Buying a home: why your heart shouldn't rule your head

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

Making a hasty decision to buy an impractical property that you love can lead to regret further down the line.

Most of us who have fallen in love remember how it felt when we first met the person of our dreams. Hearts tend to beat that little bit faster, we view the world through rose tinted spectacles and as a rule, don't focus or even notice the other person's faults - until much later.

This is pretty much what happens when we find what we think is the perfect home. Important things get overlooked, mainly because we fall in love with the idea of owning the property and fail to notice those little niggles that will probably end up driving us round the bend. The same can be said for buying a home we can't really afford. People often try and convince themselves that they will be able to manage financially when they find a home that in all honesty, they simply can't afford. Budget cuts are planned and although these may look great on paper, unfortunately, the harsh reality of changing your life in order to be able to afford the perfect home can and probably will sour any love affair that you had with the property.

These days it's also not always advisable to buy the biggest home possible, even if you can afford it. Costs have soared over the past couple of years and heating or keeping a larger home cool during the summer months could end up costing a small fortune.

It's also advisable to consider your personal circumstances and buy accordingly. If you're not that in to gardening, don't buy a home set on a large stand. Everyone knows that where the property is located is vitally important, but buying a home miles away from your work or the nearest school could end up putting a damper on the property romance.

The old adage 'don't judge a book by its cover' is particularly true when it comes to buying the perfect home. Homes that are in need of maintenance often sell at a lower price. The beauty of buying something like this is that you can often, by undertaking a little ‘cosmetic surgery’, turn an unloved, neglected home into an extremely pleasant place to live.

Remember, the ideal home may well not be the grandest, the biggest or the prettiest - it will be the one that suits your family’s needs. With this in mind, it's always a good idea to make a list of exactly what your family requires before you start shopping for a home. If you need two bathrooms, find a home which has two bathrooms and don’t be wooed by the beauty of the rest of the property if it only has one.

Compromises can, of course, be made and while it would be great to have things such as a swimming pool or a lavish entertainment area, these can always be added at a later stage.

Falling in love with the right property for all the right reasons will probably turn into a long term, fulfilling love affair...

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