Deciding which home to buy - compare apples with apples

There are a number of factors which need to be considered when making a residential property purchase, not the least of which is whether you will achieve medium to long term sound capital growth on your investment, says Carol Reynolds, Pam Golding Properties area principal for Durban, Durban North and La Lucia.

Priced at R4.99 million through Pam Golding Properties, this grand upper Durban North colonial-styled home has five all en suite bedrooms including two separate flatlets, three large reception rooms, bar and family-sized granite and wood kitchen with scullery. A large covered verandah with built-in braai overlooks a tranquil park-like garden and swimming pool. The property includes numerous outbuildings, double automated garage, double carport and excellent security.
She says you may be acquiring a property as your primary residence, in which case the location of the property in relation to access to the workplace, schools and amenities is extremely important as this will impact on your daily lifestyle. Or you may be buying a property as a buy to let investment, where you need to consider the appeal of the area and the property for tenants, as well as the rental income it can achieve.
“Once you have done your homework, and narrowed down your search to a specific area or areas, you will also have decided if you wish to buy and renovate – bearing in mind the need to avoid over-capitalising, or if you prefer to acquire a property which requires little or no renovation. Acquisition costs of the latter may be higher, particularly in an area which is in high demand, however, this will be offset by the potential for good capital growth of the investment over the longer term.”

Situated at an excellent address in Durban North with sea views, swimming pool and tennis court, this character residence has six bedrooms, four bathrooms and numerous entertaining options -including a billiard table guest suite. It is priced at R5.9 million through Pam Golding Properties.

She says when it comes to comparing one or more residential properties with a view to making that final purchase decision, it is important to try and compare apples with apples. “The first place to start is with the area or suburb. Consult a professional agent and ask for a comparative market analysis so you can ensure that the properties are situated in similar areas that attract similar prices. If one property lies in an area with a lower price ceiling than the other, then accordingly, you can deduct a proportionate percentage off the asking price.”
The next aspect to consider is the size and number of bedrooms. “A two bedroom apartment will always be worth more than a one bedroom apartment. Similarly, a four bedroom home will be worth more than a three bedroom home, even if the houses are of similar size.”

Located in Durban North with scenic valley views, this three bedroom three bathroom family home with large wrap-around covered verandah and open plan Caesarstone kitchen also offers income generation with two newly renovated cottages. In addition, it has a separate office, laundry and gym, teenpad, scullery and swimming pool. This property is priced at R3.25 million through Pam Golding Properties.

She says the third factor is the condition of the property and the finishes – the better the condition, the higher the price tag. In this regard, bathrooms and kitchens always carry the most weight. “The next factor to consider is extras or special features such as pools, sea views or garden cottages. All of these will add value,” says Reynolds.
“Finally, and most importantly, security is a priority and so the demand for secure properties is high. To illustrate this: if you have two identical homes and one is freestanding while the other is in a security estate, you will be able to add around 15 -20 percent in value to the property situated in the estate.”

Stylish and elegant, this magnificent four bedroom (all en suite) home is set in an expansive manicured garden in a prime location with sea and city views and within walking distance of Clifton School in Morningside, Durban. With numerous reception rooms, huge eat-in kitchen and deep covered patio with built-in gas braai, high ceilings, ducted air conditioning and a spacious upstairs pyjama lounge, the property includes a spacious two bedroom cottage with large open plan living areas, guest suite/gym/offices above the double garage, staff accommodation plus a second double garage, swimming pool , training pool and plenty of drive-in access. This exceptional home is priced at R11 million through Pam Golding Properties.
She says there is also a general rule of thumb when it comes to supply and demand in the property market: The lower the price tag, the greater the buyer pool and the higher the demand. “Therefore, the value you achieve per million rand after a certain point tends to shift. For example, the difference between a R2 million home and a R3 million home is vast – the R2 million home will probably only have three bedrooms, it won’t be in the best area and finishes will be simple. At R3 million the home will probably have four bedrooms, a swimming pool, be situated in a better area, have better finishes and the difference between the two homes will be very noticeable.
“Once you start reaching the higher price bands, the differences between for example a R6 million home and a R7 million home are not as noticeable. Often this is where finishes, security and area or location carry the most weight. Both of these homes will be comparable in terms of size, number of bedrooms and finishes, but the one with the higher price tag will be in a better area with better security.”
“In a nutshell”, says Reynolds, “at the bottom end of the market property size and number of bedrooms carry the most weight. At the top end of the market, where most homes have a similar number of bedrooms and are of similar size, this is where area and security really become the key differentiators.”

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