Recent research has revealed that property viewers take, on average, 27 minutes to decide whether to buy a property.
However, Linda Jeffcoat, from property search and acquisition experts,Stacks, had this to say: “While it may be accurate, this is a misleading figure. The time that has been invested in order to make that decision is considerable.
For buyers to find themselves in a strong decision-making position, our estimate is that they will have spent at least 80 hours, building up their knowledge and expertise.
A typical breakdown is:
10 hours – Conducting extensive online research
3 hours – Speaking to estate agents
15 hours – Driving around the country with kids and dogs, spending time in good and bad pubs, viewing the neighbours and the neighbourhood, generally familiarising yourself with the lie of the land
40 hours – Viewing 20 houses (the minimum we would recommend to place a buyer in a strong decision-making position)
16 hours – Sleepless nights (an inevitable part of house-hunting)
Total: 84 hours
Linda continues: “Some buyers will spend a great deal longer. The Internet is unquestionably responsible for a great deal of wasted time. One of the greatest dangers of portal-perving is that buyers tend to spend too long on the computer, and not enough time on the road. Property simply isn’t a ‘virtual’ commodity. The impression you get from pictures and descriptions may vary dramatically from the real thing. So by all means start your search on the internet, but get on the phone, talk to the agents, and go and see as much property as you possibly can.
Buyers relying on the internet should also realise that the portals are way behind the market. Before you get an e-mail alert, you’re behind the field. Buying agents will have seen the property, as will the proactive buyers who haven’t relied on the portals for their intelligence. And some properties won’t ever find their way onto the portals at all, their buyers preferring to keep a low profile and only show their properties to selected buyers.
There are many advantages to the portals. Some will tell you how long the property’s been on the market, some will tell you whether the price has been reduced, and there’s plenty of historical information and comparisons that you can delve into that will help you build up a picture of the local market. You can also establish which estate agents operate in a particular area.
But remember, portal research is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to property search. It doesn’t replace traditional methods, and if you’re serious about buying, you will need to have good relationships with all the agents in the area. Or by using a search agent you can be sure you won’t miss anything, and you’ll also get to hear about property before it comes onto the market, or property that is never advertised in the press or on the portals.
So if you’re serious about buying, get off the computer, onto the phone and into the car. Finding and buying is rarely a speedy process, but real time research will pay dividends