How to decide where to buy

26 Sep 2008

Anyone who has ever house hunted is familiar with the feeling of entering a home and thinking: "This is it".

However, says Homenet CEO Martin Schultheiss, while instinct plays an important part in a purchasing decision, it's important to try and remain objective about the area in which it's situated. A dream home could quickly become a white elephant in a declining neighbourhood.

"In this context, an experienced estate agent will be able to impart useful information that should indicate an area's prospects.

"For example, prosperous, well-attended schools are a good indicator of a thriving neighbourhood. Schools that are doing well reflect an active, dynamic community which in turn drives demand for the provision of entertainment and business nodes."

Local shopping centres are also a good indicator of how a neighbourhood is faring. A well maintained, clean shopping centre with bright, modern storefronts denotes a prosperous area. Neglected or empty shops and "closing down sale" signs are not good portents.

The type of outlet is also important, adds Shultheiss. Long-established shops which enjoy good business volumes and offer upmarket products signal stability and prosperity. Second-hand goods shops with assorted jumble, and poorly stocked convenience stores should set off alarm bells.

"Residential and commercial development within the neighbourhood surrounds also indicates confidence in the area. An area in decline is usually sidestepped by developers. And as with shops, the type of development also reveals how an area is progressing."

Buyers should also keep in mind that it is wise to buy a lesser home in a better area than a bigger home in a less prosperous neighbourhood. By doing so, a buyer's risk is lessened and prospects for a good return on investment are improved.

Lastly, he says, buyers should ask for a comprehensive market analysis (CMA) on the property they are considering buying. This should include the area's sales history for the past few years and act as a good guideline as to its future prospects.

For more information contact Martin Schultheiss on 031 266 9850 or click here to visit the website.

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  • Moving? Check out local schools.

  • How to house hunt in buyer's market.


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