4 Tips to make buying your first home easier

Buying a home is always exciting. This is especially true if it’s your first home. But it’s also stressful, takes a lot of your time and, certainly, costs a lot of money. This is why you need to be sure that you get it right. It’s not the kind of purchase that you can easily return if you change your mind. A lot of research is required to be sure that you’re buying the right house, in the correct neighbourhood and at a price that suits you.

Importantly, when buying a house, you need to be sure that it feels right. Whether you feel it in your heart, mind or gut, you need to make sure you’re comfortable and confident with your decision. To help you get started on what can sometimes be a long and tricky choice, here are a few tips.

Are you sure you’ll be living in it for a while?

If you buy a home and have to move soon afterwards, it’s possible you may lose out on a lot of money. Try to be certain, as much as you possibly can, that you’re going to be living there for at least five to 10 years. This is how long it takes to ensure you’ve recouped your buying and selling costs. Bond and transfer costs can be quite pricey, so it’s essential that you’re sure you won’t lose all of this money. If you do have to move soon after buying due to a family emergency or job opportunity, you might have to consider keeping the property and renting it out in order to ensure you don’t lose money. Of course, if you decide to rent it out, you’ll need to consult law guides around buying or selling property to make sure you know your rights and responsibilities as a landlord.

Ensure you have enough money saved for a deposit

Before you even think about looking at properties and dreaming about your favourites, it’s important that you start saving enough for a deposit. There are some banks which don’t require you to put down a deposit depending on your financial situation, but many banks do require at least a 10% deposit. After all, putting down a deposit will save you many thousands of rands, so it’s in your best interest to be able to put this amount down. Saving money is not easy, but there’s always at least one thing that everyone can cut out of their budget. Try quitting, for instance, that daily habit of takeaway coffee or lunch, try to give up smoking or resist your propensity to enjoy after work drinks each evening.

Know what you can really afford

It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of buying a home. But before you let yourself get swept up by large windows letting in lots of natural light and freshly refurbished wooden floors, it’s important that you know what you can really afford. Estate agents will try and sell you the biggest and most expensive house possible. It’s up to you to know what you can truly afford when factoring in extras like insurance, maintenance and the cost of moving. That way, you’ll have all the information at hand when seeing agents and can prevent yourself being talked into buying more than you can afford.

Know what you need versus what you want

Yes, you might dream of having a five-bedroom home with three bathrooms and plenty of space to relax. But do you really need all those things? If you’re a single person with no plans to settle down and have children within the next 10 years, you likely don’t need such a big house. But if you do think that’s a possibility within the near future, be sure to shop for a little more space. Knowing what you truly need versus all of those nice-to-haves will make it so much more simple to buy your first home. Write down your list of wants and needs. Consider taking it with you when you go to viewings so that you can write down notes about each house you see. When you see five different houses on one day, they can soon start to blend together and you’ll quickly forget details about each house.

Carefully choose the neighbourhood you want to buy in

You might already know where you’d like to buy. But have you really thought about the logistics of living there? Sometimes, something as simple as living in the same street as a school can severely impact your lifestyle due to traffic you hadn’t been expecting. It’s really important that you think about your lifestyle and how the neighbourhood you live in will impact that. For instance, you may enjoy spending your free time outdoors. A small apartment in the city would therefore not be ideal. And if you do enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city, living out in a rural area wouldn’t quite suit you. Don’t forget to also check out essentials like crime statistics, resale value and nearby amenities.