12 things to consider before buying a home

Buying a home in South Africa is not child’s play and anyone who is considering making such a large investment needs know the basics before signing on the dotted line.

Here are 12 tips to help you make the right decision.

1. Buy in the right area

Figure out where you want to live before you start looking for a home. Factor in things like schools you’d like your children to attend, as well as the commute to and from work before deciding.

2. Buy for the long term

Property is generally not a good investment in the short-term, so be cautious of buying unless you are looking at staying in that particular home for at least five years.

3. Buy a home that fulfils all your needs

Your home is your castle. It’s where you will entertain your friends, where you sleep and where you will raise a family. Find a home that fulfils your requirements. In other words, don’t buy something that’s too small with the idea that you can ‘make do’. Nothing is more frustrating than a lack of space. Determine your needs before you start house-hunting, and stick to the plan.

4. Stick to your budget

Don’t look at property that’s more expensive than you can afford. This not only wastes your time, it generally causes a great deal of frustration and hampers the overall search for a suitable property. Have a budget and work within it.

5. Don’t be dazzled by unneccesary features

All that glitters most certainly isn’t gold. Don’t allow impressive features to cloud your judgement. Nothing, not even gold plated taps or a spa bath is going to make your life better if the rest of the property isn’t up to scratch.

6. Do your research

Do your research and have some idea of the average price of property in the area in which you want to live. If a property seems a little pricey, ask the agent why the price is so high and move on if you are not satisfied with the reasons given.

7. Ask questions

Ask how long a particular property has been on the market. Those who are struggling to sell and whose property has been on the market for some time are far more likely to negotiate the selling price than those who have only recently put their homes on the market.

8. Put down a deposit

Try to save up for a deposit, even if you think there’s a chance you will be eligible for a 100 percent loan. Remember, the more you put down, the less you will pay in monthly instalments.

9. Shop around for your bond

Mortgage originators are, in our opinion, one of the best things to ever happen to the South African property sector. Fill in the paperwork, sit back and let the experts find you the best deal.

10. Beware the hidden costs

Make an effort to find out about the so-called ‘hidden costs’ before you buy. Transfer fees, conveyancing fees, deposits for lights and water all need to be paid, and should be taken into consideration. Get some idea of what you’re in for before buying, and make sure you have enough cash to take care of all the additional costs.

11. Don’t get disheartened

Don’t assume you’ve failed because a seller has rejected an offer. Either up your offer if you can afford to, or walk away and find something else. You may be disappointed, but there’s an excellent chance you’ll find something just as suitable within your price range.

12. Don’t ever rush into a deal

This is a biggie. Take your time and don’t allow anyone, including the seller or agent, to talk you into buying something if you are unsure of any aspect of the home. Weigh up everything before making a decision and be absolutely sure that you really want the home before submitting an offer.