Buying your first home? Read this first!

Buying your first home? Read this first!

We pride ourselves in going the extra mile for our valued clients, and this includes guiding them on their home-buying journey. 

With years of experience in and knowledge of the dynamic real estate industry, we are able to offer expert advice when it comes to buying a home. Having a roof over your head, one that you own and not rent, could be one of the most important investments you make in your life. It could empower you well into the future.

The big challenge comes when you decide to take the leap and enter the property market for the first time. That’s where we come in. We deal with first-time home buyers who often have big expectations of what they can get for their hard earned cash.  The reality can often be disappointing if they are not practiced in the art of “seeing the potential” in a property. The guidance of a property professional with knowledge of the local stock and market trends, could be very valuable. 

Here are some top tips for you to run through with your property practitioner when you are buying your first home: 

Financial & Legal

  • Save up for a deposit – the more you put in the less time needed to pay off what’s still owing.  The banks also give a better interest rate if you put a nice size deposit down.
  • Know what you can afford and get prequalified for a home loan – banks will only give you what you can afford – so avoid disappointment from the get go and shop with confidence within your limits. If you have been pre-qualified, your chances of getting the property you want are so much better.
  • Shop around for your home and do not buy in haste – The best place to start is on the internet.  Thereafter view properties on show on Sundays, learn the different suburbs and what houses sell for in the area.  Call a property practitioner to assist you once you have decided on the area. Being informed about what’s out there prevents you from buying in haste and allows you to go for what you really want within your budget.
  • Shop around for a bond – banks are in constant competition with each other, so make sure you’re getting the best deal you can.  Ask your property practitioner to assist you. They are usually very well connected with bond originators who could do the shopping around on your behalf. 
  • Understand all the legal costs – Bond registration costs, transfer duty and the conveyancer’s transfer costs can come as a nasty surprise if you’re not prepared for them. Ask your property practitioner for a quote from the conveyancer and the bond registration attorney.
  • Know the difference between occupation and possession – the house does not belong to you until the transfer is registered at the Deeds Office, so if you take occupation before the property is registered in your name you will need permission from the Seller before you can make any alterations.  Don’t just go ahead and spend money on alterations before you are legally the owner, all your hard and money may be wasted

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Structural: 

  •  Look past all the household contents such as furniture, curtains, wall hangings, etc. and make sure the walls do not show signs of damp or structural cracks.
  • Check the plumbing and water pressure in the showers, baths and basins, and flush the toilets to see if there are any problems there. 
  • Inspect the roof and ceilings and ask if they had any leaks. Look out for missing roof tiles as this could cause water problems if they haven’t already occurred.
  • Inspect the pool and ask if there are any leaks, if the pump and filter are working properly and look out for uneven paving that may need to be re-laid. 
  • Look to see if the outside of the house needs any maintenance or possibly a complete paint job.
  • Ask for confirmation that the Seller will provide clearance certificates of all installations – electrical, electrical fencing and gas (if applicable) and a wood borer clearance certificate (if applicable). 
  • Ask for a copy of the building plan. Check to see if the plans are approved by the local municipality and that the plans cover all the structures and alterations on the property.

Security: 

  • Is there an existing security system you can take over, and what are the costs involved? 
  • Are there additional security measures in place on the property – like burglar bars, external security lights, remote controlled gates and garage doors and are they in good working order?
  • How’s the neighbourhood in terms of security? Is there an existing neighbourhood watch?  Does it experience much foot traffic through the area that may be cause for concern? 

Location, Location, Location:

The basic rule is ‘buy the worst house in the best area’ – but only if you have the budget and the inclination to do improvements on the property.  Check on the following as it will have an effect on the re-sale value of your property.

  • Is the house conveniently situated near: 
    • Shops 
    • Good schools 
    • Medical facilities 
  • Places of worship appropriate for you
  • Find out if there are any pending developments that may affect the value of your new home. 

Other considerations: 

Running a household brings with it certain additional costs and considerations that you must be aware of before you make an offer.

  • Ask your property practitioner to confirm, levies, rates, taxes and insurance. 
  • Ask about the Zoning of the property if you consider working from home and if there are any restrictions in the Title Deed of the property.
  • Find out what the quality of internet connection and cell phone reception are like in the area, if this is an important factor in your life. 

There are actually many different facets to buying a new home, and we don’t want these to be overwhelming for you, especially if it is your first one.   

Forewarned is forearmed we say!  It’s always best to chat to friends and family who have done this a few times before and will have sound advice for you as you navigate your way through the whole experience. 

At Affinity Real Estate we are ready to make this experience as easy and exciting as it should be.

Give us a call today – we are looking forward to helping you! 

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Adri Pretorius

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