How big should your home be?

Unless they focus on what they need rather than on what they might want, homebuyers are quite likely to end up with too much house.
So says Harcourts Africa CEO Richard Gray, who notes: “In many countries, there has already been a significant move away from suburban ‘palaces’ to more compact homes that are more affordable, use less energy and are easier to maintain.
“And now we are beginning to see that trend gain momentum in SA, thanks largely to the strict application of the National Credit Act and the limits placed on initial affordability by the lenders’ almost universal insistence that homebuyers put down hefty deposits.”
“But there are several more good reasons for prospective buyers to be very practical when choosing a new home.”
The three main things to think about, he says, are the size of the stand, the size of the home itself and the need, if any for “extras” such as a pool, a second garage or even a garden shed.
“If you want to move from a flat or a townhouse to a place with a garden, for example, you may well be attracted to houses on very big stands. But apart from having a higher cost of acquisition that will boost your bond repayments, a large stand will also mean higher upkeep and security costs and higher municipal rate payments for as long as you own the property.
“So unless you are actually going to use the land for a home-based business or have a plan to subdivide and develop it fairly soon, a smaller stand is generally a better bet.”
When it comes to the home itself, says Gray, buyers often don’t stop to think of their actual space needs, and what unused rooms could cost them in the long run. “But it is not rocket science to work out that it is going to be cheaper to clean, maintain and care for a 200sqm home than a 400sqm home. Your water and lights bills will also be smaller, and those savings will come on top of a smaller bond repayment every month.”
And finally, he says, it is also important to consider what real use you will get out of those “nice to have” extras and whether it is worth paying for them. “For example, a swimming pool near your entertainment area may look good, but if you are not actually going to use it regularly, it would be a waste to pay a higher house purchase price just to have it, and an ongoing waste to pay for the chemicals and equipment required to keep it clean.”

  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
Characters remaining

    Latest Property News
    • 22 Jun 2018
      The rental market in many Johannesburg suburbs has shown encouraging signs of revival this year but it remains a competitive market and landlords who best cater to their market’s needs will reap the healthiest returns.
    • 22 Jun 2018
      Home design is constantly evolving to reflect the changing needs of society. We look at some of the ways in which our use of space is changing.
    • 22 Jun 2018
      While estate agents can help the seller with correctly pricing the property and marketing a property to the right pool of potential buyers, at the end of the day it’s the impression that the property will make on buyers that counts the most.
    • 21 Jun 2018
      Anyone who’s ever been involved in a building project that’s gone wrong will appreciate the importance of adequate insurance cover in the construction industry.
    • 21 Jun 2018
      A recent news story about a blind tenant caught in a legal battle with his body corporate over letters and notices he was unable to read and consequently comply with has raised the question: what are the legal obligations for landlords with disabled tenants?
    • 21 Jun 2018
      A trend that’s taken the world by storm in recent years is that of hygge (pronounced: hue-guh), a Danish concept that is about creating intimacy, connecting with loved ones and taking pleasure in small, ordinary things.
    • 20 Jun 2018
      Buying or selling real estate isn’t as easy as it is portrayed sometimes, especially if there is a death of a party during the transaction which can make it awkward, tricky and inconvenient.
    • 20 Jun 2018
      With interest rates remaining at historic lows and banks continuing to compete for mortgage finance business, first-time buyers with funds at their disposal are currently well-placed to gain that initial foothold on the property ladder, particularly in the light of the slightly lower growth rates currently experienced in residential property values.
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    Share this Page

    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    Connect with us