Property on your festive season wish list? Remember to plan ahead!

If you are looking to buy a new home in the next few months, planning is essential, especially during the festive season.
“Although it is generally advised to enter the property market as soon as you can, there are a few essential things to remember if you think you are ready to enter the property ladder now,” says oobaelite consultant Natasha Champion from ooba.
For one, Champion says that although the Deeds office usually only closes for a short period during the festive season, many attorneys are away during this time and may return as late as mid-January.
“This could cause a delay in getting deals through these channels, so take this into account when you plan to buy a home now,” says Champion.
She says that ooba notices an increase in home loan applications every year during February, as the festive season draws to a close. As such, the best approach for home owners who are shopping around now is to prepare adequately before taking action to apply for a home loan by making provision for bond and transfer costs.
In addition, Champion says that you are more likely to get a better deal if you have a bond originator like ooba on your side. “The first step to home loan approval is to get prequalified so that you know how much you can afford before going house hunting. Having a prequalification certificate can also give you greater bargaining power when negotiating on a purchase price,” says Champion. 
Champion says that if you are looking to buy a home, ensure that you are ready to enter the property market now or in the new year by doing the following: 
Ensure that you have a good deposit: December is well known as ‘bonus month’ for many South Africans and a cash injection of this kind can spark inspiration for those looking to buy a home to save towards a deposit. A deposit can make banks look more favourably at your home loan application.
Maintain a good credit record: Make sure all your accounts are paid on or before the due date and ensure there is enough money in your bank account to honour all debit orders.
Do your research: Make sure you have received a market-related valuation on your existing home and be ready to go on the market before putting in a ‘subject to sale’ offer.
“Save for the largest deposit you can afford, have all the required documents ready and remember, the sooner you put yourself in a position to enter the property market, the better,” concludes Champion.

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