To be honest, when I started searching of a property, I was kind of entering the unknown. None of my close friends had bought houses before ( or at least those that I could remember) so I could not just pick up the phone and ask for advise. I am also an open person, so I do not consider buying a home a privacy issue, I did openly speak to friends about it which kind of assisted.
Where , how and what was a little uncertain, but long story short here’s a few things that I did that you should be watching out for:
1.Do not be in a hurry to sign anything because the agent is trying to convince you that the properties are selling like hot cakes and if you take too long , you will miss out. Watch the news and read about the current economic times. Properties takes long to sell when the economy is down and hence the agent might just be saying that to get you to sign. This is how I ended signing a sale agreement for a flat that was over valued. Luckily, the bank refused to finance it so I could happily walk away.
2. Never go view a property alone with the sales agent. They will only show you the side of the property that you would like to see. The flat I spoke of in point 1 was situated in in a part of town that I would not ordinary want to live in. The agent however made sure that we drove a particular route and show me the one side of the story. I was just lucky to mention it to a friend who was familiar with the town just to discover that it was in close proximity to bars that would be loud at night . In addition, he also says complexes where there are shops increases the safety risk as anyone can come in and out to access the shop.
3. Be careful of what information you give the bank when you are doing the affordability assessment. The bank will only know what you tell them. I was being conservative with my expenses when the bank asked me in hope that the amount I qualify for will increase. But be ware that that the higher your bond amount, the more your installment will be. In addition, there are other costs that comes with owning a home such as rates and taxes, home and life insurance, water and electricity and regular maintenance.
I could go on and on about what you should not do and watch out for but I will never finish. I only found a property two years later after my initial search but that worked out in my favour.
When I started searching, I was a second year trainee accountant so my affordability was based on that level of income. By the time I got the property, I am qualified Chartered accountant which means that I can comfortably service the loan and even pay it off faster that I would have done if I had borrowed at my current income level.
In addition, the delay allowed me to be ready to pay some costs off cash. Initially, the amount I wanted to borrow was including the lawyers and bank fees that amounted to roughly N$30 000. But over the two years, I saved it and settled it cash reducing my monthly installments with N$200 per month.
Do you want to get a property? Please take your time to think it through and chat to a few friends. You will be surprise what difference they will make.