Presented by Reeflords

The hidden costs of buying a home

Buying a home is a big commitment and there is much more to the deal than first meets the eye – such as fine print, hidden costs, and unlisted extras.

The second edition of the PodAcademy Podcast features Reeflords’ Sales and Marketing Head, Dora Liu, who talks with host David Watts about many of the misconceptions, misunderstandings, and “hidden costs” involved when buying a home.

If you would like to keep track of the tips discussed in this episode, the key points are summarised below.

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Levies are issued to property owners to cover the expenses associated with the running of an estate.

These may include garden services, refuse removal, electricity for common property areas, effluent and sanitation, water, and electricity or gas.

Special levies may be incurred by property owners for costs related to renovations, paving upgrades, or approved modifications that are required for the upkeep of the estate.

Both levies and special levies are the responsibility of the property owner and will be required whether you are buying an existing unit in an existing complex, or a new unit in a new complex.

You should ask the seller for the latest bills to calculate an average of what you can expect to pay monthly, and in the case of buying a new property in a new development, you can ask for an estimation of the bill.

If you have bought into a development with prepaid electricity meters in each unit, be aware that there will still be additional electricity costs issued as levies by the body corporate.

This is for electricity that is required in common areas (outside of your own unit) and range from things like the streetlights to the running of the guard house.

Rates and Taxes

Rates and taxes are the responsibility of the property owner (not rental tenants) and cover items such as electricity, refuse removal, water, and sanitation.

All owners are liable for rates and taxes.

Transfer Duties

Transfer duties apply to buying an existing home or a unit in a complex from a seller or developer.

This is an upfront, once-off payment that covers the cost imposed by SARS and is based on the purchase price for properties over R1 million.

If you are purchasing directly from a developer, you pay VAT instead of transfer duties.

Transfer Costs

Transfer costs are different to transfer duties in that they cover the administrative costs of transferring the title deed into the purchaser’s name.

These costs are derived by the deeds office fees and the attorney’s fees associated with the administration of all relevant paperwork.

If you are buying a previously-owned property, the buyer is liable for the transfer costs and if you are buying from a developer, the transfer costs are usually covered by the developer.

Reeflords Property Development covers these costs for its customers, but this may not be the case with other developers.

Bond Costs

Bond costs relate to the costs incurred for the registration of the bond of the property and include attorneys and disbursement fees.

If you are looking at a property valued at R1million, then you can estimate your bond costs to be in the region of R12,000.

If you are buying a previously-owned home, you bear the bond costs, whereas if you are buying from a developer, the developer may cover this cost.

Reeflords covers bond costs at certain developments, while others are discounted.


Initiating the process of buying a house is a decades-long commitment that can’t be made without resolute trust, which is why Reeflords prides itself on making the home buying process as transparent as possible.

For more insights that cover initiation fees, connection fees, life cover, and household insurance, be sure to listen to the full PodAcademy Podcast and make sure your best approach is an informed one.

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The hidden costs of buying a home