Settling Before Spending Beats The Odds

Private Property South Africa
Anna-Marie Smith

New home owners able to curb spending over four seasons benefit more, say the experts. Anecdotal evidence points to similar mindsets when comparing new homeowners with consumers out on retail therapy. Both seek instant gratification.

In the opinion of financing specialists, the first season spent in a new home commonly attracts the highest capital outlay. This is in addition to financing costs incurred directly relating to the purchase of a house. Understandable in some cases though, since home loans and access bonds facilitate anything from conveyance costs and registration fees to new furniture, electronics, decor and more.

Opinion is that in most cases the process of settling down and becoming well acquainted with a new house purchase takes at least a year of living in the structure. Because when additional costs are incurred instantly as the result of hasty decisions, these may be regretted over the long term.

Although maintaining the condition of a house protects a family’s largest asset, initial excitement may lead to oversights jeopardizing their financial or physical security. A more conservative approach they say also allows sufficient time to prioritise quality over quantity, maximum affordability and planning.

Four seasons advice from experts

  • Obtain written disclosure of the history of building repairs, additions, and renovations in addition to updated buildings plans.

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Differentiate between repairs and improvements

  • Avoid overspending on re-modelling of fixtures and furniture

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Act immediately on items that affect physical safety and security

  • Only hire qualified and registered contractors

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Ensure property insurance is in place at all times

  • Interior designers, renovation and heritage consultants all recommend time spent on obtaining professional advice and planning for any home improvements.

Immediate essentials

Swimming pool covers and nets, fencing and gates for children and pets, as well as less obvious comforts such as built in cupboards and a fresh coat of paint all do well in facilitating a functional lifestyle.

Second priorities ideally relate to comfort items to improve daily living such as functional geysers, lighting, ventilation and heating.

Ideally, say the experts that only after the above items have been attended to should expensive projects such as new interior decor, furniture, and garden landscaping follow.

Leaving the best for last is advisable, as veranda enclosures, roofing, car ports, garages, store rooms, kitchens and bathrooms all come at a premium that necessitates the management of increased personal debt.

When it comes to adding value, property professionals say they themselves as well as long standing residents in an area are the best sources of historic information. Neighbours who have lived through different weather cycles including floods or exceptional temperatures will also have experienced the paying of bonds and utility bills through different economic cycles. Agents have knowledge of how changes in property prices impacted a specific area through the different up and downturns in the marketplace. This information provides valuable insights for any new resident careful not to over capitalise on a property in an unfamiliar area.

When the four season option is followed, additional time also allows for increased savings to accrue. When paying in cash for home improvements is not an option, some form of saving will facilitate the financing of increased re-payments of home loans, as well as other interest bearing credit options.

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