Half of people who bought a home during the coronavirus pandemic regret how much they paid, according to a survey.
Some 94% of people who had purchased a home since March 2020 said they had felt under pressure to buy quickly, typically taking just 46 minutes to view their property, Aviva found.
Around nine in 10 (92%) pandemic buyers had found problems with their home that they had not noticed during the viewing.
The insurer interviewed 2,200 UK home owners as part of its “how we live” research, including 500 who had agreed a purchase between March 2020 and June 2021.
Some 50% of people who had agreed a purchase during the pandemic said they now regret the price they agreed to.
This compared with just one in eight (12%) of home buyers who had bought their home before early 2017.
Nearly a quarter (23%) of those who bought between March 2020 and June 2021 said they agreed a figure over the asking price. This compared with just 8% of those who had done so in the year before March 2020.
Much of the housing market was effectively shut down early on in the pandemic, resulting in surges of buyer interest as it reopened and people looked to make lifestyle changes, perhaps by moving to a more rural area or finding a property suitable for home working.
House prices have hit a string of new record highs in recent months.
A temporary stamp duty holiday, introduced last year, also helped to boost demand. The holiday is now being tapered before reverting to normal levels this autumn.
A third (34%) of people buying during the pandemic said they were spurred on by the stamp duty holiday and 32% did not want to miss out on homes selling fast. A similar number (30%) said they had lost out on other properties because they had not made an offer quickly enough.
Owen Morris, managing director, personal lines, Aviva said: “Our research reveals many people are finding problems with their properties only when it’s too late.
“These range from more minor irritations, such as the need to decorate, to more worrying problems such as crumbling brickwork or a risk of flooding.
“It can be easy to fall in love with a home on first viewing, but we’d urge people to do their homework and proceed with caution when making one of the biggest financial decisions of their lives.”
Aviva has some home viewing tips:
– Video viewings are convenient but do not always give the full picture, such as traffic levels or even any unpleasant smells. Viewing in person allows you to see any smaller details that you might not spot via video.
– Look for problems outside the property as well as in, such as Japanese knotweed, cracked garden walls and chimney problems. Take binoculars to check from ground level for signs of any damp, leans or bulges, or small plants growing around chimney stacks. If the property has a flat roof, look for any standing water, lifting or cracked joins or signs of vegetation growth.
– Inside the property, the joists supporting the timber floors can become damp and rotten in older homes. Look out for: springiness in the floor, a damp, musty smell or dampness on the wall.
– Be sure to ask whether the property is in a flood risk area and whether it has flooded before. You can find out if the property is at risk of flooding by using online Government flood risk checkers.
A separate survey of more than 2,000 people from GoCompare Home Insurance meanwhile found the top 20 turn-offs that would put people off buying a property. Ranked in order from the issues people saw as the most problematic, they were:
1. No garden
2. Damp patches, stained walls/ceilings
3. Bad smells
4. No parking
5. Rubbish strewn in a neighbouring garden
6. Property in poor state of repair
7. Property in a broadband black spot
8. Outdated electrics
9. Close proximity to a major road or motorway
10. A dilapidated neighbouring property
11. Property not connected to mains gas
12. Unfinished building work
13. Poor natural light/dark rooms
14. Small rooms
15. Poor mobile phone signal
16. Proximity to railway tracks
17. Neighbouring property is a student let
18. Old boiler or central heating system
19. Small kitchen
20. Dirty house