Research reveals highs and lows in Australian home search

20 November 2020
  • 9 out of 10 Australians find the process of house hunting frustrating
  • 45 per cent compromise because the search was too tough
  • Almost half experience arguments or tears
  • Two-thirds would do things differently for their next home search

New research reveals that the search for the perfect home can be filled with frustration, stress and tears, with more than half of Australian house hunters also experiencing fights with their partner. 
The Great Australian Home Search survey, commissioned by SHAWOOD, found that 88% of people say the search for a home is frustrating, while only 49% describe their experience as exciting.
The heightened emotions that come hand in hand with the search for a new home can also cause arguments and tears, with 55% admitting to fighting with their partner during their search, and 43% saying they shed tears. 
Looking for a family home appears the most stressful, with more than two-thirds (69%) of parents who have kids under 18 living at home saying their home search caused fights between them and their partner, compared to 46% of those who don’t live with children.
Scott Rudgley, Executive Sales Manager at SHAWOOD, said; “Buying a new home is an adventure, but as the property market has become more competitive the experience has turned from excitement to stress and exhaustion. We can’t change the market, but we can help reduce some of the frustrations in looking for ‘the one’ and offer some insights on how to bring back more of the joy in finding your home.”
With the average home search taking seven months and including seven viewings or auctions, it can be a long and time-consuming process, with 38% of people calling their home search ‘exhausting’.
When it comes to searching for the dream home, people spend an average of four hours each week on their laptops and smartphones doing online research – that’s the estimated equivalent of spending more than 14 working days devoted entirely to online research. Despite all this hard work, 45 per cent settle for something other than their dream home because the search was too tough.
Mr Rudgley added; “We have so much information at our fingertips that we can often get stuck into a never-ending cycle of searching. Instead of helping us, this can often lead to more frustration.
“Our research shows that those who find the house hunt most frustrating actually spend almost double the amount of time doing online research compared to those who don’t find the process frustrating. Sometimes less is more! Try allocating a specific time for your research in front of the computer so you don’t end up down the rabbit hole and it doesn’t get overwhelming.”
Almost half (45%) of Australians say they settled for something other than their ‘perfect’ home, with the most common compromises being:

  1. Location (39%)
  2. Home size (38%)
  3. Price (36%)
  4. Home design (36%)
  5. Finishes/quality (34%)

Mr Rudgley added: “Most people expect to have to make some compromises, but it’s important to really look at the short and long term impact before deciding what to give up in your home search – you may be able to happily settle in your second or third choice suburb, but compromising on something as important as quality could really come back to bite you.”
More than two thirds (69%) of Australians say they would do things differently when searching for a home in the future, with their top tips including:

  1. Set a larger budget to avoid compromising (40%)
  2. Buy a more sustainable or environmentally friendly home (34%)
  3. Find a trusted team - broker, agent, builder (33%)
  4. Being more disciplined about the time dedicated to the search (31%)

Mr Rudgley commented: “There’s a range of favourable conditions and incentives for home buyers in the market right now, which means it’s the right time to purchase for many. Buying a home is a huge milestone and we want to bring back the joy of the journey. That’s why at SHAWOOD, we obsess over every little detail to make it easier for people to be excited and confident that they’ve chosen ‘the one’. It’s about transparency of information, quality construction, sustainability features, and a deeply considered approach to design and liveability that delivers a home with spaces that are both functional and beautiful.
“There are lots of learnings from those who have gone through the experience, but perhaps most important is trusting your instinct, most people say they knew their home was ‘the one’ as soon as they opened the door. That’s a magical feeling and it’s what the home search should be all about.”