Finding the perfect home


Choosing the right home for you

Choosing the right home for you

The expectation that interest rates are likely to hold steady for a few months before dropping towards the end of the year is good news for aspirant buyers who want to make 2024 the year they buy a new home. An investment in a property is one of the most significant purchases you are likely to make, so it’s important to carefully consider all aspects of the homebuying process.

Count the costs

The cost of buying a home extends beyond the monthly bond repayments. Not only are there additional costs associated with buying a home – such as transfer duties and conveyancing fees – but you also need to factor in ongoing expenses such as rates and taxes, and levies if you are buying a sectional title property. You will also need to add utility costs, internet and other maintenance costs to your monthly budget.

Home sweet home

Be sure about your needs when deciding on the type of home you want to buy. While a freestanding home offers flexibility and space, a sectional title property may provide additional security with the benefits of communal living spaces. Lifestyle estates often appeal to families who want access to a range of amenities in a safe environment. Buying off-plan or in a new development is a good way of cutting costs because you won’t have to pay transfer costs.

Lifestyle choices

A home is about more than bricks and mortar; it’s about adopting a lifestyle that living in a particular area offers. If your family enjoys outdoor activities, a luxury estate with cycle paths and walking trails may be a good option. Families with children will look to live in an area with a choice of good schools. Other lifestyle considerations include proximity to entertainment such as restaurants and night spots, medical facilities and even shopping centres. For many buyers, distance from public transport is also a priority when deciding where to live.

As safe as houses

You love the house, but do you know enough about the safety of the area? Do your research by asking your estate agent and chatting to neighbours about recent crime incidents. Review the latest crime statistics published quarterly by the South African Police Services. Visit the neighbourhood’s Facebook page for an idea of common community complaints and concerns. Red flags include proximity to streams or railway lines that often double as escape routes.

Do your research

Chat to residents in the area about their experiences of living there. Ask whether the municipal services are satisfactory and whether there is an effective neighbourhood watch. Ask your estate agent for a list of recent sales in the area and find out how long the property you have your eye on has been on the market. According to the FNB Property Barometer for January, the average time properties are on the market remained largely unchanged at 81 days, or 11 weeks and four days, in the last quarter of 2023. FNB also reports that agents surveyed said that 63% of listed properties take at least three months to sell during this period, an improvement from the 67% reported in the third quarter of last year.

Beware the bells and whistles

It’s easy to get sidetracked by nice-to-have features like rim swimming pools and cinema rooms. But if these bells and whistles add to your prospective home’s price without fulfilling your family’s primary needs, they may be an unnecessary expense. Rather focus on features that will save money and add value to your home. Solar panels and an inverter, for example, will go a long way to reducing your monthly electricity bill. They may also increase the value of your property by up to eight percent.

Stay connected

Make sure the home is fibre-enabled or has Wi-Fi installed. Not only is this important for working from home and for smart home automation, but connectivity is also essential if you want to rent your property. Tenants will often choose a property based on the quality of the connectivity.

Room to move

Think about your needs and how much space you need. If you’re planning on expanding your family, look for a home that has options for additional bedrooms and play areas. If you have older parents who may need to move in with you, a home with a standalone cottage or a granny flat might be an option.

Fixer-upper or new build?

While the notion of renovating a home to meet your requirements sounds romantic, it can be a costly and time-consuming process. Be honest about your expectations and your budget for renovations when buying a new home.


Avoid rushing into a decision when buying a new home. Work with a bond originator who can negotiate with multiple banks for a more competitive interest rate and who can provide online bond pre-approval so that you know how much you can afford to spend on a new home before you start house hunting. When it comes to making this all-important purchase, knowledge really is power. An informed choice will not only save you money monthly and over your bond repayment period, it will also ensure that you find your dream home.

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