10 things you should know before buying your first house
Last year the South African property market experienced some major shifts, and various property experts predict that 2019 will be another year of unpredictable ups and downs. Whether you are buying a property in a good market or bad, it is important to do your homework to make sure you are making the right investment decision.
Where do you start though? To help you along we have included 10 things you should know when preparing to buy your first home.
- Know what you want and do your research
Many first-time home buyers neglect taking the time to conscientiously decide what type of home that they really need. Make a list of everything that you desire from your home including the area that you want to live, how much space you need and any aesthetic features you prefer. It is also important to understand that during the house hunting process these ideals and preferences may change.
- Don’t let emotions override your needs
Making a decision based on emotions rather than lifestyle needs is another common mistake for many first-time home buyers. It is important to consider your lifestyle and assess the amount of commitment needed to upkeep your property. If you find a great deal that needs a bit of work, understand what you are in for.
- Budget for before AND after the purchase
Once you have decided what you need from a home, it is time to look at your budget realistically. Assess your credit score, how much you can get on a bond and how your lifestyle will change with the financial commitment. You also need to assess how your budget will be affected afterwards. Costs such as utilities, maintenance and any renovations or furnishings need to be considered and budgeted for. If not carefully considered, owning a home can become a landslide into debt so it is crucial to plan a budget and stick to it.
- Shop around for your bond
A big mistake made by many first-time buyers is simply settling with the first bond agreement that is approved. Make sure that you approach various providers and negotiate the bond agreement to be one that you are happy with and can afford.
- If using an agent, choose the right agent
Not all estate agents are equal. Choosing a home to buy can be stressful and uncertain, so it is important to use the services of an agent who is familiar with the market. A good agent will not only be knowledgeable about the market, but they will also be fair and responsive to your needs and wants.
- Be prepared to negotiate
This is particularly useful in South Africa where the property market can be volatile. Many sellers push their prices up specifically because they expect them to be lowered in the negotiation process. If a property has been on the market for a while, the seller may be willing to negotiate even lower in an effort to offload the property. Again, do your homework to give you more bargaining power.
- Pre-plan a potential move
This may seem counter-intuitive when you are in the process of buying a home, but it is important to consider the possibility of you selling it one day. Perhaps your job relocates you or you have children and need to upsize. Before buying a home make sure that you read the bylaws and restrictions regarding reselling or renting out your home.
- Ask ALL the questions
When buying your first home, no question is a dumb question. Seeking knowledge and information on a decision as big as buying a home is important. A skilled real estate agent should want you to feel equipped and informed to make a confident commitment. As a first-time home buyer, make sure that you ask all market and property-related questions. If you are purchasing in a complex or apartment block, you should also ask of any predicted changes or planning that is considered.
- Have realistic expectations for the home inspection
Various types of home inspections are standard procedure before buying and selling a home to both confirm a value and ensure that all structural requirements are met. Prepare yourself for the reality that there will most likely be problems with the home – from small fixes to potential deal breakers. Being realistic about what you expect from these inspections will ensure that you assess the results with a clear head. Consider how any fixes will impact your bargaining power.
- Plan for the transitional times
One of the most overlooked aspects of purchasing a home is the transitional period before moving in. Make sure that you budget and plan for this time (which can often take a lot longer than expected). In these instances, self storage facilities are an affordable and effective solution for storing belongings in transit. At Stor-Age, we have helped countless tenants with the smooth transition of moving home by offering flexible leases, van hire and a variety of different unit sizes. We are able to offer the right amount of space, for the right amount of time.
Buying a home is a big commitment and the above considerations are important.
Call us on 0861 18 18 18 to find out how our conveniently located self storage facilities can help make the process easier.