Building your confidence as a first-time buyer

NOVEMBER 8, 2016

Buying a house is likely the single largest investment you'll make – and the right one could be your happy home for many years. But how can you be confident when looking at properties for sale that you will make the right choice?

“Buyers’ remorse is a reality,” says Gerhard Kotzé, MD of the RealNet estate agency group, “because people do sometimes choose homes that really don’t suit them. But it is actually quite rare – and being afraid to make a decision because you’re worried you’ll make the wrong one is much worse, because it will lead you to an endless cycle of looking at homes and never owning one.

“Meanwhile prices will keep rising while you delay, and it will become more and more difficult to qualify for a home loan, especially if you are a first-time buyer.”

And, he says, there is no need to be in this position, as there are definite steps you can take to boost your confidence, improve your chances of finding the exact right home for you, and smooth your path to becoming a proud owner. Here they are:

  • Make a careful list of your basic needs and then your personal “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves” in a home. Your basic needs, for example, might be three bedrooms, a living area, a kitchen and a bathroom, but you may feel that a second bathroom and a garage are must-haves that you really don’t want to live without. Things like a study, an extra living room, an outside entertainment area or a granny flat might then go on your nice-to-have list, meaning they are not essential, but would be a nice bonus.
  • Look around your current home and note the things you most like about it, even if it is a rental property. Also note the things that don’t appeal to you. This will give you a good idea of what works for you and what you need to consider when you look at homes for sale. Also remember that what you need and like are not necessarily the same as anyone else. You may like sleek, modern, low maintenance properties, for example, while other people would just love to tackle a fixer-upper. Rather be as honest and detailed as you can about what you want, because this will really help you find the right “match”.
  • If you have a family, spend time with them and discuss what’s most important to each person when compiling your house-hunting master list. You may find, for example, that having an extra room where your teenagers can hang out with their friends suddenly moves from your nice-to-have to your must-have category. Or that you don’t really need a big garden but must have a second garage or storeroom for sports equipment. This will give you a much better chance of finding a home that everyone likes and you can all settle down comfortably for many years.
  • Plan well ahead so you don’t have to buy in a rush just to have somewhere to live. This is especially important if you are moving in with another person for the first time, or moving your family to another area or town. Make use of technology such as a synchronised calendar on your phone to help keep track of meetings and showings. Share your list with agents you meet at showdays or contact about listings for sale. They will have other homes on their books and one of them may be your perfect property.
  • And finally, be ready to commit. Seek advice from a reputable mortgage originator such as BetterLife Home Loans to make sure you have your finances in order and can qualify for a home loan before you start your search for the right home. It will give your confidence a big boost to know that when you find it, you can immediately make an offer and start the process of becoming a happy, long-term homeowner.

Issued by RealNet - for more information contact, Gerhard Kotzé on 012 460 1655 or visit www.realnet.co.za