My family thinks it’s a mistake to buy a house

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

Most home buyers second guess their decision at some point, but those misgivings can be made worse if their family doesn’t support the decision.

There’s no two ways about it – there are myriad reasons why buying a home is stressful.

Most buyers second guess their decision at some point. This is understandable, because a large sum of money is about to be invested in something they are going to have to live with for the foreseeable future. Questioning your own decisions is one thing, but when family members intervene and start querying your choice of home or the amount you are paying, it can cause havoc.

We recently received an email from a first-time buyer who had all but decided to cancel the deal simply because his family had misgivings. He had done his homework and bought a home at a very good price, but was beside himself with worry because his parents had, to put it plainly, hit the roof when he told them about the purchase.

Our friends and family generally have our best interests at heart, but this doesn’t mean they don’t worry. Basically, in the above scenario the parents’ angst was linked to the fact that they themselves had never owned their own home and they were fearful of the unknown. They had heard all sorts of horror stories (mostly urban legends) about owning property and honestly thought their boy was putting himself in financial danger.

This may be extreme, but it’s very common for friends and family to influence a buying decision in one way or another. And that’s fine, as long as you don’t allow others to trample over your ideas and ultimately take charge of the purchase. After all, you’re going to be the one paying for the home and you’re going to be the one living there. The bottom line is that the final decision rests with you.

Different people have different ideas, but unless they buy and sell property frequently, their opinions can’t necessarily be trusted 100 percent. The key to buying the right home lies with the experts, not someone who last bought a property 10 or 15 years ago. Remember the market changes all the time, prices have gone up and what once was considered a highly desirable area may have lost some of its shine in the intervening years. Likewise those who have had a property repossessed or lost money on a deal may be totally biased and are probably going to react negatively to the news that you are a soon-to-be proud homeowner.

We are not suggesting that you don’t look for reassurance when buying a home – you’re human and nobody likes making mistakes, but what we do recommend is weighing up any advice received before acting on it.

You need to deal with the concerns and criticisms and make an informed choice about what and where you want to buy. Do your own research, look at how property values have risen in the area over the last five years, thoroughly investigate the average selling price in the neighbourhood in which the property is situated and make a considered decision based on all the facts.

As far as finances go, explain to those who are concerned that it’s highly unlikely the banks will offer to finance a home they know you cannot afford. Again, don’t take financial advice from anyone who is not an expert – after all, you know your budget, you know your lifestyle and you and only you know what you can realistically afford.

The same goes for your choice of home. Your parents and family don’t have to like what you buy because they’re not going to be living there. You and your partner/wife have to agree, but realistically that’s where it stops. Take any criticism with a pinch of salt, and if you like what you see, if the home suits your needs and is priced within your means, go ahead and seal the deal.

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