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Summer housing market

Summer is generally a great time to buy a new home and with plenty of properties to choose from, this year is no exception. Gerhard Kotzé, MD of the RealNet estate agency group, gives the following tips to get even more out of the summer housing market.

Pick a good areaTake the time to research areas that are not only safe and secure but would suit your lifestyle and offer the kind of amenities that are important to you. “It’s tempting to focus on price, but the most inexpensive home is going to be a bad buy if you have a family and there are no schools in the area, or if moving there would mean facing a very long commute in traffic to work every day.”

Get prequalified for a home loan

You should ask a reputable bond originator to help you obtain home loan prequalification before you start your home search. You will then know what your buying power is and be able to concentrate on properties that are within your budget.

Consider a fixer-upperA tried-and-tested way of buying into a more upmarket area than your budget might suggest is to seek out an older property there that is in need of upgrading and modernisation. However, says Kotzé, you need to be sure that the changes required are only cosmetic and not structural – and even then, home renovation and all the mess and disruption involved is not for everyone. “If you would rather have a home that is move-in ready, you should focus your search on newly renovated or even brand new homes. These may be somewhat smaller or more expensive, but you won’t be spending money on home improvements.”

Look out for listings that say “price reduced”Some property websites will also show you how long a home has been on the market and whether the price has been dropped more than once, he notes. This will tell you that the owners are really serious about selling and probably willing to negotiate an even more favourable deal, especially if they have a deadline on moving themselves.

Make your best offer“Even though the market favours buyers at the moment, sellers can still be offended by a really low offer and refuse to negotiate with you. A much better strategy is to make a serious offer that is reasonably close to the asking price and then bring other factors to the table that make it even more appealing to the seller – such as bond prequalification, a sizeable cash deposit and flexibility on the occupation date,” says Kotzé.

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