What to look for when you’re house hunting, so you don’t break the bank

Searching for a new home can be stressful, especially when you consider the amount of time it takes, the financial pressure and all the little bits and bobs that you know you haven’t even considered yet. It can take time to find that special place for you and your family, but have you stopped to consider some of your options so that you’re not spending more than you can afford? Well no fear because we have complied a list of things to think about whilst you’re searching for your new place.

 

The house vs. the apartment debate

You may feel hung up on the idea of buying a house because it’s “your space” and you can do with it what you like, plus in South Africa it always seems like the cost of an apartment in comparison to what you could get from a house isn’t justifiable. However, have you considered the benefits that you get from an apartment once the deal is done? Firstly, if something needs fixing in the building, you generally won’t have to pay for fixing it. This is the same with general maintenance on the communal areas and gardens. If you buy a home, all those costs are yours and yours alone. Also consider the cost of security. You can spend a fortune securing your home, but in an apartment, a lot of the security features are already included and taken care of.

Location, location, location

Wherever you end up living, you’re going to have to travel to work and if you have kids, you need to think about where they’re at school too. The daily commute can be a costly one, especially when you factor in the rising cost of petrol. When you’re looking for a new home it may be worth finding something a bit closer to work, even if it is slightly more expensive. You need to weigh up the cost of travel and the cost of buying a place. Try to estimate how long you intend on living somewhere and see whether it is worth finding something a bit closer to work.

Bigger is not always better

When you’re house-hunting, the bigger, better and brighter homes are not always the best homes for your wallet. You need to remember that you’re going to be paying for all the extra space and the nicer features that come with the home. In the initial stages of your search you should try to look at homes at the lower end of your budget and see what you find. You may be pleasantly surprised by what you see and you’re more likely to find something that ticks all the boxes. If you start looking at homes at the top of your budget, you’ll likely be tempted by all the extras, but these could mean you’re biting off more than you can chew.

You do not need to fill your home in one go

You may be tempted to fill your home with new decor and furnishings, but you can take your time with this and do things smartly. Think second-hand furniture and markets for your odd bits and pieces. You could even try your hand at some DIY and create the furniture you want. This will help you to fill some of the emptiness if you have bought a bigger home, but you’ll be able to do it in a cost-effective way. You also don’t need to rush into filling your home. Rather save up for some of the better-quality items that you want, rather than spending a large amount in one go and potentially hurting your credit score.