First-time property buyer?
Purchasing your first property is a big deal. It's likely to be the biggest financial transaction you've ever done and no doubt a lot of planning, saving and consideration went into the decision.
"It's one of the most exciting things for us when we can guide someone through the process of acquiring their first property," Skoko Sebola, Principal at Leapfrog Midrand says. But because it's unlike almost anything else, it's important to go into it with a clarity and a keen understanding of what to expect.
While a trusted property advisor will guide you through the process from beginning to end, it's still useful to take note of the following points.
Aim for affordability
Affordability is about more than the monthly repayment.
"It's not uncommon to be contacted by clients who bought a property on the assumption that the bond repayment would be the only cost involved," Sebola shares. He shares that the purchase itself will include costs like bond registration, transfer duties, initiation fees and, in some cases, occupational rent and moving costs.
"It is highly recommended to get pre-approval for affordability on a bond as this puts the buyer in a better negotiating position," Sebola explains.
And then once you're moved in the municipal bill arrives and something breaks and there's no landlord to call because you are the landlord. And that's not even mentioning things like homeowner's insurance, water and electricity, service initiation feeds and various other costs that are now exclusively your responsibility.
A trusted property advisor can highlight all the costs and advise you around affordability. "It's a good idea to draw up a budget that consider the expenses for at least the first six months of property ownership. This may mean cutting back on luxuries, for example, but it should offer a good indication of what to expect and will help with the planning," Sebola suggests.
Look and see!
"While it's endearing to see when somebody falls in love with a property at first sight, it's less endearing to see how disappointed they are with certain facets of the property after they have signed the offer to purchase!," Sebola says.
The point here is that it is highly advisable to view the property more than once, and preferably at different times of the day as this will help to get a sense of the light in the property, the traffic in the area and the vibe in the neighbourhood. Sebola also suggests taking a friend or family member whose opinion you value with you to view the property with you. And while it may be awkward to do things like open the cupboards if the property is still occupied, it's better to deal with a bit of awkwardness now than regret and/or unexpected costs later on. "You also want to check that all the internal doors have keys and that the water pressure is up to standard by opening the taps and flushing the toilet," Sebola advises.
"Our best advice to first-time buyers is always to approach the decision with an open mind, and to make very sure of all the costs involved to ensure affordability. And remember, trusted property advisors are here to help you get into the property market," Sebola concludes.