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First time buyers: If you don't ask, you won't know… and it could be too late.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017
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Be ready to ask these essential questions when you start your house-hunting journey.


Putting pen to paper and buying your first house is one of the most important decisions that you will ever make and it comes with enormous financial consequences.

Buying a property, especially as a first timer, is not a decision that you should take lightly. There are many nuances and intricacies to consider. If you have made a mistake and bought the wrong house or in the wrong neighbourhood, it is not that easy to sell and move again. It is also a very costly exercise.

Seeff’s agents though believe that you cannot go wrong by investing in property, especially in South Africa. It is regarded as one of the best ways to build wealth, but more than that, Samuel Seeff, chairman of the group believes it provides a solid foundation for building a life and security.


Be sure though to ask these essential questions when you start your house-hunting journey:


How much can I afford?

Probably the most important question is what you can afford realistically speaking. Bear in mind that there are additional costs over and above the monthly bond repayment. Consider also what will happen if the interest rate rises and with that, your monthly bond repayments.


What other costs do I need to budget for?

Also, up front, you will in all likelihood need to cover the transaction costs, possibly put a deposit payment down and then there are the costs of moving, new connections for internet, satellite television and the like. Then, there are the ongoing utilities and property taxes. In the case of sectional title property, you will also need to budget for levy payments. There is also security and other neighbourhood costs that may be applicable. It is therefore important to do some research beforehand to ensure that there are no nasty surprises.


What neighbourhood is best for me?

The next important question is what area would be most suited. This will be informed by affordability, but also by personal preference. You may prefer to live close to the inner city or you may prefer the suburbs. Transport and access to main business arterials as well as other facilities and amenities in the area may also be an important consideration.


What type of property will suit my needs?

This is a vital question as your buying decision should be done by also taking your future needs into account. For example, while it may be feasible to buy a one-bedroomed flat, what happens when you want to start a family? That said, you can of course always sell the flat and move on to a bigger house.


What property types are on offer?

There are a number of different options when it comes to buying property, each with its own regulations and governing legislation. Full title or freehold for example means that you own the property outright whereas sectional title means that you are sharing certain spaces with other property owners. The latter also comes with certain rules, regulations and restrictions that you need to be aware of. Be sure to research this thoroughly beforehand.


Will my property grow in value?

You are investing your hard earned money and will want to do so in a house or flat and in a neighbourhood that is likely to not just hold its value, but grow in value. Be sure to speak to local agents in the area to get a sense of how values have grown. There is also plenty of online information about the various areas that you can consult.


Am I ready to be a home owner?

Being a home owner is a very responsible step. Aside from the intricate process of actually putting in an offer, applying for a home loan and finally moving into the property, you need to be a responsible home owner and neighbour. So, be sure to do lots of reading up and talking to people who already own property to find out all the ins and outs, pros and cons of owning a home.




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