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Top 10 tips for first-time home buyers

11 Jul 2019

Are you in the market for your first property? From affordability to choosing the right area, you need to carefully consider every aspect to ensure a happy and successful start to your property journey.

Ready to become a homeowner? Follow these handy tips for success...

Here are Seeff Sandton’s top 10 tips for first-time buyers:

Tip 1 - Crunch the numbers

Have a good look at your budget and your disposable income. What could you spend on a property? Remember that it's not just the home loan repayment. You'll be paying levies or insurance, rates, taxes and utilities too.

Work out how much you can afford here.

Tip 2 - Get home loan prequalification

A prequalification is a really good idea. The banks may have a more conservative estimate of your affordability. If you need a home loan, then you need to find out what you qualify for.

Also read: Applying for a home loan? Good reasons to use a bond originator

Tip 3 - Make financial adjustments

Be cut-throat with accounts and expenses. Consolidate debt, close unnecessary accounts and pay off outstanding bills. A healthy payment profile will stand you in good stead with the banks if you're applying for a home loan.

Tip 4 - Use Google Maps to expand your search

Once you've identified your favourite locations, use Google Maps to scout the immediate surrounds. Often, there are lesser-known suburbs not popularly known, but just as good.

Tip 5 - Check out traffic patterns

Visit your location at different times of the day and of the week, so that you can understand traffic patterns and other fun goings-on. Maybe there's a Parkrun in the area you didn't know about? Maybe there's a community market?

Tip 6 - Go to hotspots in the area

Visit local cafés, restaurants and shopping centres to get a feel for the neighbourhood.

Tip 7 - Think about what you want and what you need

Be specific with online searches and when talking to agents. For example, don't view a mid-floor apartment if you have a dog. Know your must-haves versus your negotiables.

Tip 8 - Work with well-known agents/agencies

They'll know the area and the properties on the market and be able to give you really good advice.

Tip 9 - Gather information

Ask for information on the suburb or on the specific estate or complex you're keen on. Good agents have access to a huge amount of information, and you can benefit from that.

Tip 10 - Always take a good look

Don't put in an offer without having seen a property, and having seen it in good light. Don't rush, and ask as many questions as you'd like to. Go see out rooms and parking spaces too. A good agent will be happy to take you for a second viewing.

Bonus tip - Remember, an offer to purchase is binding

Don't offer what you cannot commit to. There may be financial penalties if you 'back out' unfairly. A good agent can guide you in this regard.

Start the search for your dream home here.

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