How much is your time worth? That’s a key question homebuyer’s need to think about when they start looking for a property.
House hunting for a majority of buyers takes months and sometimes even years for others before making a purchase. For owner occupiers in particular, searching for the perfect home can chew up a lot of time and seem like a lengthy never ending battle at times.
According to a survey released by UBank in August 2015, the average amount of time Australians take to find and buy a home is 6.5 months. 36 per cent of South Australian residents surveyed spent more than six months searching for a house, where 9 per cent spent more than 2 years. In Victoria 14 per cent of homebuyers spend anywhere between 7-12 months hunting for a property, while 33 per cent of Queenslanders can spend up to 6 months looking for a new home.
A striking finding that came out of the survey is that Aussie homebuyers spend 12.4 days just travelling to view homes during their search. That’s 300 hours just in transit!
Six and a half months might not seem too bad to you; buying a house is huge decision and investment after all, and it will take a fair amount of time to find the right one. It’s not until you break down the process that you realise how much work finding and buying a house actually entails.
There’s the searching process where you scour dozens, if not hundreds of property listings online for 15, 20 or 30 minutes at a time, or even hour long search sessions. Speaking to selling agents will also clock up the hours in your search.
It’s not just researching the houses and phone calls with agents, either. Smart committed buyers will also spend time investigating the area and proximity to amenities, as well as recent sales of similar properties to gauge current market value and interest.
Next comes the open for inspections, which usually run for half an hour or so. Smart buyers use every second of the open to thoroughly inspect the property, thinking carefully about how well it meets their needs, and if there are any potential maintenance issues.
Hopefully the property does meet all of your criteria. If it does, congratulations you’ve reached the final stage: taking it off the market!
Putting in an offer-
How you go about securing the property will depend on the type of campaign it’s being sold through. It might be going to auction, private sale or you might need to submit an offer directly to the agent.
Hopefully, all the hard work pays off and you secure the property. But you may not and then you’ll have to start all over again.
How much time is spent on buying a property?
Say you spend an hour, up to 90 minutes or so a day searching through online listings, as well as investigating the area and recent sales. That doesn’t have to be in one chunk, but 15 minutes here and there at work or over lunch, and then at home can all quickly add up. That can accumulate to 7 to 10 hours a week, just for searching. Throw in a couple of inspections and that adds an extra hour.
At a conservative estimation, an hour searching and investigating per day plus two open for inspections is eight hours a week. A whole extra full day’s work.
Now for the maths.
Using the average time of 6.5 months (28 weeks) to find a house, buyers can spend up to 224 hours searching. Plus, another 300 hours spent travelling and you’re up to 524 hours. That’s roughly thirteen 40 hour weeks. It’s a second job. In dollar terms it’s a quarter of a year’s wages, almost $15,000 on the average salary.
How can I save time?
The biggest mistake buyers can make when buying a property is not matching their budget to either the best property or the position, depending on their criteria.
Buyers can consistently lose out on property if they’re pursuing either the wrong area or the wrong property for their budget, and not compromising on one of those factors. You could be looking for a particular property, but may not be able to find something in your first choice of suburb. Or you may want to live in a particular area, but have to rethink the type of property you can secure.
The best thing buyers can do to safe guard their time is to conduct as much research as possible. Have a clear goal in mind, know your budget, and understand the market you want to buy in. Understanding your parameters from the beginning of the search will ensure you target the most realistic opportunities and ensure your search doesn’t drag on. Speak to experts, conduct research, and be clear on what you want to realistically achieve from the outset.
Burning out from exhaustion or wasting too much time due to lack of knowledge or unrealistic expectations is one of the worst things that can happen to buyers. Doing the ground work early will prevent this from happening and aid in a better and quicker purchase result.
Time is worth far more than dollars. Money comes and goes, but you can never turn back the clock.