Oh No, What Have I Done?

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

You’ve used your head. You’ve done thorough research, sourced a bond and are on the verge of moving into your new home. It should be the one of the happiest days of your life, but more often than not, the realisation that you have invested in a property that your subconscious tells you you can’t afford, stirs up feelings of absolute terror. Take some solace – you are not alone and most if not all people who invest in property share similar feelings at some stage or another.

The saying viewing the world though rose-tinted spectacles takes on a whole new meaning for those viewing property. Many experienced buyers will tell you that certain aspects of the property are not noticed, until it is too late. It seems that the excitement of the moment, while not clouding the seriousness of the transaction, can get in the way of logical thought.

Anyone who has ever built a home will tell you that their hearts virtually stop when they see the property’s foundations. One of the first thoughts that enters their minds is that there is absolutely no way that the property is going to be big enough. Of course, once the walls are up and the size of the rooms can be clearly seen, it quickly becomes apparent that all is well.

Those investing in existing properties are faced with different, but no less worrying thoughts. Many get cold feet once they have stopped and thought about the ramification of the decision they have just made and although for some the financial aspects may be the biggest concern, this often isn’t the only worry.

Let’s face it, viewing property can become confusing. Buyers, particularly those who are desperate to buy, view a lot of homes with many different features. Buying property is seldom a snap decision, but those who need to buy a home in a certain area within a certain time may overlook and even forgive the odd fault – until the deal is done and there is no turning back.

Suddenly, the smallest problems become major issues. Concerns as to whether your furniture is going to fit, or whether there is place to plumb the washing machine crowd the mind. Relax this is normal. Buyer’s remorse is part of buying a property, regardless of how big or small the purchase, but the phenomenon is more common when buying a house, simply because of the size of the investment.

Problems tend to rear their heads shortly after the sale’s contract has been signed. Buyers often have second thoughts, frequently asking themselves questions like: did I pay too much? Is there something better out there and can I really afford this? Friends and family often don’t help the situation and often sow a few seeds of discontent. Parents, in particular, who bought their property during the Rinderpest have a slightly distorted view of the market and may feel that their children have paid too much for a property.

Generally speaking, all doubts fade when those who have been second-guessing themselves actually move into their new home. Humans adapt and markets evolve, usually for the better. Buying a home is not cast in stone. In the unlikely event that you really have invested in something totally unsuitable, at some stage you will be able to move on to bigger and better things.

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