While we’re definitely seeing a buyers’ market in ‘sought-after’ areas with more stock available, the price range that was most popular when interest rates were at their lowest (R1.5 - R1.8 million) is still very active. It is possible that buyers bought at their max and are now finding it hard to keep up with the repayments now that the interest rate, property rates, petrol prices, and food prices have risen.
Pre-approved or cash buyers should keep an eye open for the excellent value that might become available due to sellers being under pressure from rising interest rates and the increasing cost of living.
Buyers need to ensure they do sufficient research on the area they are thinking of investing in, making sure that it is safe and their money is secure. Check for aspects such as vacant land in the vicinity, safety, schools, access to the area, etc. Of course, the best way to know if what looks like a great deal is, in fact, a bargain is to have an experienced agent on board who can advise you on the true value of a home.
Similarly, time-pressured sellers have never needed professional property practitioners more. Find someone you can trust to price your property competitively, negotiate hard to get the best price for your home and see the “cheeky” offers for what they are.
If you are serious about selling and getting the best possible advice, service and expertise, commit to the agent with a sole mandate and they will, in turn, commit to you!
When choosing an agent to market your home, get referrals from friends, by all means, but also get a few valuations done by other agents. This way, you will meet a selection of agents, see them at work, and get a real feel for the one you believe will do the best job for you. Just because an agent sold your friend's home doesn’t mean they are the right person to sell your biggest asset.
If an agent has done a valuation for you it does not mean you have to use them, so don’t be bullied. Go with your gut and choose who you feel you can work with and who will do the best job for you.
My second top tip when putting your home on the market is not to do major renovations - after all, you won’t be there to enjoy them. A good cleaning and decluttering will go a long way to making your home look appealing to a buyer. Don’t forget basics like cutting the lawn! Just Property has a great guide that I share with my clients in this regard: 21 Ways to make buyers fall in love with your property.
To buyers, buying a property is often the biggest investment you will ever make. Take your timeto look around each home you visit, and remember, you are not buying someone else's furniture, you are buying their home. So, imagine each room bare of the seller’s furniture. Are you happy with those fittings and finishes?
Finally, a good bond originator is invaluable. They will give you a good indication of what you can afford and will fight the banks for the best rates. You may find that doesn’t come from the one you’ve banked with for 20 years!
Most importantly, buyers should know their budget and what they can afford in terms of monthly instalments. Don’t max out your budget - unforeseen events are exactly that, unforeseen. So, make sure you have enough to continue saving as well as paying your bond. Use a reputable bond originator to get you the best interest rate possible from the banks.
First, find a reputable agent in the area you are interested in. Scour the Google reviews of various agents and decide which agent or agents you would like to work with. Find out more about the areas you would like to invest in and the demographics of the area.
When viewing properties, ask the agent to give you a sales history of other homes sold on that road. This will help you know whether the area would be a great investment area or not.
If your agent recommends a “messy” property, try not to be put off. Look beyond clutter and visualise whether there is potential. Ask as many questions as possible. It is the agent's responsibility to point out all defects on the property, but it is also advisable for buyers to thoroughly inspect the house to make sure there are no defects that might have been missed.
Check specifically for security in and around the property as well as the general feel of the area. Make sure the property has enough natural light, as dark properties tend to draw higher electricity bills because of the amount of lighting and heating required. Find out if there is fibre in the area. If relevant, check whether the property is pet friendly.
My best advice to buyers is to always look for opportunities to buy in a new development where transfer costs are included in the purchase price. This could amount to a serious saving, especially for first-time buyers. Currently, we have numerous opportunities with varying pricing to accommodate buyers in the Tableview area.
My top tip to tenants is that they should always investigate whether the property they will be renting has the option to renew after the fixed term of the rental. This will allow them to plan long-term and not find themselves searching for a property again after the fixed term. With the current influx of people semi-grating to the Western Cape, good rental properties are becoming harder to find.
When buying, consider the neighbours. You know, when you rent, that you are only there for a short time and can easily move if your neighbours are nosey nellies or party animals. But if you buy a property only to find out that your neighbours are the pits, it's much less easy to sell and doing so may well not be in your financial best interests. A meet and greet with the neighbours before signing that OTP is a very good idea.