Beware Buyer: Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Home

Buying a home is, for most people, the biggest investment they will ever make. Just Property asked estate agents across the country about common mistakes they see buyers make and their top tips for avoiding potentially costly mistakes.

The budget blues
Johannes van den Berg, from the municipal branch N1 of Just Property (Burgundy property office), said a lack of proper planning is the most common mistake he encounters.

“When considering moving, always properly assess the value and market value of your property first. “Shopping around” in advance often forces buyers to sell urgently, often at a price below the market price.

Lindy Breytenbach, of Just Property Mossel Bay and Hartenbos, agreed, saying: “Buyers often make the mistake of making an offer on a property subject to the sale of their own home.

“Then time is wasted while they prepare to sell their current home, and they lose their dream home to a cash buyer. Instead, list your property and wait for a good offer before looking for a new home.

“For the same reason, I recommend my clients to be pre-approved for a deposit,” said Maritza van Rooyen of Just Property Durbanville.

“It ensures they know their budget and don’t fall in love with properties they can’t afford. I also explain all the costs involved – so many buyers don’t factor in transfer and other hidden costs. »

Many buyers don’t even know their credit rating, noted Tracey Hutton of Just Property Port Elizabeth.

“It’s so important. This may show that you need to take some time to improve your score before starting the bond approval process.

Another mistake buyers make is not properly investigating the flaws in their potential new home, said Lezaan Mentz of Just Property Kalahari.

“Buyers often buy with their hearts, not their heads, and it can cost them dearly down the line. The new law on real estate professionals obliges the seller to disclose defects but also gives the buyer the option of hiring professionals to inspect before buying. It’s always a sensible decision.

Debi Detleefs of Just Property Stillbaai warned against rushing into renovations before moving in.

“I’ve heard of people who spend a small fortune on large stackable windows and doors only to find later that their dream indoor-outdoor living space faces directly into the prevailing winds.

“Always visit the site at different times of the day to check the influence of the weather on living spaces, lighting and views. It’s a good idea to ask neighbors what they like about the design of their home and what they would change.

Other tips from top agents

“Forget about finding that perfect, move-in ready property. Buy a well-built home that you can afford, and change tiles, cabinetry, and finishes to fit your budget. Your home will show a better increase in value over time and you can imprint your personality on it,” Debi said.

“Oh, and if you’re not sure about anything, ask!” Never, ever assume.

Lindy said: “Avoid adding too many demands and conditions to your purchase offer. Sellers who get multiple bids on the asking price will opt for the lowest priced one. Also, treat your agent well – we go the extra mile for those who respect us.

“Before you buy, scan the area to see if values ​​are deteriorating or improving, and ask your agent for a CMA report,” Lezaan advised.

Mona Broadhurst of Just Property Alberton agreed, saying: “Research the location with a view to long-term value. Familiarize yourself with statistics on crime, schools and infrastructure in the area. Always ask for a copy of approved municipal plans, carefully check for defects and plan for interest rate increases.

“Remember to put your offer in writing – a written offer means more than a verbal offer. You don’t want to lose the perfect home because you took too long to make up your mind or just a verbal offer.

Johannes advised first-time buyers: “If you are renting, make sure you choose a rental that will still save you money for the deposit you will need when you buy one day.

“Deposits impress banks and have a positive impact on interest over the life of your home loan. And when you’re ready to buy, choose a flexible bond so that as soon as you can, you can pay more than the minimum payment. You’ll save big on long-term interest.

Maritza added, “It’s also a good idea to buy for less than the pre-approved full amount to ensure you can live comfortably while still affording the ongoing expenses of home ownership.”

“Select a personal agent to work with,” Tracey said.

“A buyer’s agent will make sure you’ve taken all the steps to prepare the buyer. They will know exactly what you are looking for and will be able to match you with the right property, sometimes even before a home comes on the market.

“Just Property agents can also help with a pre-approval check to assure our buyers what they can afford before committing or signing anything,” Martiza added.

“On the other hand, your agent can also tell you when a good deal is not a good deal and insist that the seller’s agent provide all the numbers that back up why the property is a good buy.”

Just Property CEO Paul Stevens noted that buyers rarely realize how stressful the buying process can be.

“The most important advice I can give to buyers is to work with a knowledgeable real estate professional. Sure, you can spend all day on property portals and see the houses yourself, but an agent who knows your preferred area will help you prepare your offer and with the transfer process, guiding you through what can be a difficult journey to navigate yours.”

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