High 5 for home buyers

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

A recent report in the British newspaper The Guardian highlighted the top 10 things buyers should consider before diving into purchasing decisions. Here are some of those guidelines.

  1. How long do you plan to stay in the area and will the property still be suitable if circumstances within the family change? Property has never been – and will never be – a short-term investment. Buying a one bedroom flat when you’re planning to start a family within the next year or two doesn't really make much financial sense. Homeowners who try to sell their properties in a fairly short time period could either end up making less money than originally thought or even worse, may lose on the deal.

  2. What will happen if interest rates rise? We are all human and as such tend to stretch ourselves to the financial limit when buying a home. This is all good and well, but being able to just meet a bond repayment today doesn't mean that you will be able to when the interest rate goes up.

  3. Will you be able to maintain the property? Owning your own home comes with its own set of challenges. Unfortunately things can and often do go wrong and can cause a great deal of stress for those who are not financially prepared. Likewise, those considering moving into a sectional title complex should remember that bodies corporate can call for a special levy in order to undertake urgent, necessary repairs to the complex.

  4. Have you done your homework? Any estate agent will tell you that many properties are still over-priced. While you may be willing and able to pay more for the house of your dreams, it pays to remember that someone else may not be as willing to pay an inflated price when it comes time for you to sell up and move on. Don't just take an agent’s word for it, ask to see similarly-priced properties in the area in which you are house-hunting and then make an informed decision.

  5. Buying a “bargain basement” home. The adage “if it's too good to be true, it probably is” comes to mind. There are undoubtedly good buys available, but there are often very good reasons why a seller is marketing a home at a bargain price. These could include issues such as a higher-than-normal crime rate in the area, with the home being repeatedly targeted. Remember that a seller has to disclose everything negative that pertains to a home. While most believe this only applies to the structure and/or fittings, in actual fact it includes every aspect of a property, including the disclosure of grim details such as a crime having been committed there.

Perhaps the best advice of all is that you should never rush into a buying decision. Take your time to familiarise yourself with all the facts and do the maths in order to establish what you can truly afford.

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