How to avoid buyer's remorse

Buyer's remorse is a sense of regret after having made a purchase – most often associated with buying expensive items like a car or a house. Buyer’s remorse might kick in from fear of having made the wrong choice, or through guilt over extravagance. Factors that affect it include the amount of money spent, the involvement of the buyer and whether the purchase is compatible with their goals, and positive or negative pointers that confirm whether or not the purchase was a good idea.

The best way to avoid buyer’s remorse is follow the ‘golden guidelines’ – do your homework, look out for key factors, and ensure that you pay fair market value (unless you really want the property and are prepared to pay more, knowing this may affect the value growth in the medium term). Crucially, do not let emotions kick all sense out of the window.

Follow these guidelines for property buying satisfaction

• Is the location right for you? Choosing the right location is a complex decision, and one almost entirely driven by your own needs. Where you want to buy and for how much are the top considerations. Your budget will largely direct which areas and property types you might want to look at.

If it is your first home, the location will depend on whether you have a particular liking or even affinity for an area, but also how accessible your place of work is from the area, especially given the rising traffic. While choice of area depends on your needs, keep your eye on some key attributes here:

• Good transport infrastructure.
Properties appreciate at different levels, and you often find that more affordable areas grow much faster in value simply as the demand for homes there is much higher. You cannot go wrong if you invest in an area that offers a good transport infrastructure (e.g. train, taxi and bus services) and good access to main arterials if you need to travel by car.

• Good schools. Being close to or having relatively easy access to good schools is going to become more important. School belt suburbs such as Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs or Blouberg coast are popular for the schools, as are the Northern Suburbs of Johannesburg.

There are also even estates with their own schools.

• Lifestyle with facilities/amenities. Security is a major issue, and it has become very difficult to walk, cycle or jog at certain times. This has led to the rise in security estates and complexes where people can still enjoy a wonderful outdoor life. Lifestyle is often an added key selling point when the time comes to sell.

• Security. This is a vital consideration. Good areas to buy in are obviously those with low crime rates and where the local community is involved in aspects such as Neighbourhood Watch. This not only contributes to a safer lifestyle, but adds to the demand for and value of property in the area.

• Good capital growth. You will also want to ensure that you are investing where your asset will not only hold its value, but will grow in value as time goes by. More affordable areas often grow in value much faster simply because of demand.

For a second or investment property it is even more vital that you make a good buy, in the right areas, for the right reasons, and have done your homework thoroughly with regard to investment returns and yields.

• Can you afford it? It is all fine and well to say that you should buy close to work, but can you afford to? This then makes transport an important consideration. You could, for example, live in a more affordable area provided it has good transport infrastructure. Always buy in the best possible area you can afford. Unexpected costs are a sure-fire way to bring on remorse, so make sure you are aware of all the associated costs that go along with buying a home.

Having the home inspected will also provide an idea of any repairs that may be needed, so you can budget. Get professional help where you need it.

• Homework. Always to do your homework, deal with a credible estate agent and don’t pay more than fair market value. Make a list of what you are looking for in order to stay focused, visit the property several times, stick to your budget, ask questions about the house, and choose your agent wisely.

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