The First Time Buyer’s Guide to Deciding on a Home

When deciding on purchasing property for the first time (and every time after that) it is necessary to understand exactly what you are getting into. You should plan for every cost as far as possible, and think of what owning that property will entail. Below we have provided a few things you should check before you buy your dream home.

You should try plan for the future, and consider the whole family’s needs. Do you have an elderly relative who may need caring for some time in the future? Are you planning on starting a family soon? Will your twins need separate bedrooms? Do you have an idea of how long you plan on staying in this house? All these questions will help you make a decision about what sort of property you need.

Look at rates in the area to budget appropriately. As well as considering other expenses such as repayments per month on your bond and transfer fees, even things like groceries and school fees should be taken into account. Make sure you can afford all costs associated with buying a house- and living in it.

Make a list of all the things that you would like in your ideal home and another list of what you deem absolutely necessary that your new home has. For example: you need two bedrooms, but would like three. Two bathrooms are absolutely necessary. That way, you will have a checklist to take when looking at houses, and can easily rule out those that don’t meet your needs.

You should also consider the area you want to buy in, and whether this is the area you can actually afford to buy in. You may have to sacrifice a big garden and a larger house for a smaller property if you are looking to buy in a popular, more expensive area. Look at the facilities in the area as well; are there gyms, school, transport routes nearby, and is it near a highway, or close to the shops? Research the area, ask neighbours what the crime levels are like and look at the schools. Get a crime report of the area as well.

What sort of ownership will you have over your new property? In South Africa we have several types of ownership: freehold, sectional title, 99-year leasehold, or share block. It is important to check the title deeds and land ownership to ensure you know exactly what rights and responsibilities are attached to the property.

You should look at what council submissions are necessary to make sure that any future possible extensions are legal. Some properties also have restrictions on what can be put on them (these will be in the title deeds), but most extension and renovating involves planning permission from a council, so you should check what this entails. You should also check the condition of things like the roof, whether there is damp and any other faults there may be in order to avoid lengthy and expensive renovations in the near future.

There are a number of ways to protect yourself, especially as a first time buyer. By ensuring you are prepared for many of the eventualities that often trap new buyers, your first buying experience will be as pain free as possible.




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About BetterLife Home Loans

Since 2003 BetterLife Home Loans has been SA’s No.1 Bond Originator, handling the entire home loan application process on your behalf – free of charge! Our aim is still to source the best interest rate for you by submitting your home loan application to all the major banks. There is no easier way to apply for a Bond or Home Loan in South Africa!

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