Home buyers: Know what to ask your estate agent

Everyone knows that there are few investments as valuable as owning property, but buying a home is no walk in the park and you have to take into account that you need comprehensive knowledge to ensure the process is smooth. 

An experienced estate agent can guide you but it is essential to select the right agent who is properly qualified and deal with a reputable agency.

Your estate agent should have an NQF level 4, which was followed by a professional exam, the agent must also be registered with the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) which regulates the industry.

A good agent is someone that has great communication skills, listen to what you need and won’t waste your time by taking you to properties that doesn’t fit what you have been looking for. Ask the estate agent about the neighbourhood you are considering to buy in - how far are you from amenities that you might need, is there a school close by and while it is important to buy a property that you can afford, it is also important to buy a property that fits your lifestyle, so ask about the kind of neighbourhood the property is in. If you are a runner, you would want streets which are safe to run in and so forth.

Agents should be able to offer insight as to why the owner is selling and what is included in the sale (garden shed, greenhouse, fixtures and fittings, etc.), how long the owners have lived there, for how much other properties in the neighbourhood are selling, justification for the selling price and whether or not the owner is willing to negotiate the price.  

Important questions to ask your estate agent:

- What are the legal requirements regarding building restrictions?

- How much are the levies per month? Remember that these are recurring expenses that will add to the pressure of owning your home monthly.

- How old is the property? This is important because the upkeep of an older house is often more expensive.

- Does the owner have valid plans for the property?

- What are the neighbours like? Have there been any complaints lodged against them? Knowing this can give you a good idea of who you will be moving in next to.

- Any important information about the local neighbourhood that is relevant, i.e. how far is the closest petrol station, what is the security like, are there any community activities, etc.

Find the right estate agent for you by using our directory of estate agents in South Africa

Remember that you can find properties around most amenities and schools by using our unique search function. For example - properties near Saint Alban's College in Pretoria

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