Think Before You Ink

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

The correct choice of stand plays a vital role in the success of any building operation. There are various factors that should be taken into consideration when looking for suitable land upon which to build. These factors could not only affect the costs of the build, but could also impact on the marketability and sale of the property in the future.

Marsha Haupt Cooper, from Links Living situated at the St Francis Links Golf Estate, says there is far more to finding the right plot than simply searching for one that offers the best view.

"Although the view is important, there are many other questions that should be asked and answered before the decision to buy is taken," she says.

One of the most important factors which need to be considered is the lay of the land. Will the site be difficult to build on and is there easy access? "The costs of a build can soar if the builders have to negotiate difficult terrain in order to get the job done," warns Haupt Cooper.

Likewise, a stand on a steep slope may lead to numerous additional expenses such as the cost of building retaining walls, as well as the financial implications of levelling and excavating the property.

Other questions that should be asked include:

• Could the site be subject to flooding? It is important to look at adjacent properties in order to see if water runoff will affect the property in which you are interested, or if there are any other dangers of flooding.

• The type of soil on site can also affect the cost of a new build and buyers need to ascertain if an engineering design specialist needs to be called in to evaluate the geo-technical conditions of the site.

• Does the site slope? Remember that a sloping site improves drainage.

• Is the property subject to high-velocity winds? If so, consideration must be given to the style of home which is to be built on the site. Entertainment areas for example will need to be placed in a sheltered area of the property.

• Take a long, hard look at the views. Does the property overlook large, beautiful homes, rolling countryside, industrial areas or sub-economic dwellings?

• Will the property afford the new owners privacy?

• Is there public transport nearby and is the site close to shops, places of entertainment and shopping malls?

• Is the property near your place of work or close to major arterial roads?

"Communication has become part and parcel of modern day living and it is important to find out what types of telephone and Internet services are available in the area," says Haupt Cooper. "Those who work from home or who simply want a high speed Internet connection should check whether or not this service is available in the area."

Likewise, buyers should ensure that the property is in a proclaimed township. In other words, that municipal services such as refuse removal are readily available.

Buyers should always examine the title deed closely before purchase and note if there are any restrictions on the type of building that can be erected on the land. It's not the only important factor though and buyers would also be wise to determine whether there are any servitudes registered against the property.

'While keeping up with the Joneses may not seem that important, it is recommended that the proposed home be built in a similar style and value range to other homes in the vicinity. The buyer may have grand plans for their future home, but it is vital to remember that building a palace in a street where the rest of the homes are a little shabby could affect the price of the new build when it comes time to sell. Ideally, the neighbouring properties should enhance the value of the new home," concludes Haupt Cooper.

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