While each homebuyer will have their own criteria as to what their home must have based on their life stage and personal preference, there are a few key elements that homebuyer’s in the current market seem to agree on, says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
The right price
According to Goslett, the first thing that the majority homebuyers must have is an affordable price tag, especially first-time homebuyers because they often don’t have the equity from selling a property to roll into the next purchase. Although aspects such as space and the aesthetic appeal of the home are important, for most part the financial elements and affordability are top priorities.
“It is important for buyers to have a budget and make sure they stick with what they can afford. Buyers shouldn’t overextend themselves in the current market as it is highly likely that if they do, they will experience financial pressure in the foreseeable future. With house prices decreasing over the past few years, as well as the current low interest rates, properties that were previously unaffordable to many homebuyers are now within reach. This has significantly opened up the market to buyers who now have more options available to them while still managing to stay within their budget limitations,” says Goslett.
A home that meets future needs
Goslett says that although it is impossible to know what the next ten years may hold, the reality is that many homebuyers will be in their home for longer than they think. It will pay off to purchase a home that doesn’t just meet the criteria now, but also in the next five to ten years.
“Property is a long term investment. A must-have now may not be one in a few years, so homebuyers should look at property and ask if they can see themselves staying there for a while and what the future looks like. Is marriage on the cards or perhaps children? If so, then an extra bedroom would probably be of higher importance than granite countertops,” says Goslett.
A prime location
It might be an old cliché but there is certainly a lot of truth to the location, location, location adage. This mantra rings true for homebuyers in any market; location will always be high on the must-have list. Whether it is a question of lifestyle or good return on investment, buying a property in the right location will be one of the most important decisions a buyer can make.
Goslett notes that vital aspects to consider when deciding on a location would be:
Proximity to your place of work.
A location convenient to local amenities such as medical facilities and shopping centres.
A neighbourhood / estate or complex that is well-maintained and is aesthetically pleasing.
Buyers with children or plans for a family should look at the quality of schools in the area.
"Try to find an area that is established and has a history of solid returns that have been stable over the long term. Look for areas that have kerb appeal that are well maintained and where there are more owners than tenants, as owners will predominately want to protect their investment by keeping the area well looked after," says Goslett.
A house that has been properly maintained
Goslett says that buying a house that has been properly maintained by the previous owner can help alleviate a large number of costs in the future. He says, “With the introduction of the Consumer Protection Act many buyers are insisting on the list of defects that the act prescribes, even though legally it may not be applicable. It is important for them to know that they are purchasing a property that is in good repair.”
While a quick run through and spot check of the home can help buyers sift through their options and narrow down the property they would most like to purchase, it is best to have a professional inspector undertake a thorough check and advise accordingly.
Contemporary updates in key areas
Although the property may not be completely renovated, there are certain areas of a home that buyers place a higher priority on, says Goslett. This is because there are some rooms in a home where renovations will add more value in terms of resale at a later stage.
For example, kitchens and bathrooms are known to get sellers the best boost in value, with many sellers recouping as much as 80% of their renovation costs on a kitchen and between 65% and 75% of the costs of remodelling a full bathroom. "These two areas of a home are the most important to buyers when looking at prospective houses. If they have been renovated or simply updated by the previous owner, it will have a big impact on the overall appeal of the home," says Goslett.
Goslett concludes by saying that given the vast options available to buyers in the current market, sellers should take these must-haves into consideration when wanting to successfully sell their property in the shortest possible time.