25-Oct-2021 • Home Buying

Over half of Australian house hunters spend the same amount of time inspecting a property as they do bingeing Netflix for an hour, according to new research by ME.

The survey of 1,000 property owners revealed that once they found their property, 55% spent less than 60 minutes checking out the property they eventually purchased, despite being one of the biggest purchases of their lifetime.

Not surprising, COVID-19 reduced that time even further for buyers who made a purchase during the pandemic. Among this group, 65% said, ‘real estate restrictions impacted their ability to inspect and purchase their property’.

Infact, an astonishing 45% of buyers restricted by lockdowns admitted to doorknocking vendors to ask for an inspection on the sly, combined with looking at photos and/or videos of the property.

The lack of inspection time led to around 61% of Australian home buyers discovering issues with their property after moving in.

Around 40% of this group said they missed picking these up issues because they ‘lacked the skill or experience in inspecting the property’ while 33% simply ‘fell in love with the property and overlooked them’, and 18% were ‘impatient and concerned by rising prices’.

Overall, the top post-purchase problems included construction quality, paintwork, gardens and fences, and fittings and chattels.

Among owners who identified issues:

  • 84% spent money fixing, replacing or improving the issues identified, or have plans to do so.
  • 58% would have paid less for the property had they discovered the problems earlier.
  • 34% experienced a degree of ‘buyers regret’ following the purchase.

ME General Manager, John Powell said emotions are always involved when purchasing a home, which can cloud your judgement.

“Give weight to any niggling hunches that give you cause for concern and get a professional property inspector to do the looking for you.

“It is also important to know your borrowing capacity in advance so you can buy your home with full confidence knowing you’ve got solid financial backing.”

According to ME’s survey, around a third of property buyers failed to arrange a professional building and pest inspection.

Despite reservations, a large proportion of those who identified issues still reported they were happy with their decision. An overwhelming 94% said it was still worth buying the property despite the problems they discovered.

Top post-purchase problems identified among property owners:

Construction quality 32%
Paintwork 28%
Garden and fences 23%
Fittings and chattels 21%
Neighbours 17%
Services - hot water, heating/cooling etc 15%
Noise or lighting 14%
Illegal building work 10%
General floor plan 7%
Valuation 6%
Location 6%
Zoning or title 4%


Editor notes: ME’s survey was completed by a nationally representative sample of 1,000 property owners in September 2021.

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