part of any serious property search.

However, every now and then a buyer who has been searching for a longer period of time approaches us, hoping that we can find something that they haven't been able to. Unfortunately, some buyers simply cannot make a decision as the "ideal property" is an unrealistic utopia, especially for those buyers on limited budgets or searching in restricted areas.

We call this analysis paralysis. 

It can be a very frustrating process if you are inflexible or unrealistic, unwilling to make simple modifications or allowances for the perfect home.

Most of us enjoy putting our own "stamp" on our home, no matter how small, so it's important to remain open when searching, and view alternative possibilities as well as striving for perfection.

Investors can also suffer from analysis paralysis, as they can become so caught up in pinpointing the "perfect location" that they can let buying opportunities pass them by.  While it's fine to concentrate on criteria such as minimum rental yield, proximity to preferred amenities and position of property, the age-old goal of buying a property in a suburb with potential for great capital growth is certainly something all of us, as investors, strive for.

However, none of us have a crystal ball and while it’s fine to draw educated conclusions on factors including historical growth, demand and supply figures for a particular area and infrastructure and development updates, there is no such thing as a guaranteed return when it comes to property.

We all know this. Investors who are smart enough to understand this, and yet are still willing to take risks, eventually make a buying decision, secure in the knowledge that there is no one perfect suburb or type of residential investment.

Buying well entails research, but overanalysis results in confusion and indecision.

I often suggest to buyers, when embarking on a purchase for the first time, to write two shortlists.

One with a list of six "essentials" and another with six "preferables".  Ensure that your budget is sufficient for the essentials list before you embark on a search, and maintain a checklist of the first five to 10 properties you inspect, to verify that you are indeed on the road to reality.

Buying property shouldn’t be without its challenges, but the search for that perfect property needs to involve compromise, no matter what the budget. 

Jacque Parker is director of House Search Australia and the president of the Real Estate Buyers Agents Association of Australia (REBAA).

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Investor Tips Buyer's Agents

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