So you’ve started hunting for a suitable property. As a purchaser, you first scour the newspapers for suitable properties, making a shortlist of the ones that may work for you.
You then view more detail of these properties by accessing them through their web reference numbers on the agents’ websites. In addition to this, you search through agency websites and national property portals to see what other listings may be of interest.
Having researched the details of these listings such as location, accommodation, condition, and pricing you then make a shortlist of properties that you actually want to view.
You go about setting up appointments with the various listing agents, and also plan to visit showhouses over the weekend.
What do you do, though, when you walk into a property and it looks like a viable option? Do you wait, and shop around, just in case there is something better around the corner? Perhaps you’ve just started your house-hunting – do you buy just yet?
Here are some points to consider that may influence what you do:
1. Having made a list of requirements, does this listing tick most of the boxes? If it ticks 70% or more of the boxes then this is a listing to seriously consider. It’s highly unlikely to find the perfect house – so if it’s close, then add it to your list of strong possibilities.
2. What other listings on your list can you view within the next day or so? If you have appointments set up, then by all means keep them – but don’t waste valuable time that you may not have.
3. Hopefully you have run the numbers on your affordability with your bank or bond originator. Do the numbers work? Can you afford to purchase this property, and at what price. Calculate what the maximum is you could go to should you decide to make an offer. Be sure of this – if you overextend yourself you won’t qualify for the finance and will be disappointed when the sale collapses.
4. Consider this: What do you think the property is really worth? It is fairly priced? If you believe it is good value then the chances are that other buyers do too.
5. Stock levels in the area are dropping at a steady pace. This means that buyers now have limited options, and that more buyers are competing over fewer listings. The more buyer competition there is the more you will have to pay. Do you really want to waste time and offer later when you may be competing against other buyers?
Time and again we see buyers finding a property that really works for them. They can see the listing is correctly priced, and they can see themselves living in the home. It may well be the first property they view!
Yet they delay in making an offer. Sometimes it’s because they’ve just started the viewing process, and sometimes it’s the fear of missing out on another listing that may work better.
The reality is that buyers are buying now. Banks are doing the finance. Sellers are generally listing at market-related prices. If you find a property that works for you, if the financial numbers make sense, and if you believe the value is there – then don’t delay. Chances are other buyers have reached the same conclusion as you.
It’s a great time to buy property. Don’t miss out!
Principal of Harcourts Platinum, and Director of Harcourts South Africa
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