Checklist for buying a house
BUYING a home is a dream come true for many people. To make sure you get the perfect home for your needs, there are a number of important things to consider while doing your search.
Here are a few tips that FNB suggests you begin with when buying your own house:
Decide on the type of property you want to buy
Deciding on the type of property you want to buy is an important first step in making your dream of owning a house a reality.
You can either buy a standalone house, also known as a freehold property, or buy a flat in a complex, also known as a sectional title.
If you buy a freehold title you will have full ownership of the property, including the land on which the house is built.
This also includes a standalone cluster home in a complex, though parts of the complex, including roads, entertainment areas and so on, are commonly owned.
As owner of a freehold title you will be responsible for paying water bills, electricity bills and rates and taxes.
A sectional title is owned up to the middle or centre lines of the outside walls, the floor and the ceiling.
Like in a cluster home, communal areas such as roads are commonly owned by the various owners of the complex though some of the areas might be bought for exclusive use if this is given as an option.
The administration and maintenance of the common property is the responsibility of the body corporate.
The body corporate is made up of all the owners in the complex who then elect trustees to handle its day to day management. Each owner is responsible for paying a levy which goes towards the care of the complex.
This is charged over and above the normal rates and taxes, water and electricity bills.
Before buying a sectional title housing unit, make time to look at the audited financial statements of the body corporate to ensure that the complex is well managed. This will help you avoid any problems when you want to sell.
Also keep in mind of special levies that you would have to pay which will go towards additional maintenance such as painting the complex.
Get pre-approval fromthe bank
Before you go out shopping for your property it is a good idea to get pre-approval from your bank. Going through this step beforehand will help you establish the loan amount you qualify for and will allow you to feel comfortable with the financial commitment that you have taken on. You will also be in a better position than other buyers who have not completed this step yet.
The bank will do a comprehensive affordability study to find out if you can afford the loan.
For example, you will be asked to disclose your monthly expenses such as food, groceries, school fees etc. In addition to this, various documentation such as a copy of your pay slip will be needed and your credit record checked.
Once you have decided on the kind of property you would like to own, freehold or sectional title, you can begin to consider the different neighbourhoods that you would like to live in.
Choosing a good location is important if you would like the value of your home to grow over time (since this is your long-term investment).
The area must be relatively close enough to social amenities that you might need such as bus stations, schools or shopping malls.
It may also be a good idea to visit the local police station and ask about the levels of crime in the neighbourhood.
Also check if the area is appealing to live in and clean and look at how the different residents look after their houses.
The area's average price growth over a number of years will help you establish an estimate of the growth you can expect on your investment. Comparing this growth to other areas you are considering will also help you make the right decision.
After looking at the vicinity, look at the actual property you want to buy.
Look at its overall condition and how well it has been maintained. Be careful to look out for things you should avoid such as cracking walls, broken fixtures, or water damage. This must be done both inside and outside the house.
The internal layout of the house must also be considered should you ever want to rent out or re-sell the property.
An open-plan kitchen and lounge is usually considered more modern and desirable for example, and could be more valuable in the long run.
It is also a good idea to look at the kitchen and the bathroom as a well fitted and modern kitchen and bathroom can add further value to your property.
Security is an important consideration in buying a property. Make sure that the house is well fenced, and not close to any open fields or deserted areas.
Once you have looked into all of the necessary detail, you can now go back to your bank and finalise the application to buy your home.
When you apply for a bond with FNB a property valuer will be sent to check the property that you have shown interest in buying, and will further assist you in making sure that it has no major defects and that you are paying a market related amount for the house.
Keep in mind the different costs that you may incur in buying your home.
These will include, transfer costs, insurance on your loan and household insurance.
Paying a deposit on your home will also assist you in reducing your monthly bond repayments.