Beginning the journey to find the right home is an exciting time for buyers, although in today’s competitive market with a limited number of homes available for purchase, it might take buyers some time to find exactly what they are looking for. However, says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, while the house hunt can take time, it is an important part of the process that can be much smoother if handled in the right manner.
Goslett provides potential buyers with some tips for surviving their house hunt:
- Prioritise: Before starting to look for home, it is important to sit down and set priorities. “The buyer needs to decide which aspects of a home are most important and which aren’t. If the buyer is purchasing a home with their partner or has a family, each party involved should have a say in the discussion to determine which features are musts and which are simply wants. This will make it much easier to narrow down the search to a list of favourites and make compromises that fit into the budget,” says Goslett.
- Wear the appropriate clothing: When spending the day looking at homes it is best to wear comfortable shoes, preferably ones that are easy to take off and put back on. “Certain homeowners may want buyers to remove their shoes before entering the home, so having shoes that are easy to slip on and off are advisable,” says Goslett.
- Remember to bring the right tools: A tape measure is an excellent tool for taking the guess work out of house hunting. “Rather than trying to figure out whether or not a piece of furniture fits in a particular space, just take a tape measure and find out. A smartphone or tablet are also great items to have along to take photos of the home to refer back to later. When the buyer has viewed several properties, photos will help to compare and distinguish between them,” says Goslett.
- Don’t let the home’s aesthetics cloud judgement: While everyone wants a home that is aesthetically pleasing, it is important to look beyond the home’s outward appearance and focus on other aspects such as its location and structure. Goslett says that the look of a home can be changed, but it is vital that the home has the right bones and can accommodate the buyer’s needs.
- Brace yourself for the unexpected: When purchasing a property there might be some things that the buyer cannot prepare for. It might be a matter of the buyer discovering a defect in the home or issues that they are not prepared to take on and decide to walk away from the deal. Whatever the reasoning, a buyer needs to be prepared for the fact that things won’t always go smoothly. This is why buyers should be as prepared as possible before making an offer to purchase, which is legally binding, and make sure all checks have been undertaken beforehand.
- Stick to your criteria: In a market with limited homes available for sale it may be tempting for a buyer to settle if they can’t find exactly what they are looking for, but it is important to remember that purchasing a property is a long term decision. “Most people will stay in their home for at least seven to ten years, so settling will mean living with the compromises for an extended period of time. Even if it takes a while longer to find the right home, it is better to stick to your guns and not compromise on those must-haves,” advises Goslett.
- Enjoy the process and treat yourself: If the buyer is looking for a property in an area that they have never stayed in before, they should make a point of trying out one of the local restaurants, bakeries, spas or coffee shops. “This is a great way of getting to know the area better and what it has to offer, it is also a great way to make the weekend house-hunting excursion a lot nicer,” Goslett concludes.
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