The Do's and Don’ts of Buying a Home

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

Once the house-hunting bug bites it is often a frantic rush to find the ideal home. Internet property searches, show houses and estate agents become the new buzz words of those seeking a new home. While the process is exciting, there are dos and don’ts in the house-hunting process that buyers should heed, before investing.

Don’t view too many properties in one day. This is important as it is easy to become confused as to which house has which features. Try to limit the number to four a day and take notes of what appealed about the home. The brain is a funny thing and although you may well believe that you will remember which house offered what, it isn’t as simple as it seems. Take your time to view each property that appeals thoroughly.

If possible, only deal with one estate agent and pick your agent like you pick your property – carefully. Working with a single agent has a number of benefits and can help to save valuable time. Most agents in any given area have the same properties on their books and although some sellers may have a sole mandate with a particular agency, most agents will be willing to split the commission if the property is sold by another agent.

By only dealing with one agent, buyers are also not going to run the risk of viewing the same property twice. On that note, if a buyer is shown a property that he has already viewed with another agent, he must mention the fact immediately. No one wants to pay double commission, but if an agent can prove that he was the effective cause of a sale, the seller will be liable for two sets of commission: one to the agent who eventually sold the home and one to the agent who showed the buyer the property in the first place and is the effective cause of the sale. Very few sellers who find themselves in this predicament are going to shoulder full responsibility for this and are most likely going to join the buyer in any litigation that ensues.

The Internet has proved to be a valuable tool for buyers. Before going out to view the actual property, go online and see what is available at what price. In the old days, viewing property was a somewhat tedious exercise as buyers were forced to traipse from one (often unsuitable) home to the next with an agent who often didn’t listen or didn’t understand the buyer’s needs. The Internet has changed this and these days buyers can get a pretty good idea of what a property looks like inside and out from the comfort of their own homes.

Remember that if, after viewing numerous properties, you still can’t find the ideal home, you can mandate an agent to find a home that suits your needs – even if the property is not currently on the market. It may take a little longer, but if you are working with an agent who knows exactly what you are looking for, it may well be worth the wait.

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