Tips to consider when buying a home

12/08/2015

While buying a home is a big decision, there are also lots of small decisions to make along the way to home ownership. When it comes to purchasing property; there are some common factors to take into account when you are shopping around. 

To help you navigate the process, here are some suggestions from FNB for avoiding some of the most common mistakes.

Security - The primary consideration when buying property is, without a doubt, the security aspects. Whether it is security gates, electric fencing or an access controlled estate, make sure that the level of security is at a level you are comfortable with.

Schools - Having to drop your kids off at school and still getting to work on time can prove to be quite a significant challenge. It is therefore, important to take the extra distance into consideration and to have a grasp of the peak time traffic in the area. 

Public transport - With public transport being a huge part of our infrastructure it would also be wise to look at the different taxi, bus or train routes that would or would not be accessible from the property in question. Being within walking distance of these routes could potentially save a significant amount of time and money. 

Maintenance - Not everyone is equally handy when it comes to maintaining a property so there are certain property characteristics which make for less maintenance. Face brick properties have the benefit of not having to be painted or plastered from time to time and flat zinc roofs have more of a tendency to leak than a pitched tiled roof. Aluminum window frames are completely maintenance free whereas steel frames need to be repainted from time to time with wooden frames requiring the most maintenance. Maintenance on full title properties are always subject to the owner whereas some schemes have a body corporate which will charge a levy which normally includes maintenance.

Levies/rates - It is important to take the cost of the levy into consideration when buying property managed by a body corporate as this will increase your monthly expenses and can be quite significant. It would also be wise to ask for a statement to verify the fees and see what is included in these fees. It is also important to note what additional expenses will still be covered by the owner. Property value tax is a tax levied by the municipality based on the value of the property which is usually paid by the owner in addition to the levy.

Rules and regulations are another important aspect of properties managed by a body corporate. Each scheme has its own rules and regulations and an issue that sticks its head out very often is the allowance of pets. Some complexes have no limitation on the number or types of pets allowed whereas others do not allow pets at all. It is important that you find a property which complements your views on pets.

The responsibility of the legality of a building ultimately rests with the owner and it is therefore very important to verify that the structure is legal. Acquiring a building plan could be very useful in determining if the property is legal.

Last but not least, people often feel rushed to look at a property and feel like it is intrusive to ask a lot of questions or perhaps open a cupboard or a tap to see if everything works as assumed. Remember that buying a property is most likely one of the biggest purchases you will ever make and it is important that you make the most informed decision. Do not be hesitant to go see a property for a second time and shop around to compare the property to other properties in the area. 
Familiarise yourself with the neighbourhood and remember that no one can force you to make a purchase. You as the potential future owner should be pleased with your purchase and call your house a home.

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