Buying a house, particularly your first home, is a time consuming, stressful and expensive purchase. You need to be sure to get it right. Much research is required to ensure you buy the right house, in the right neighbourhood and at the right price. Here are a few tips to make the process that little bit easier.
Start saving right now
The first important step to take when thinking about buying a house is to start saving for a deposit. Some banks don’t require you to pay a deposit, but putting down money will save you thousands of rands in interest and many months of time. Aim to have a deposit of at least 10% saved by the time you’re ready to buy. Saving money is never easy, but the earlier you start the easier it becomes. If you’re hoping to buy a flat for R500 000, make sure to have at least R50 000 saved. You can easily achieve that by stashing away R2 000 a month for two years.
Be sure of what you can afford
Before you spend too much time shopping around, you need to be sure of what you can afford. Use an affordability or bond repayment calculator to calculate what you can spend on a house based on your income. Using the calculators you can also work out how much of an impact a deposit will make on your repayment process. You can also check how much money you could save if you choose to pay a little extra money into your bond each month.
Find out about the area
Most potential home buyers have a very firm idea in mind about the area they’d like to live in. It could be an area you’ve lived in before, one close to thier work or where the best schools in the area are situated. You need to carefully consider your lifestyle and how the choice of neighbourhood will impact that. If you enjoy being outdoors, a more rural area could be ideal. If you crave noise, action and culture, a city setting could tick all the boxes. It is also important to consider crime statistics, schooling results, access to transport and resale value.
Talk to the neighbours
There are some details about the area which only people living there could know. Is the traffic in the street impossible to negotiate because of a nearby school? Does the nearby take-away restaurant leave the air filled with oily, greasy aromas? Is the area directly underneath the flightpath of every incoming and outgoing airplane? Knowing these seemingly small details could have a significant impact on your life. It is important to know about these before it is too late.
You may have dreams of high ceilings, views of the surrounding mountains, and parquet flooring. But if your budget only stretches to parking lot views and old carpets, you need to be realistic. Champagne taste on a beer budget won’t get you far when house hunting. Knowing what you can afford and where you should be looking will make the house-hunting process that much easier.