In many ways, buying a new home is a “numbers game” – and the most important of those numbers is undoubtedly how much you can afford to spend. This differs for everyone and your best option is to seek help from a reputable mortgage originator like us and obtain a home loan pre-qualification. This will be based on your earnings, credit record and current debt load, and should give you a really good idea of your home price range.
Another very important number you must know is how much your ideal home would cost you every month – in total. When budgeting for this, you should include things such as:
- Property rates
- Municipal service charges
- Any levies payable
- Your monthly bond instalment.
Deposit and transaction costs
Next, you need to establish how much cash you would need to pay a deposit (if required), plus transaction costs such as bond registration charges, legal fees and transfer duty (if applicable). This can amount to quite a considerable sum and you may need to delay your home purchase for a while so that you can boost your savings to accommodate these costs.
How long do you plan to stay?
The fourth number you need to have in your head is how many years you plan to live in your new home. Experts advise that in most cases, it really only makes sense to consider buying if you are planning to stay put for at least five years or, preferably, longer. The reason is that if you’re going to sell again relatively soon, chances are you will not make a good return and you could even end up losing money, especially because property transaction costs are so high (even for sellers).
Fifth, you should know that 90% of all buyers today begin their house-hunt online, simply because it is the quickest and easiest way to get to know more about the areas you’re considering. You’re also able to see the types of homes on offer in your chosen area and do some serious comparative shopping. What’s more, you can search for information about local schools, transport services and community organisations – all without leaving your home or office.
How long has it been on the market?
Then finally, you should make it your business to find out how long the homes you are interested in have been on the market. Knowing this number can help you gauge whether or not other buyers believe the property may be overpriced or needs too much work. However, it is important to note that not all properties that have been on the market for a while should be crossed off your list immediately. Some may in fact have owners that are quite ready to negotiate a lower price – you simply need to ask. On the other hand, some homes may actually only need minor renovations to become your dream home for years to come.
Ok, so maybe nobody wants Donald Trump’s hair, and aside from the jury still being out on his political views, it’s safe to say that most of us are really interested in how he masterfully conducts innovative and cutting-edge deals. Love him or hate him, there’s no denying he’s a bona-fide real estate business genius. Here are four simple tips on how you can “Trump” your next real estate deal:
Preparation is key when it comes to creating the perfect real estate deal. It goes without saying that Trump uses various tools and tactics to prepare for a property transaction, and so can you as an estate agent. Part of the preparation process includes researching the area you’re promoting inside out. This includes knowing the status of businesses, schools, crime rates and grocery stores. Remember though, that in order to avoid your discussion coming across as a hard sales pitch, touch on the negative aspects of the area as well – even the most desirable areas will have some cons. Listing these negative aspects along with the pros will transform your delivery into an honest pitch, in turn, making it more appealing to the client. And for a straight-shooter like Trump, honesty really does seem to be the best policy.
Assist your clients
Go a step further and prepare your clients for the process by informing them about tools such as a bond calculator. This will allow them to work out the amount that they’re able to afford so that when it comes to them purchasing a home, they know the size of the loan they’re likely to need. Always make yourself available to answer any questions potential buyers may have – there are bound to be many, particularly with first-time buyers. Whatever you can do to put them at ease will be a benefit and make things move forward more smoothly in the process.
Exclusivity is always desirable because people tend to want what others can’t have. When promoting an area, highlight any and all exclusivity it may offer. Find ways to demonstrate the high demand for the properties in the area, and at the same time, emphasise the fact that availability is simultaneously limited. This is sure to create a strong interest from people, especially those who prioritise exclusivity above most other things when looking for a property to invest in.
Take your time
Time is money. It’s been proven that the more time someone spends on a transaction, the less likely they are to walk away down the line. Even when the deal isn’t perfect, they wouldn’t want to feel they have wasted time, and by extension, money, so they make it work as much as they can. The longer you have the other party participate in the meeting, the more it’s likely that the outcome will be positive and a sale will be made. What’s important to remember here is that whilst nice guys finish last, what matters is that they still finish.
When it comes to real estate, we can all take a feather out of Donald Trump’s cap. As with most things, there’s an art to ensuring success and there’s no arguing that Mr Trump has it down pat (unlike his toupee) when it comes to the business of real estate. So what have you got to lose? Why not consider channelling the legend himself the next time a new deal presents itself? Good luck.
It is becoming increasingly common for people to “refire” in their sixties rather than retire. One significant implication for the property market as a result of this trend is the accompanying preference for “ageing in place” as opposed to selling the family home and moving to a retirement village or old-age home.
One of the main reasons for wanting to “age in place”
Chances are that the existing home will need some modifications to make it comfortable and safe for the owners as they get older, but another reason that many senior citizens prefer not to move is the fear that they will not be approved for a home loan if they need one to buy another property. They would rather seek approval for a “further loan” to pay for the alterations they need to make – or pay for these piecemeal if that application is turned down.
Recommended home adaptions
Meanwhile, the National Association of Home Builders in the US already offers specialist courses and qualifications for contractors who are interested in helping people adapt their homes to make life easier as they get older, without making it look like an institution. The following are among some of the most important home modifications recommended:
Natural light, more lamps, recessed lighting and task lighting in the kitchen all make it easier to see what you’re doing, no matter what your age. What’s more, adding more lighting as you get older can help reduce the chances of injury. Contrasting surfaces, such as countertops that are a different colour from the floor and colour changes at steps, also help to make homes safer.
Smooth your path
Choosing flooring is a bit of a tricky issue because while hard surfaces or low-pile carpet are best for wheelchairs, they can be slippery or too cold, especially in big rooms. The most important thing is to get rid of trip hazards such as throw rugs, create clear paths through the home and eliminate stairs wherever possible.
Deal early with staircases
For people who live in double-storey homes, it’s a really good idea to rearrange or renovate in such a way so as to create a bedroom suite with a full bathroom downstairs. While most people can’t afford an elevator, a chair lift is also a good option for those who are getting a little frail or too unsteady to manage the stairs alone.
Embrace modern aids
When altering kitchens to make it easier to age in place, homeowners should look out for really helpful products and aids such as:
- Motion-activated taps
- Pull-out shelves (that make it easier to see and retrieve items without bending down and peering into a dark cabinet)
- Levers instead of twist-controls
- Pedestals that make front-loading appliances and ovens easier to use.
Don’t forget the bathroom
In the bathroom, grab bars can be attractive enough these days to be mistaken for accent pieces, and can even double up as towel rails and soap dishes. Old-fashioned bathtubs can be replaced with glamorous steam and massage showers, complete with seating and slip-resistant flooring to make them safer.
The easiest way to do this is to use offset hinges that move the actual doors right out of the way. It’s also may be worth removing any moulding around doorways as well.
Improve the access area
Add a railing to your front steps, for example, or better yet, replace them with a tapered walkway. Add a shelf where you can put things down while you unlock the door and a roof so you don’t get wet if it’s raining. Lay some paving and pathways to make it easier to get around the garden, and get an electrician to move light switches and plug points to make them easier to reach.
Growing older doesn’t have to mean selling your family home but more than likely, it will mean having to make multiple modifications in order for it to remain a safe place in which to live.
A new Australian survey has revealed that estate agents need to hone just three skills if they want their clients to regard their service as outstanding and therefore refer them to all their friends. While it may surprise many, these skills are not especially high-tech or difficult to learn.
It’s not necessarily about years of experience or market conditions
CoreLogic, which conducted the survey among hundreds of people who sold their homes with the help of an agent, says they also do not require agents to have years of real estate experience or a particular set of market conditions. “Rather, the three key skills that make for really memorable service by an estate agent are ‘basic’ skills based on respect, empathy, sincerity and the willingness to champion the rights of your sellers and guide them through the whole process,” it explains. Happily, the survey showed that 66% of the home sellers that were surveyed regarded their experience of working with an agent as excellent or good, and that 68% would recommend their agent to family or friends.
A closer look at the three key skills
However, CoreLogic says, what was even more interesting was what they had to say about what was lacking from the skill set of the agents they did not like working with and would not recommend. “At the end of the day, three key skills were identified that spelt out the difference in every case. It was these skills that resulted in good agents being ranked as amazing and ordinary agents being ranked as poor.”
Those three skills were:
The willingness to follow up
The agents who received the very worst reviews were those who promised to call sellers and give them feedback after a show day, yet never did.
Good customer service
For example, sellers were also scathing about agents who “dumped” them the minute the sale agreement was signed, leaving them to follow up on all the ensuing paperwork and manage the transaction themselves.
Sellers really did not appreciate agents who seemed to “switch sides” mid-sale, trying to convince them to accept lower offers instead of pushing buyers to make better offers.
Performance in these areas are key
On the other hand, sellers who rated their agents’ performance in these three areas as “excellent”, were those who had the highest satisfaction levels with the sale process and gave their agents glowing testimonials.
What is more, notes CoreLogic, the positive feelings those sellers expressed were consistent regardless of when they had sold. Just over half of those surveyed had sold within the past two years, with the rest having sold prior to that (with most of them not even having received a remarkable price for their property in the end).
“The bottom line is that agents who are truly serious about improving their performance can do so easily if they are genuine, do what they say they will do and demonstrate to their clients that they have their best interests at heart.”
However, it’s almost a cliché that the first thing you should buy for your workshop or toolbox when starting out on the DIY route is a first-aid kit, because of the large numbers of home handymen that get injured and even hospitalised every year.
But rather than let that deter you completely, just be sure to start slow, with smaller and easier projects, until you become familiar with your equipment and build up your skills – and to follow the following expert suggestions for avoiding the most common DIY injuries:
- Always wear safety glasses or goggles, whether using power tools, stripping paint or just hammering in a nail.
- Protect your hearing. Use ear muffs or plugs when working with noisy tools or mowers.
- Wear a safety harness when working on a roof or tall ladder.
- Wear gloves and overalls to protect your skin when using pesticides or installing fiberglass insulation materials.
- Tie hair back and don’t wear loose sleeves or jewellery when using power tools.
- Ventilate your work area properly, especially when using a paint sprayer or chemicals like paint stripper and varnish.
- Keep a fire extinguisher or bucket of sand handy when working with any flammable substance.
- Don’t run an extension cord over an area you will repeatedly traverse during the project, because you increase the odds of tripping over it or making it fray and cause an electrical short.
- Clean up as you go, removing spent nails or screws, empty containers and bits of timber, tile or brick as you complete each section of a project.
- Wear a mask to prevent dust inhalation if you’re sawing or sanding, but use a proper respirator if you’re working with high-fume glues and varnishes.
And finally, you will save yourself and your family much trouble by just admitting that there are some projects – like electrical wiring and plumbing – that really must be done by a qualified specialist.
Already a rugby hero and recently selected to be part of the Springbok World Cup team, Trevor Nyakane has added TV personality to his repertoire, as he appears in a series of adverts for BetterLife Home Loans, South Africa’s biggest mortgage originator.
Nicknamed “Pumbaa” by his teammates because of his strength and irrepressible grin, the formidable prop plays a starring role in the ads, which were launched during September. Produced to support a new reality show coming to DStv screens that will air from October.
About the show
BetterLife Home Loans is sponsoring the programme, of which each episode will introduce viewers to a family trying to sell their home somewhere in South Africa, but without much success, as well as to a top local estate agent who is then called in to help.
Viewers follow the story as the agent suggests practical and inexpensive improvements or renovations that will make the home more attractive to buyers. These will then be carried out and completed by the show’s crew, together with the help of certain contractors and suppliers, after which the revamped and ready-to-sell “new” property will be revealed to the owners.
The programme will cover a wide range of properties and recommended improvements that will showcase everything from kitchen and bathroom revamps to decluttering and staging a home for show, paint jobs, clean-ups and landscaping, explains BetterLife Home Loans CEO, Shaun Rademeyer.
“The budget limit is R50 000 per property. The overall message is that it is not necessary to spend a fortune to get your home ready for showing and make it more appealing to prospective buyers – provided you seek the advice of a trained and experienced agent who is familiar with what buyers in your area are looking for”, says Rademeyer. “And this resonates with our message to prospective homebuyers: it is not necessary to struggle through the process of applying for a home loan on your own.”
“It is much easier and more effective to enlist the help of a reputable originator like BetterLife Home Loans that can prepare your application properly, motivate it individually and ensure that you get the best deal possible”, concludes Rademeyer.
Named “Vat Jou Goed en Trek”, the new show will air on the kykNET channel from Friday 2 October at 17h30, with repeats on Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.