How to shop for a new home

by Caroline Orange

Are you embarking on a journey to buy a new home? If yes, then you must surely be excited and perhaps rather anxious at the same time. We all get very excited when we look forward to shopping for your dream home. First things first though – the key is to do your homework, and then plan and organize your home buying process to ensure that your journey is rewarding, concise and most of all enjoyable. Here are a few valuable tips you need to bear in mind.

Calculate how much
you can afford
If you are a first time-buyer, checking your finances is a good starting point. Points to consider are as to whether you are looking to buy a bachelor or two-bedroom flat, or a three-bedroom house that will accommodate your family. Check your preference while at the same time look at what you can afford at the end of the day. This is the part where you have to be realistic, as buying and owning a home is a long-term investment.

Draw up a wish list
It is always best to define your needs before embarking on a house hunting expedition. So, the best is to start by creating a wish list that outlines your preferences – and also indulge in a little soul searching before you begin your house hunt. While doing this soul searching process it is also best to distinguish between what your must-have features are from the nice-to-have features of your dream home. What are your interests and lifestyle habits? Do you prefer a home that just caters for you and your partner or do you want to have a big family who would require a bigger house? The options are many, but the trick is to know what you want from the start.



Work with a real estate agent
Whether you are buying a new home or a preowned/preoccupied home , it is always best to work with a professional real estate agent. The benefit of this is that such a professional will also give you valuable advice and insights into the entire home buying process as he or she has worked with numerous banks, home buyers and sellers in the market.

Look for the house that suits your needs
Although it can be fun, house searching can be a daunting task, especially for new home buyers. Yet this is the time to keep your eyes peeled and ears on the ground where you will gain a feel of the housing properties that you will visit and inspect. When visiting your model home, you’ll also open up the world of options and upgrades. One big tip here is that you need to also establish how much you can comfortably afford and give thought to what features are most important to you and others in the home.

Save up for your nest egg
Very few people have enough cash to buy their first home without a bond. So rather have a home loan to get you going as most need financing to afford today’s home prices. The loan approval process is no different for first-time home owners, therefore saving a  sizeable nest egg is another important milestone for would-be homebuyers should you be required to pay the difference, but you’ll also need this for your emergency fund, moving expenses and home maintenance costs. Many people tend to forget that there is a lot of maintenance with owning a home, especially if you’ve been used to renting.

Close and move In
Once you have closed in on your home, it is time to move in. You can paint, unpack and enjoy your new home. Be sure that you change your address with your bank, and other accounts. You can set up your utilities and cancel your old ones as well. This will save you time and money, because you will avoid late fees.
Lastly, once you have finally reached that point of getting your new home, a word of congratulations is in order. This is one of your biggest financial steps that you will ever make. It is important to take this decision seriously. You need to take time to prepare yourself in every aspect in order to make your home a blessing, and not a negative experience.
Enjoy your new home!

• Caroline Orange is Standard Bank’s Sales Manager.

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