You’ve been looking at houses all winter and spring, and have seen some beautiful homes. The estate agent has shown you some real contenders, but you just can’t seem to sign under the dotted line. Why are you struggling to find a property?
It’s no secret that a home is one of the biggest and most important investments you’ll ever make, and feeling overwhelmed by property possibilities is only natural. But how do you sift through properties and know which home is right for you? Our agents weigh in with their tips on how to know when ‘that house’ is actually ‘the one’.
1. 1. You can immediately see yourself
Sometimes, a home can just ‘feel right’, and you shouldn’t ignore that feeling. “The feelings evoked in the buyer when they first step into a home will dictate to their sub-conscious what it would feel like to live there. Almost all the decisions you make when buying the perfect home revolve around the ‘dream’ of a home or lifestyle”, says Christelle Rentsch of Fine & Country Kempton Park. Pay attention to how you feel when you step through the door of a home, and try to picture your life inside it. If you can see yourself living in the house (and your thoughts about the house are positive), it may be the home for you.
2. 2. It’s (almost) exactly what you’re looking for.
As a buyer, it’s very important to analyse your needs before looking at homes. You’ll have a specific idea in mind, which narrows your search and keeps the agent from showing you properties that don’t fit your specifications. According to agent Annemarie Cilliers of Fine & Country Durbanville, dividing your list into ‘negotiables’ and ‘non-negotiables’ can save you plenty of time and heartache. If a house ticks all your ‘non-negotiables’, and many of your ‘negotiables’, it’s certainly worth considering.
3. 3. The floor plan aligns with your needs.
Have a look at the floor plan of the house you’d like to buy. Does it have a kitchen, lounge, and bedrooms that are the correct size for your life? If not, it may not be the right home for you. Paint colour, tiles, and counter tops can all be changed simply, but a floor plan cannot be changed without significant effort. If you’re purchasing a house with a plan to improve it, be sure to factor in renovation costs into the cost of the property.
4. You trust your estate agent.
Having a reliable estate agent can relieve much of the pressure that comes with buying a home. How do you know if you can trust your estate agent? “Verifying the information the estate agent has given you is critical in establishing a relationship of trust”, cites Elizabeth Mackenzie of Fine & Country Midrand & Knysa. “Look through the agent’s website. The house descriptions and images are sure indicators of the level of professionalism and trustworthiness to be expected”.
in love with the neighbourhood -- not just the house.
A house isn’t simply a house. “When you purchase a home, you also purchase a lifestyle” says agent Linda Erasmus of Fine & Country Sub-Sahara Africa. “Normally buyers are trying to upgrade or downgrade their current lifestyle.” Consider your own lifestyle, and what you’d like to keep and what you’d like to change. Agent Charles Eddlestone of Fine & Country Fulham agrees, saying that “buying property is extremely personal and everyone has their different reasons for buying, be it wanting more space, good transport links, schools, parks, rivers, and so on.” Be clear about what you expect from your home before you start looking, because these are non-negotiables that will affect your happiness long-term.