1. Get prequalified before you buy Getting prequalified means simply getting an idea of the price range you can afford, based on your net monthly income and credit score, using ooba’s free, online prequalification tool, the ooba Bond Indicator. This prequalification is an indication of what you qualify for, based on what you input as your income and expenses, and your credit score.
2. Choose your area wisely If you have identified your ideal neighborhood and found a house or apartment that appeals, you’ve already done a lot of the legwork. If not, you’ll need to do a bit more research into the process of buying a house in SA. Ask the estate agent for a list of similar properties that have sold there in the past year. How does your future home compare? If it’s at the top of the price range it might be hard to resell, but if it’s at the lower end you can only benefit when prices of other homes begin to increase in value.
3. Talk about it Get opinions on schools in the area (even if that’s not an issue for you now, it might be when you want to resell). Good schools are a drawcard for young families. Visit the local police station and ask about crime statistics. If they’re unavailable for some reason, the estate agent may be able to assist you with that information. Neighbors and store owners in the area will also be a good source of information.
4. Assess the convenience of the location Where are the shops, police and fire stations, medical centers, schools, and hospitals in relation to your new home? Are you close to a major road or highway? Is there air traffic overhead?
5. Request documentation It’s a good idea to ask your estate agent for a copy of the documents you will be asked to sign if you decide to buy the property and read them ahead of time to make sure you understand what is expected of you. This will also help prepare you to ask questions about things that might affect your decision. If the home is under the sectional title, ask the agent to provide you with up-to-date body corporate financial statements and check that the levies are not in arrears.
6. Get a house inspection It’s worth the money to find any structural problems with the house that could cost you thousands to repair further down the line. Once you have the report you can ask the necessary experts to quote on any essential repairs. There’s no harm in getting a second opinion if you’re not happy with the inspection report. For example, if an inspector says a foundation is cracked but it’s nothing to worry about, start worrying – and get a second opinion.