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Estate Agents

By REI Editorial

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Finding Your Perfect Home: Tips for Choosing the Right Property

Home buyers who had to put their plans on ice last year when interest rates were rising, can start to plan – and dream! – again. That’s the good news on the back of predictions from economists and banking experts, who are expecting interest rates to hold steady for a few months before hopefully starting to come down towards the end of this year. ‘Buying a home is one of the biggest things you’re likely to purchase in your lifetime, and it’s a way of securing a financial future for yourself and your loved ones. So, if more people are in a position to buy again, it is good news on several fronts,’ says Bradd Bendall, interim CEO of BetterBond. Here are a few things to think about if you are thinking about buying:

Home sweet home
Consider your personal circumstances when deciding on the type of place. A freestanding house offers space, privacy and flexibility, but requires regular attention in terms of ongoing maintenance and repairs. A sectional title property provides security and the benefits of communal areas that you don’t have to look after yourself. Buying off-plan in a new development means not having to pay transfer costs, so it could be an empowering first step onto the property ladder. Lifestyle estates usually come with an array of amenities in safe surroundings and areas of natural beauty, appealing to families. Whatever your lifestyle or life stage, buy something that suits your needs.

Budget accurately
Financially, there’s more to buying a home than budgeting for your monthly bond repayments. ‘The additional costs of home buying include transfer duties and conveyancing fees, and you need to factor in ongoing expenses, like rates and taxes, and levies if you are buying a sectional title property. Remember to add utilities like water, electricity and internet to your monthly home budget, and always allow a little extra for unforeseen maintenance or repairs that may have to be carried out,’ advises Bendall.

Lifestyle of choice
Your new home should provide you with more than the physical shelter of bricks and mortar – it’s also about being able to adopt your lifestyle of choice. ‘If you enjoy the outdoors, an estate with cycle paths, walking trails and a green belt may be a good option. If you have small children, you would look for childcare facilities and good schools nearby. If you are a single professional you could go for a compact, lock-up-and-go place that provides plenty of freedom,’ says Bendall. Other lifestyle considerations include proximity to shops, restaurants and night spots, doctors and medical facilities, and access to public transport.

Safe as houses
Before you fall in love with a place and decide to put in an offer, do you know enough about the area? Ask an estate agent who is familiar with the area. If possible, speak to locals or neighbours so that you can make an informed decision. ‘Ask about municipal service delivery and whether there is a neighbourhood watch or security presence in the area,’ suggests Bendall. Find the neighbourhood’s Facebook page and scroll back through its timeline to get an idea of common complaints and concerns within the community. You could also look at crime statistics published quarterly by the South African Police Services.

Beware the bells and whistles
It’s easy to get sidetracked by nice-to-haves like a swimming pool or a large garden. However, Bendall cautions, ‘If these elements are going to add to the purchase price and increase your monthly expenses once you become the owner, then you may want to reconsider. Instead, look for features that save you money and add value to your property at the same time.’ Solar panels and an inverter, for example, will go a long way to reducing your monthly electricity bills, and increase the value and resale appeal of your property.

Stay connected
‘Make sure the home is fibre-enabled or has it already installed,’ advises Bendall. Not only is this important for everyday connectivity and working from home, but it is also essential if you may want to rent out your property in the future. Nowadays, tenants list the quality of its connectivity s high on their lists of factors that make a property appealing.

Room to grow
Think about your needs and how much space you’ll require in the short to medium term. If you’re planning on growing your family, look for a home that has space for additional bedrooms and a play area. If you have ageing parents who may need to move in with you, a home with a garden cottage or granny flat could be a great option. Involving older generations in childcare and sharing a living space is a great way of providing purpose to family members in later life, while also supporting younger generations in very practical ways.

Fixer-upper or new build?
‘The idea of buying a fixer-upper and renovating it so that it’s perfect for your needs might sound like a great idea, but in practice, it can turn into a costly and time-consuming process,’ cautions Bendall. Take an honest look at your expectations – and your budget! – before you take on the responsibility of a fixer-upper. Perhaps a newer property that is move-in ready is more your type of thing?

Options open
When it comes to securing home finance, do not limit your options by applying only to your own bank. If they decline you, your home finance is instantly at a dead end. Instead, keep your options open by working with a bond originator who will negotiate on your behalf with multiple banks for a more competitive interest rate. You can also get a home loan pre-approval before you start searching so that you know how much you can afford. ‘When it comes to making this all-important purchase, knowledge really is power. A better interest rate on your bond means many thousands in savings over the typical 20-year term of a home loan, so it is well worth it to let a bond originator shop around on your behalf. Best of all, this service is completely free,’ adds Bendall. 

That’s how you’re able to buy the right home for you!

Reside all events 2 2024
Reside All Events 2024