What to look for when viewing a house

All so often homebuyers base their decision on which house to buy on their “gut feel”. Some even buy after a single visit. This is clearly unwise. Here are some suggestions to minimise the possibility of the all too familiar “buyers’ remorse”.

Try to view the property that you have set your heart on during the day as well as at night-time. Also try to view during the week, at the weekend and during rush hour. We all know the importance of location, but what may seem to be perfect in the morning, may be a whole different kettle of fish at night!

Consider the following:

  • Is it in your price range?
  • Is the area appropriate?
  • Does the size of the erf suit your life-style?
  • Is the location in keeping with your needs? (proximity to schools, shops, sport facilities, attractive surroundings, pollution, noise, security etc.)
  • The condition of the other properties in the area.
  • North or South facing?
  • Windy?
  • Noise? Highways and busy roads. Near local nightspots?
  • Future developments in the area.
  • Rezoning for business or industrial use
  • Public open spaces
  • The general condition of the area
  • Why is the owner selling?
  • How long ago did the current owner purchase the property?
  • Is the property mortgaged and what is the outstanding balance on the mortgage loan?

The improvements…

  • Layout and position on the site
  • Is the structure sound?
  • General condition, repairs and maintenance required
  • Accommodation
  • Fitted cupboards
  • Security features
  • Fixtures the seller intends to remove
  • Movables (curtains) to be included in the sale
  • State of the garden
  • Does the property lend itself to alterations or extensions?

Always enquire from your agent whether the owners have disclosed, in writing, all the defects known to them. Remember that it is always better to discuss these issues before committing to purchasing a property. In the event of the owner agreeing to rectify any defects, it is wise that a written undertaking to this effect be embodied in the agreement of sale.