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Buying a property? Ask these 10 questions first

22 Jul 2019

Property News

Brought to you by Property24

Benjamin Franklin famously said that “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. It’s a sentiment that’s often quoted and one which, you might be surprised to learn, certainly also applies to buying a property.

Property transactions are complex, with many moving parts and a lot of money at stake. To ensure you invest in a home you’ll love, ask these questions first…

“If you’re thinking of buying a property you’re likely to have a far better experience if you take the time to think through what you want and need, and plan for the best possible outcomes with the help of a trusted property advisor,” says Johan van Schalkwyk, Principal at Leapfrog Roodepoort.

The need for effective planning is simple, he explains. “Property transactions are complex, with many moving parts and a lot of money at stake. Not to mention the very significant emotional aspect that invariably comes with buying a property.”

“We’ve collated the expertise of Leapfrog’s property advisors around the country into a 10-point ‘guideline’ of questions and considerations to take into account when buying a property,” he says.

Things to be clear on before you decide to buy:

1. Can I comfortably afford this property, including agent fees, legal fees, transfer fees, monthly rates and taxes, and the general upkeep and maintenance of the property?

Number crunching is essential, and something you need to do very thoroughly and plan ahead for at least 12 months.

How much can you afford? Calculate it here.

2. What sort of property am I looking for? What am I willing to compromise on and what is absolutely non-negotiable?

Searching for the right property can be quite overwhelming, which is why it helps to have a keen sense of what you’d like - everything from the number of bedrooms to the size of the living spaces, to whether or not a garden is a necessity. Being clear about what you’d like also enables trusted property advisors to assist you more effectively.

Start your property search here.

3. What is my first choice of area? Am I clear about why I think this area suits my needs and preferences?

‘Location, location, location’ is very important, and something you want to carefully consider. This not only helps to narrow your search, but has a profound effect on your lifestyle.

4. Why is the owner selling, and how long has the property been on the market?

This is really a precautionary measure to ensure you’re aware of any potential hassles with the property or the neighbourhood.

5. How was the asking price determined?

This is a big investment and you want to make sure you’re getting the best value for money. By understanding how the asking price was determined, you’ll be in a better position to assess whether you’re getting the relevant value, or if you should consider going in with a lower (or higher) offer.

6. Are there other offers on the property?

If there are other offers on the property you may have to move swiftly if you’re interested in putting in an offer. If there are no others on the property, and particularly if the property has been on the market for a while, there is likely to be some room for negotiation around the price and the terms of the sale.

7. What renovations, if any, have been done to the property? And are the property plans available?

It’s useful to know what improvements have been made to the property as an indication of what might further need to be done. Having the property plans just makes things much easier should you want to do alterations at some point.

8. What are the neighbours and the neighbourhood in general like?

Ultimately, we all want good neighbours and to be part of a community of likeminded people. Make sure to find out what the neighbours and the neighbourhood is like, as this could also sway your decision about the suitability of the property.

9. What exactly is included in the home offer?

Was it the chandelier in the living room that really made you swoon, or the gorgeous freestanding garden pots that made you want this property? Just make about what’s included in the home offer, and what not.

10. Insist on viewing the property more than once

It is highly advisable to view the property a couple of times before submitting the offer to purchase. Often we’re overwhelmed by first impressions and spot problems only on the second or third viewing. Similarly, a property that might not bowl you over at first glance may well look and feel different the second time around.


“Using these pointers as a guideline should help make the property buying process smoother, easier and even enjoyable,” says Van Schalkwyk.

Start the search for your dream home here.

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