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The top 10 things today’s homebuyers look for

What are the elements that today’s homebuyers look for when purchasing a property? Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, explores the top ten reasons that today’s homebuyers give for choosing the home they live in:

Security

One of the number one reasons that South African consumers give for where they choose to live is security and safety. This is largely due to the sobering crime statistics along with the fact that so many families have been affected by crime in one form or another. “South African homebuyers are among the most security conscious consumers in the world, which has led to properties with top-end security features that are in security estates or secure neighbourhoods being among the most sought-after types of properties,” says Goslett. “Security has become one of the most crucial influencing factors in home-buying decisions.”

Quality of schools

Another major requirement for today’s homebuyer is proximity to good schooling. “We have found that schooling can play a massive role in the property buying decision process for family buyers due to the fact that they want to be correctly zoned for their children’s intake to excellent schools. Not only is the zoning a consideration, but also convenience in that parents will have to travel to and from the school each day, unless the child attends a boarding school,” says Goslett.
 
Convenience to place of work

Much like commuting back and forth for schooling, commuting to work is also a factor that most homebuyers consider. Goslett says that buyers often tend to try and purchase property as close to their place of business as possible, as this can vastly cut down on their travel time and money spent on commuting.

Quality of neighbourhood

When buying residential property, industry experts will advise buyers to look at the location, as it can influence the home’s resale potential and the return on investment. “Real estate agents revealed that the majority of their clients are mindful of the neighbourhood they live in, partly because of the impact on their investment and partly because of the lifestyle offering that the area provides,” says Goslett. “Today’s homebuyer is concerned about the quality of the neighbourhood, as more buyers are viewing property purchases as long term decisions and understand that they will live in that neighbourhood for some time.”

Long-term suitability

Research indicates that consumers are moving around far less than they did five years ago, so many homebuyers are looking for property that will suit their needs both now and in the next 15 years when their criteria has evolved. “Younger buyers often look for an extra room or space on the property that they can build onto, so that the property they purchase will fulfil their needs as they develop and change with their changing life stages,” says Goslett.

Affordability

Although financial institutions have relaxed their lending criteria to some degree, affordability is still a massive consideration when it comes to bond approval. Affordability ratios and the percentage of deposits required from the majority of home loan applicants has had an influence on the properties that today’s homebuyer choose to purchase. “The rising cost of living expenses and utilities has also influenced buying decisions with more and more buyers opting for smaller, more manageable homes,” says Goslett.

Energy efficiency

This consideration is largely based on the rising cost of living. More buyers are becoming increasingly conscience about their carbon footprint and their impact on the environment. “Homes with energy-saving eco features such as solar panels and gas appliances are high on the list of essentials for today’s buyers, who are seeing the advantage of green features on their monthly expenses, particularly with the increasing cost of electricity,” says Goslett.
 
Open floor plans

Open-plan living has become more and more important to today’s homebuyer, particularly younger generation buyers who want spaces that can be used for dual purposes. Buyers are looking for spaces that can be used for entertaining and spending quality time with family and friends.

Smart features and technology

In today’s era of rapid technological advancement, high-tech has become high-priority. Many of today’s homebuyers are looking for property that has integrated technology into its design, which allows the homeowner to control the home at a distance via a broadband connection.  Although these features were once just for the more affluent homeowner, advancement in technology and devices that use Wi-Fi or other wireless connections have made these kinds of home features increasingly more accessible to the general public. “Younger generations are highly influenced by technology, which has become a part of everyone’s daily life,” adds Goslett.
 
Design and layout

Today’s homebuyer is looking for a property that is well designed and flows from one space to another.  While some buyers may renovate or change certain elements of a property to suit their taste, if major transformation of a home is needed for the property to meet their needs, they are likely to go elsewhere.
 
“Irrespective of the reasoning behind why a homebuyer has chosen their particular property, conditions still favour buyers for now and those who have access to finance will be able to find what they are looking for in today’s real estate market,” concludes Goslett.


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