PART 1: What you need to know when buying a house

Location, Location, Location

You have heard this phrase over and over and over. The area in which you buy a home is your most important consideration. It’s better to downscale on the size or quality of house than to buy your dream home in an area that can potentially affect its resale value.

Amenities

Experts say that homes located near day-to-day amenities like shopping malls, schools or medical centres will increase the future value of the home whereas homes located in remote areas with no amenities and businesses nearby, may depreciate in value.

Safety and Security

Once you have decided on the area you want to buy in, research the crime in the area.

  • Find out what the collective attitude to security in the neighbourhood is.
  • How secure is the house (inside and outside) that you want to buy?
  • Is there easy access to major highways?
  • Chat to the surrounding neighbours about crime in the area.
  • Observe the security measures in their homes and ask about crime they have experienced.
  • Ask whether there is an active neighbourhood watch in the area.
  • Which security company do they use and what is their level of satisfaction with the company.
  • Speak to a senior person in the most popular security company active in the area as they keep crime statistics. Ask how these compare with other neighbourhoods.
  • Is the street a popular route for pedestrians, buses and taxis?
  • Are there open tracts of land nearby or building sites that could promote incidents of criminal activity.
  • Are there commercial areas close by?

Do your research

With the internet you have unlimited information at your fingertips. Do your research and know exactly what you are in for. For instance, you don’t have to use the home loan provider your estate agent suggests. They get a commission from the bank. Shop around and go directly to the provider you feel comfortable with.

Costs and hidden costs

A lot of bonds only cover 95 percent or less of the selling price. The buyer is liable for the difference. This deposit is usually requested a few days after the bank has approved the bond application .

A mistake many buyers make is taking a further loan with the bank to cover the deposit amount. This usually puts the buyer under financial distress.

It’s important to know that there are an array of additional costs involved when you buy a home, apart from the purchase price and deposit.

  • Transfer costs
  • Registration costs
  • Transfer Duty costs

Make a list of new expenses, besides your monthly bond.

  • Rates or levies
  • Insurance
  • Utility bills
  • Repairs or maintenance
  • Living expenses
  • Traveling costs

Considering these costs will help you estimate what it is going to cost you to own your own home.

You’re on your way

Once you know how much you can afford, you can search for a home that suits you. Use a reputable estate agent, who will be the liaison between you and the seller. Prices are negotiable, so don’t be afraid to speak out.

Some people choose to register their preferences with as many agents in the area as possible to find the right home.

There are many, which can be a quick way to gauge potential areas, prices and properties on offer.

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