Helpful tips for house hunters

By Staff Writer
Hunting for a new home can be exciting, but it can also become tedious when you don’t find what you are looking for. You may also decide to settle for a house because you don’t think that you will find what you are looking for. This guide provides some helpful tips to make house hunting easier, though there is not guarantee that you will find your dream home quickly.
 
When looking for a house, it is important that you know exactly what you are looking for, which can make the entire process much smoother if handled correctly, noted Adrian Goslett, regional director and CEO of RE/MAX Southern Africa.
 
Below are some tips that Goslett believes will make the house hunting process easier and smoother.
 
1.       Prioritise
Before you go out and start looking at houses, it is important to make a list of all the things you need in the house, and what you would like in the house (i.e. needs versus wants).
 
“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,” revealed Goslett.
 
2.       Dress comfortably and appropriately
When viewing houses, you must remember that you are entering someone’s home and that they may have habits or customs, such as removing your shoes before entering the house, which you will have to respect.
 
Goslett noted: “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.”
 
It may also make the house hunting exercise much more enjoyable if you are comfortable and not walking around in a suit or stiletto shoes.
 
3.       Bring along the right tools
It is advisable to take along a tape measure or any other tool that you think may come in handy while house hunting. This will allow you to accurately measure and see if your grandmother’s dresser will fit in the lounge, or if your dining room table is too big. However, for this to work accurately, you will need to have the dimensions of these pieces of furniture written down to take with you.
 
Goslett pointed out that taking photos of the properties that you like can also be helpful when trying to compare properties. You can note the aspects that you really like in a house and make a better comparison between the different properties. However, you must make sure that you have the home owner’s permission to take photos before you start.
 
4.       Don’t judge a book by its cover
While you want a home that is aesthetically pleasing, Goslett highlighted that you mustn’t let the home’s outward appearance put you off, but should rather focus on the location and the structure.
 
“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,” said Goslett.
 
5.       Prepare for the unexpected
There will always be a few surprises that crop up that a 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,” emphasised Goslett.
 
6.       Do not settle
When you have drawn up a list of criteria and priorities to help you on your house hunt, it is important not to settle for something that doesn’t match your criteria as purchasing a property is a long term investment.
 
“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,” highlighted Goslett.
 
7.       Get to know the area
If you are looking to purchase a property in an area that you do not know well, Goslett suggest that you try out a restaurant or bakery in the area. You could also visit the local shops where you would do your grocery shopping, places where you usually treat yourself, such as a spa or hair salon, to get a feel for the area.
 
“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,” said Goslett.
 
Click here for more information and tips for first time home buyers.

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