Prepare before you purchase

It is important for first time buyers who are thinking of taking the initial steps towards purchasing a property to consider a few vital aspects and prepare themselves, before deciding whether they are ready to move forward with their homeownership aspirations, says Dieter Harck, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX One Hundred, which services the northern most Sandton and Randburg suburbs.
He notes that before making any decisions, it is always worthwhile speaking to a real estate agent and getting their advice regarding the factors that are currently influencing the property market. “Speaking to an agent does not cost anything and can help to steer buyers in the right direction. An informal chat with a reputable agency and agent will inform buyers and help them to understand how the property market works in a particular area,” says Harck.
Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett, says first-time buyers should avoid making a rash decision without considering all the consequences, but rather make the best decision possible by obtaining all the information on the property and purchasing process that they can. “Due to the long-term nature of property investments, buyers will need to evaluate the decision in terms of their life plans, which include their financial situation both currently and in the years to come,” advises Goslett.
According to Harck one of the most common mistakes that potential buyers make is not knowing or understanding their financial capacity. “Once the buyer has spoken to an agent, it is a good idea for them to approach a bank or bond origination company such as Betterlife Home Loans, which can assist them in establishing their borrowing capacity and the price range of a home they can afford,” says Harck. “It is important that the buyer shares all of their relevant financial information with their real estate agent so that the agent can narrow down their search and find the right home that meets both the buyer’s needs and financial capacity.”
Harck points out that a buyer is not just choosing a home, but also the area in which they want to live. “Location is very important when looking to purchase a property as it affects the home’s appreciation potential. This is important  as the buyer will likely spend a long time in the area before they resell the property, so they must be sure that they like the area and that it is one in which they want to live. Buyers should research the suburbs where market prices reflect their borrowing capacity and which are closest to important infrastructural facilities such as crèches, schools, church, work, recreational and lifestyle amenities,” says Harck
He adds that to avoid confusion and assist in streamlining the property search process, a buyer should create a record of properties viewed and the pricing of developments over time for a better understanding of the market and pricing. “Keeping a record will help the buyer to determine whether they are looking at a home that is fairly priced or not. It may not be easy for a buyer to remember every property off the top of their head, so a record of some kind will ensure that they have an accurate idea of what they have seen,” explains Harck.
He concludes by saying that a buyer should only commit to an offer when the property ‘speaks’ to them. “Only commit to purchasing a home when it answers your basic must-have criteria and you love it.”

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