Handy Tips When Buying a House

Private Property South Africa
Private Property Reporter

Buying a house is probably the biggest investment you will ever make. Make sure you don’t burn your fingers by keeping these tips in mind.

  • Be ready for the commitment - Typically, it takes 15 to 20 years to pay off a home loan. Due to the high costs involved in registering and transferring a property, it is probably best not to buy unless you can commit for a few years at least – otherwise you might just lose money on the deal.

  • Get your finances in order - Buying a house is a major financial commitment – and the better control you have over your finances before you take the plunge, the easier you’ll find paying off your mortgage every month. Calculate how much you can afford to pay for accommodation – mortgage, maintenance and rates and taxes – a month. Start saving this amount. Not only will you quickly see if you can really afford it, but you will also be putting away a tidy sum for a deposit. The larger your deposit (aim for 20% of the sum of the loan), the easier it will be to get a mortgage at a good rate.

  • Check your credit record - Rectify any mistakes, and pay off as much other debt as possible.

  • Know what you want, and where you want to stay - Once you know what you can afford, it is time to decide what your needs are and where you want to stay. Make a list of the things you really can’t live without – for example a small garden or good security. Before buying a house, do your homework about potential neighbourhoods you’ll be willing to stay in – typically, areas with good schools will make it easier to sell the property later.

  • Hire a home inspector - You’ve found your perfect property at a price that you can afford. Before you buy, hire a home inspector, preferably an engineer, to make sure there are no unexpected, expensive repairs lurking around the corner.

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