Are you too young to buy your first property?

Aug 7, 2017 8:41:46 PM Share this:

Are you too young to buy your first property?

The short answer is no. If you have the financial means and qualify, then investing in property in your early 20s and 30s might be one of the best decisions of your young adult life,” says Richard Gray, Harcourts Africa Chief Executive Officer.

“Strangely enough, the majority of first-time home buyers are in their 40s and 50s, when they are already overloaded with a myriad of financial responsibilities, families, businesses, or other investments, which means they will either have to work longer to pay off their mortgages or enter retirement with a substantial amount of debt hanging over their heads.”

Gray says buying property in your 20s when you have very few to no financial commitments means that you are ahead of the pack, and will have a solid investment by the time you are ready to start a family.

However, buying property is not just about qualifying for the bond, but also ensuring you can actually afford everything it entails.

Aside from your bond, there are monthly rates, taxes, levies, and of course the upkeep. If you are planning to have tenants, making use of a reliable real estate agent ensures that your property is well looked after while you continue your studies, travel the world or climb the corporate ladder.

“Property is not just an investment, it's a 20- to 30-year financial commitment, and without the proper financial planning, your investment could very well provide you with more pain than joy,” says Gray.

“That being said, by doing your research, educating yourself and enlisting the help of professionals, such as financial planners or mortgage brokers, you should be able to make an informed decision based on facts instead of making a spur of the moment emotional decision based on what's ‘trendy’.”


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Topics: Buying, Harcourts South Africa

9 Ways To Make Your Home Much More Attractive To Buyers

Mar 6, 2017 11:01:07 PM Share this:

Purchasing a home is both a financial and emotional decision so the look and feel of your home will be an important factor in attracting interested buyers. Here are our top tips for helping you make your home more attractive to buyers

1. First impressions count
What will people see the first time they walk up to your house? Make sure your property has ‘curbside appeal’ with a well-maintained fence, driveway, letterbox, front door, lawns, hedging, and exterior. Outdoor living is a big selling point so make your outdoor space inviting.

2. Declutter
Remove clutter from your home and put it in storage. This includes oversized or too much furniture, large bench top appliances, and personal items like photographs, CDs, books and magazines. This will make your home appear bigger and allow buyers to picture themselves in the space.

3. The personal touch
Your house should feel like a home. Once you’ve decluttered, a few personal touches such as flowers, a bowl of fruit on your kitchen counter, and a pot plant here and there will do wonders to help buyers feel like your property could be their dream home.

4. Freshen up your walls with a coat of paint
Use a neutral, light shade to make your home appear more spacious. This also gives prospective buyers a blank canvas to visualise what they would do with a room. Don’t forget to paint or varnish the doors too.

5. Make your home sparkle
Clean every room in your home, including the windows inside and out. In particular, ensure your bathroom sparkles, remove any mould and replace your shower curtain. While you’re cleaning, you should eliminate the source of any unpleasant odours inside and outside your home. A bad smell will quickly turn off prospective buyers.

6. Do necessary repairs
Buyers don’t want to spend their time or money doing repairs to a home they’ve just bought. You can remove that barrier by fixing anything off its hinges, replacing broken tiles, repairing holes in walls etc. Replace threadbare carpet and ensure wooden floors are well maintained. Give your home some TLC so that buyers know that it’s been well looked after.

7. Kitchens sell houses
If you can afford to invest a bit of capital before you sell, spend it in the kitchen. Reface or replace your cabinetry and upgrade counter tops. If you’re whiteware is old, consider renting modern appliances.

8. Brighten your home
Aim for soft lighting throughout the home and bright light in the kitchen and bathroom. Use lamps to brighten dark corners. If you have old curtains or blinds, take them down and replace them with basic cotton or linen ones and make sure they are tied back to make the most of any natural light. Make sure you replace burnt out light bulbs.

9. Pets
We love our pets but not everybody else does. Be aware that many people have allergies to, or are simply not used to animals. Keep them out of the way when prospective buyers are visiting your home.

It may sound like a lot of work, but doing these simple things, can really pay dividends by helping you to attract interested buyers. Remember, you’re not just selling a property but a potential new lifestyle for the homeowner so put yourself in their shoes when preparing your home for sale.

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Topics: Selling, Buying, home improvements

Get more than a first impression from open houses

Jan 13, 2017 5:54:00 PM Share this:

Open houses give you a great first impression of a property and you’ll know almost immediately if it’s one you want to pursue.

But that first visit can be much more than a “once over lightly” impression. How do you make sure you’re getting as much information from it as possible? Use the time to perform a thorough first property inspection. Later on, you’ll want to engage professionals to inspect the building’s structure and health, but it’s a good idea to use your initial tour of the home to see some things for yourself.

  1. The Structure
    At any given open house, chances are the current owners will have presented the property in the best possible light. They will have cleaned, perhaps added a new coat of paint, or had the home staged. Whilst these things will help you to appreciate what the home could look like for you, at this stage, it’s more important to focus on the dwelling’s structure. Look for:
  • Damage from pests. Recent termite damage in wooden structures is a huge red flag. Have a look for bores through wooden frames, or dirt tubes in the foundation or exterior walls that hint to borer infestation.
  • Poor construction. Windows and doors that jar, or cracks in the walls around them are both signs of poor construction.
  • Wet spots on walls or ceilings. Condensation within the home can lead to mould build-up, timber decay, leaks, corrosion, or even loss of structural integrity.
  • Cracks in the foundation. Some small cracks in a home’s foundation can be harmless, but large cracks either running down the foundation or across could mean a home is shifting, which can cause significant structural damage over time. If you see anything, mention it to your professional building inspector.
  1. The Location

You may be attracted to the area, but take a look at the property’s exact location for things that may bother you over the long-term, hurt re-sale value, or cause issues. Things to consider are:

  • Is it on a busy main road? Houses on main roads can attract lower prices than those on quieter, private and less congested roads. You’ll also have to get used to the noise of heavy traffic.
  • Is it next to a retail or commercial space. This can create high levels of traffic and additional noise, depending on the type of business and its operating hours. Also be mindful of properties next to land that may be zoned as retail or commercial. Talk to your Realtor® about what zoning around the property means for potential development.
  • Is the property near railway lines? A home close to public transport is always convenient, but a home that shares a
    border with a train line, for example can cause a lot of excess noise, potentially hurt re-sale value.
  • Are there power lines over the land/property? Sometimes found on larger parcels of land, power lines have been known to drop property prices.
  1. The Surroundings

Take note of the neighbouring properties on each adjoining border for any clues you might not be comfortable long term.

  • Are the neighbours’ yards neat and tidy? It might not directly impact on the property, but what about when it comes time to sell the property? Would untidy yards next to yours reflect poorly on the area?
  • Do they have pets? It might not be an issue, particularly if you have pets of your own. Is a neighbour’s dog barking non-stop during the inspection? Is there evidence of pet damage to shared fences or common areas?
  • Do you have a comfortable level of privacy? Take a look at different angles around the home, particularly on smaller blocks or apartments. Are you too close to neighbours? Can you hear them through the walls? Are certain windows placed directly opposite a neighbour’s window? Is the property fenced off from neighbours?
  • Is the property on a flood plain? Depending on the city and climate, the potential of flooding on the property will vary. Houses within the same street can be impacted differently by flood waters. If you have concerns talk to your Realtor, property inspector or local expert.

It’s important to remember that none of these things always have to be immediate deal breakers on a property. It’s about arming yourself with as much information as possible so you can make an informed decision and end up with a property you are happy with. Once you have made your first visit and if you decide you wish to proceed in making an offer, seek good legal, building and financial advice from the experts.


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Topics: Selling, Open Homes, Buying

Sky-high prices prompt ‘feeding frenzy’ on Atlantic Seaboard

Nov 23, 2015 9:46:33 PM Share this:

This magnificent modern home in Nettleton Road in Clifton on the Atlantic Seaboard is being marketed by Harcourts for the “bargain” price of R39m. The area is known for having some of the highest priced real estate in SA, and homes in Nettleton Road inevitably offer spectacular ocean views. A home in this road recently made headlines when it sold for R110m.

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Topics: Selling, Buying

Savvy cash buyers snap up Alberton homes

Nov 23, 2015 9:33:23 PM Share this:

Alberton’s central location and its proximity to good schools and employment opportunities is attracting an influx of cash buyers in search of affordable accommodation.

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Topics: Buying

Should you buy your childhood home?

Nov 11, 2015 10:19:05 PM Share this:

There are all sorts of reasons why you might want to buy the property you grew up in, but you shouldn’t let your head rule your heart.

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Topics: Buying

Leave no room for home buyer's remorse

Aug 31, 2015 5:21:58 PM Share this:

You can return most things you buy if you discover that they don’t fit or don’t work, but if you buy the wrong home, the chances are that you’ll be stuck with it for several years – or have to pay quite a price to correct your mistake.

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Topics: Buying