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Make sure your home is where your heart is

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Hot for a property? To avoid buyer's remorse, do your homework before signing, writes Marchelle Abrahams.

Buying a home is probably the biggest purchase you’ll make. However, sometimes buying in haste leads to regret.

A recent article by the Washington Post found that the shortage of properties around the globe had seen a mad dash from buyers keen to get on the property ladder, sometimes resulting in buyer’s remorse.

But even people not rushing out to buy property can make mistakes. Does this sound familiar? You’ve just purchased your dream home but soon the cracks start showing: It’s not close to public transport, the main bedroom’s too small or you realise that you just don’t like it as much as you did when you first set eyes on it.

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for sale: It’s your agent’s job to disclose everything about the home, even if it is haunted.

You’re not alone – nearly half of homeowners said they wished they had done something differently, according to a survey released by US-based mortgage expert NerdWallet.

According to The Washington Post article, one of the regrets expressed by 22 percent of homeowners in a 2013 survey by real estate website Trulia, is that they wished they had had more information about their homes.

Sometimes potential homeowners don’t do proper research about location or the market value of other properties in the area. These are important questions to ask.

Seeff estate agent Adrian Mauerberger agrees and adds, “as agents, we have to manage expectations of the buyer and seller.”

A good agent will also let a buyer know what’s going on in the area, what future development plans are, the quality of the building, problematic boundary walls, etcetera.

Mauerberger says the mistake buyers make is not going with a reputable agent. “Choose an agent carefully, one that has experience and a strong brand,” he says, adding qualifications were a must.

So why are almost a quarter of homeowners not happy with their purchases?

Mauerberger, who deals in the luxury property market and has 14 years of experience, reiterates the importance of choosing a qualified agent by making sure they explain everything to you once you decide to sign on the dotted line.

“The worst thing that can happen is that they sign their lives away.”

He also stresses the importance of viewing a property that you are interested in more than just once.

“The purchaser must view the property in person, even if it means that they do it three or four times.”

The number one regret listed in studies from NerdWallet and Trulia was not buying a bigger house. Unfortunately you’re stuck with your purchase. The next best thing is to deal with it from a decor perspective.

Paige Waplington, owner of Redesign Interiors, believes that paint colour can be used in many ways and in various places; you just need to get cleverly creative with it.

Rugs are fabulous for pulling together a room.

Select soft tones like off-white, blue and green – and keep in mind that brighter rooms look bigger and more inviting. Another suggestion is to paint your wall trim and mouldings in a lighter colour than your walls.

Waplington also suggests the use of rugs: “They are fabulous for pulling together a room and help to set the tone of a space, especially in an open plan room.”

She also has a few ideas for making a blank canvas feel like a home. “A little bit of decor can go a long way. For a quick way to revamp your bedroom or lounge, buy some great decor pieces and some cushions and add some new pizazz to your space.”

About 41 percent of homeowners said they did not know the costs involved in buying a house, while 18 wish they had a bigger deposit.

Being able to offer the bank a sizeable deposit is a sure way of getting your home loan approved.

“Estate agents and sellers are more confident about an offer when the prospective buyer has a deposit, which increases their chance of getting a bond,” says Graham Craggs, spokesperson for Budget Insurance. “The larger the deposit, the smaller the risk for the bank when granting a home loan, and the more the buyer will save over the bond term.”

The most important thing to consider is your affordability, adds Mauerberger. This is where a mortgage consultant comes in – they approach the large commercial banks on your behalf. Your credit rating should also be immaculate, meaning no or little debt because it is the deciding factor when it comes to your home loan rate of interest.

Budget for a deposit.

What about a deposit? Mauerberger advises a 10 percent deposit and transfer duty which can be about 10 percent of the purchase price.

How you save for your deposit all starts with a budget, says financial planner David Crossley. He advises by creating a realistic budget, you are able to build your wealth by avoiding the debt trap, and planning for unforeseen expenses.

Here are his tips for creating a realistic budget:

  • Decide what your expenses are;
  • List financial commitments (car/insurance payments, rent, food, transport costs and savings);
  • List what you spend money on in order to live (clothes, airtime, food and petrol);
  • Don’t forget to include entertainment;
  • Remember also to pay yourself first. Set aside money in your savings accounts or investments.

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