Buying? Read this!

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

It's easy to get caught up in the house-buying experience, particularly when you are buying your first home. It often seems that buyers go from merely discussing the idea to actively buying a property at breakneck speed. However, keeping your wits about you during the house-hunting process will go a long way to ensuring that you end up with a happy buying decision.

The good news is that the Internet has made things a lot easier for buyers, particularly those who are entering uncharted territory. Most, if not all, potential buyers start to Google properties before they actively start engaging with an estate agent. By doing so, they get an idea as to what types of properties are for sale as well as getting a rough idea of what type of home they will be able to afford. The Internet has become a powerful selling tool and the fact that many listings now feature a virtual tour helps buyers narrow down their search even further before devoting viewing time to unsuitable homes.

Take two weeks

It has been estimated that the average time it takes for a motivated buyer to make the all-important decision is two weeks. But that said, buyers come in all shapes and sizes and some, even those who are desperate to buy, will keep on looking until the right house comes along.

One of the best pieces of advice that we can give you is to find an agent that you are comfortable working with and who listens to your requirements. There is nothing worse than wasting time going to see numerous properties that don’t suit you or your family’s needs and lifestyle. Good agents who listen carefully generally show their clients fewer homes. They understand what you are looking for and only show homes that fit into your criteria.

The second piece of advice involves the number of properties viewed in one day. We all get confused and even though it is advisable to take photographs and notes about each particular property, buyers often lose the plot when visiting too many homes in one go. It is recommended that buyers only view approximately four properties on any given day. If this isn't possible and you know that you are going to be viewing a large number of homes, try to cut back on carbohydrate “padkos” and fizzy drinks – they play havoc with the memory! (You’re welcome.)

Check the location …

Take a long, hard look at the location of the property before you buy. If the home is situated near a major road or highway, try to visit the property at various times during the day in order to gauge the traffic noise. Likewise, although the idea of living near a park may appeal, things can get out of hand over weekends. Take the time to pop around on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and check out what sort of activities are going on and what the noise levels are like.

When you have narrowed your search down to a couple of homes, go back and take another look at your favourites. At this stage however, check out the finer points. Is there enough cupboard space, will your fridge fit into the kitchen, can the washing machine be plumbed in and is there storage space for your garden tools? In other words, view the home as if you already own it – imagine your furniture in the house and consider what it would be like to entertain there.

And once you have made up your mind on a home that feels right, try not to second-guess yourself and carry on viewing other homes, because you may well find that someone else loves the house as much as you do and gets their offer in first.

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