The importance of research when buying Sectional Title Units

According to research that was conducted by ABSA last year, full title properties may - one of these days - become an impractical and outdated luxury for many South Africans.

Financial pressure on consumers, scarcity of land and lifestyle changes all contribute to the fact that many buyers are now exclusively seeking to invest in sectional title schemes that are (generally) more affordable than freehold property.

In addition to the affordability that sectional title offers, this type of living is also regarded as more secure than freehold property and offers a lock up and go lifestyle that is appealing to many. Sectional title further requires little maintenance from owners, often has sound resale value and generally also include more modern finishes than older freehold homes.

But Steve van Wyk, MD for Seeff Centurion, says although sectional schemes offers many benefits it is still crucial to do your homework before buying because like in the case with freehold there are always good investments and bad investments.

Every sectional title buyer should do the following before signing on the dotted line:

- Make sure that you obtain a copy of the rules and regulations to see what is permitted and what is not permitted before you invest in a Sectional Scheme. Not being allowed to own a pet, extend your property or play music after 22:00 PM at night could be deal breakers and you don’t want to find out about this only when it’s already too late. When you own freehold you can usually do with the property as you please because you are the sole owner, but in the case with sectional scheme you merely own a section of a property and need to consult with others before you can make certain changes.

- Find out what the monthly levies are and make sure that there are no hidden levies you did not budget for. In addition you need to find out when the levies will be raised again and ask if any special levies will be imposed in the near future. This knowledge will impact on whether you are able to afford the investment or not.

- Ask for the financial statements from the Home Owners Association. You do not want to invest in a scheme that is in financial trouble and you may also not get a bond if it is.

- Does the complex and gardens look like it is being properly maintained and is it in a good condition? Remember that this is why you are paying a levy so it is important to know what your money is being put to use for.

- Is the sectional scheme close to all the important facilities and amenities that you require?

- What are the resale values of units in the schemes? Ask property agents operating in the scheme what type of selling prices were fetched in the scheme lately.

- Make sure what shared facilities like a swimming pool, braai area, club house etc. is included. These amenities are being covered by your levies, but maintained by the body corporate.

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