The dos and don’ts for home buyers in South Africa

 ·6 Apr 2024

Although home buying can be an exciting experience, dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s is incredibly important for the process.

Purchasing a home in South Africa can be an exciting endeavour but can also have multiple challenges.

“The journey to homeownership can be fraught with challenges, but with the right approach, it can also be gratifying,” said Richard Gray, CEO of Harcourts South Africa.

With this in mind, Gray provided tips for South Africans looking to buy a house.

“Our tips are designed to arm buyers with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions and avoid common mistakes.”

Do: Get Pre-approved for a Bond

Gray said that home loan pre-approval is essential.

“Pre-approval not only gives you a clear idea of your budget but also positions you as a serious buyer in the eyes of sellers.”

Don’t: Overlook Additional Costs

Many first-time buyers only look at the purchase price, but other expenses, such as bond costs, property taxes and maintenance fees must be considered.

Gray said that buyers must prepare a comprehensive budget that covers all these expenses.

Do: Research the Market

He added that understanding the local market is essential.

“Buyers should familiarise themselves with current market trends, property values, and neighbourhood dynamics,” Gray said.

This information will help buyers make strategic offers and find available investment opportunities.

Don’t: Skip the Home Inspection

Professional home inspections also play a critical role.

“An inspection can uncover hidden issues that could significantly impact the property’s value and your living conditions,” he notes.

Costly repairs down the line can be avoided if this step is followed.

Do: Consider Future Needs

“Think long-term about your housing needs and how they might evolve.”

Purchasing a home that can adapt to future changes can prevent the need for costly moves or renovations.

Don’t: Make Emotional Decisions

Emotions should not override practical considerations.

“While it’s important to love your home, buyers should ensure their decision is also financially and practically sound.”

Do: Negotiate

“Negotiation is a key part of the home buying process.”

Buyers should work with their real estate agents to negotiate terms, prices and other contingencies.

Don’t: Rush the Process

The urge to put in an offer on a house as soon as possible can also be strong, particularly in competitive markets.

However, buying a house should not be rushed.

“Take the time to ensure the property meets your needs and that you’re getting a fair deal.”

Do: Plan for the Offer Acceptance Process

Gray recommends that one familiarise themselves with the offer acceptance process to avoid surprises.

“Understanding the steps involved, from signing the offer to purchase to handling FICA requirements, can make the final stage of buying your home smoother.”

Don’t: Go It Alone

Professional assistance can also be extremely valuable.

“Whether it’s a real estate agent, a home loan broker, or a legal advisor, having experts on your side can make a significant difference in the outcome of your home buying journey.”

Read: Work-from-home shift could save South Africans up to R2,900 a month

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