Tags: buying a home
A sound way of determining if your house is market-ready is to ask yourself: would you buy your own home?
That’s according to Richard Gray, CEO of Harcourts Real Estate South Africa, who says it’s a question that calls for an honest answer, best arrived at by an objective analysis of its best and worst features.
“And if you find it difficult to be objective, get input from someone else who will be honest,” he adds, “since an honest answer will help you arrive at a realistic selling date as well as an achievable selling price.”
Sellers generally don’t see their homes with the same eyes of prospective buyers, he continues. “Broken windows, peeling paintwork, missing roof tiles, sagging gates and mould in the shower – these tend to go unnoticed by owners after a while. Yet, they are detractors that will stand out a mile to buyers,…
If you’re looking for a home with fewer maintenance requirements, or perhaps a house in the suburbs isn’t in your budget, then a sectional title townhouse may be just the answer.
“But there are a few pros and cons you should really think about before you commit to a purchase,” says Richard Gray CEO of real estate group Harcourts Africa.
On the positive side, choosing a townhouse may give you the opportunity to live in a more upmarket area than you could afford if you were to buy an ordinary house.
“In addition, the levy payable in sectional title complexes often covers the upkeep of communal amenities such as a swimming pool, braai areas, tennis courts, clubhouse, gym and laundry as well as the security provisions, and having the use of such facilities without having to worry about their maintenance or repair suits many people very well.”
The two major purchases most often considered by young people when they first acquire financial independence are a new car and a home – but for many it comes down to a choice between the two, because they can’t afford both at once.
“And we strongly believe they should opt for the property – as should more established families who perhaps already own a car and a home, but because of budgetary constraints have to choose either a bigger car or a better home,” says Richard Gray, CEO of Harcourts Africa.
Reacting to the news that new car sales have shot up by more than 30% over the past year, he says: “This is seen as being a good sign for the economy, but I’m concerned that it may not be so great in terms of the financial future of many consumers.
“The fact is that homes appreciate over…
All over the world, people are seeking out neighbourhoods that offer them the possibility of a quieter life, a safer environment in which to bring up their children and a chance to be more “connected” with their community.
“And the effect this has on home values,” says Harcourts Africa CEO Richard Gray, “is very evident from the premiums that homebuyers are prepared to pay to live in golf estates and other gated developments, not just in SA but in many other countries.
“But this doesn’t mean that traditional suburbs and towns cannot be just as attractive – if their residents are prepared to co-operate in the same way as people do in sectional title complexes and estates.”
Many benefits can flow from something as simple as a friendly greeting when out walking the dog or when new neighbours move in, he says, including things like shared school trips…
When you buy into a sectional title (ST) scheme, it is important to realise that you are not only buying a home, but also buying into the culture, economic status and rules of the complex.
“Many buyers only start looking at the management and conduct rules of a complex after they have bought a home there and moved in,” says Harcourts Africa CEO Richard Gray, “and then find to their dismay that there are quite a few items that they don’t like at all.”
The standard management and conduct rules, he explains, are set down in annexures to the Sectional Titles Act. They specify the procedures for the running and administration of ST schemes, and set out guidelines for the conduct of owners as well as their guests and tenants.
“However, amendments can be made to these rules in individual schemes, and it is here that uninformed buyers may run…
Crime is decreasing in SA and, thanks to a R2bn allocation in the latest national Budget, police numbers are to be increased by a further 12 000 – but that does not mean that homeowners can afford to get lax about security.
“The latest available crime statistics, which show a significant drop in violent crimes, are very encouraging,” says Harcourts Africa CEO Richard Gray, “as is the fact that the government is putting really significant resources into safety and security.
“However, we don’t believe this means that the private security companies are going to go out of business any time soon – or that security considerations should now take a back seat when people are house hunting or trying to sell their property.”
For example, he says, those who are considering buying a home in a security complex or estate should not just assume it will be crime-free because…
Buyers who are fortunate enough to find a home that meets their needs early on in their search should consider themselves lucky and have no hesitation in making an offer.
So says Harcourts CEO Richard Gray, who notes: “Sometimes people make the mistake of not buying a home that is right for them because they have only viewed a few properties and they are worried that they might miss out on a better property or a similar one at a better price.
“The truth is, though, that there is no set period in which prospective buyers should expect to find the ‘right’ property – and no set number of homes they should view before deciding to buy. Some will be lucky and find exactly what they want in a week or two, while others can take months.”
However, he says, while hunting for a new home is generally exciting and…
Toll roads are the big issue for many consumers at the moment – especially in Gauteng – and they are set to have a major impact on home buying and renting patterns.
So says Harcourts Africa CEO Richard Gray, who notes: “Hundreds of thousands of people travel between Johannesburg and Pretoria every day, many of them living in one city and working in the other, and it is estimated that such commutes will add at least R1000 a month per vehicle to the monthly household budget.
“And the situation will no doubt be much the same for those commuting between the East Rand and West Rand, or between the southern suburbs of Johannesburg and Sandton or Midrand.”
Even those using buses and taxis will be affected because fares will rise to cover the new tolls, he says, “and if you add these new costs to already rising fuel prices,…
If you’ve already taken the big decision to stop renting and buy a home of your own this year, the next thing you’ll need to work on is saving a deposit.
This is of course not easy, says Harcourts Africa CEO Richard Gray, but there are several ways to speed things up – starting with a detailed, written household budget.
“You first need to make sure that you are in a positive cash flow position, with more money coming in than going out, and it really helps to write down absolutely everything you spend for a month or two. You will then be able to see exactly where you are spending more than you should – or if you are shortchanging yourself with regard to necessary items like food and transport.
Next, he says, you should focus on getting rid of debt such as credit card or store card…
Up to 50% of the potential homebuyers in any area come from outside that area, whether it’s from across town, from another city or from overseas, and they are unlikely to be exposed to the local marketing efforts of sellers who decide to “go it alone”.
So says Harcourts Africa CEO Richard Gray, who notes that this is one of the strongest reasons for those who are trying to sell their homes to work with an agent from a large real estate group that can also provide national and international exposure for their properties.
“In tough times,” he says, “property sellers will of course consider everything they might be able to do to improve the chances of achieving a sale, and quite a number will think of going the DIY or for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) route, believing that if they save the sales commission and drop the price accordingly, their properties…