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Second thoughts for homehunters

Shared ownership expert ALAN BRADLEY offers timely advice as surveys highlight some superfast decisions by buyers and renters

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HOMEHUNTING this weekend? It's an exciting time − and the stakes are high since buying a home is likely to be the biggest investment you'll ever make.

So you will probably be surprised to know that, according to at least one new survey, homebuyers spend an average of just over 25 minutes on viewing a house or apartment before deciding to make an offer.

And it's not just buyers. Renters are equally quick off the mark, it seems. Half of would-be tenants will agree to a lease after less than 20 minutes of viewing, according to another survey highlighted by the same national newspaper, and an amazing 14% will sign up without even seeing the property.

Wow. That's less, we're told, than the 31 minutes that buyers spend on looking over a car before putting down a deposit − and only slightly more than the typical 18 minutes spent on checking out a pair of jeans!

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Those statistics probably say something about today's housing market and the pressure on everyone who is looking for a home at a time when prices keep going up and many ordinary people are feeling the effects of a long-term pay squeeze.

Despite these much-reported problems, the desire to own a home you can call your own remains as strong as ever. Survey after survey says as much and so do the hundreds of average earners who come to us looking for an affordable route onto the property ladder because they're priced out of the open market.

We love to see you at our showhomes, special open days and one-to-one visits organised with our expert sales consultants − and to help you, wherever possible, to make your dream of home ownership come true.

Showing you a lovely new house or apartment in the place where you want to live is the easy part, although watching some of you fall in love with what will become your new home is surely one of the best bits of our job.

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As part of the conversation, we'll highlight the people-friendly room layouts, stylish kitchens and many energy-saving features in every new home we sell − features like great insulation and fuel-efficient boilers that will save you a small fortune in the long run.

Affordability is a key factor for all of our buyers, of course, and that's why we spend time talking through how the part-buy, part-rent deal works and how the share you can buy reflects what you can afford. And we explain how, when you're ready at some time in the future, you can increase the share you own.

It's a lot of information to take in and that's why it's often a good idea to go away, think about it and come back again if you want to. We encourage all of you to do your own research, to ask questions − lots of questions − and to take a sensible amount of time when it comes to what, for many of you, will be a life-changer as well as a really major investment.

We want you, the buyer, to be 100% happy and confident in your decision − and to be equally happy and confident living in your new Bromford home. So come and talk to us this weekend or another time that suits you and start the conversation now.

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17 October 2014