Owning a property is absolutely the best investment you can make. Aside from the fact that real estate appreciates with time, it is also a very safe way to invest money as you can easily track its value in the market. Here are 13 tips to ensure you get it right the first time.

1. Explore all your options
Prior to applying for a mortgage, it is important to understand the different mortgage facilities available and also the interest rates on these mortgages.

2. Buy a property you can afford now, not later
Determine your budget based on what you can afford to repay now, not the maximum you’re allowed to borrow. Even if you’re pretty certain that you’ll be earning more in a year or two, you might also find that circumstances increase the other expenses in your life. Children, schools, new cars and travel plans are substantial costs. Make sure there will be room in your budget for you to live the life you want.

3. Be very clear about what matters to you
  • Access to major roads
  • Public transport
  • Supermarkets or recreational facilities
  • Schools; hospitals/clinics

4. Use your head, not your heart
Don’t be afraid to walk away from a bad deal. There will be other properties, maybe even better ones. Remember that this is a financial transaction and that your terms must be met. Buying a house based on emotions is just going to break your heart. If you fall in love with something, you might end up making some pretty bad financial decisions. There’s a big difference between your emotions and your instincts. Going with your instincts means that you recognize that you’re getting a great house for a good value. Going with your emotions is being obsessed with the color of the house or the backyard. It’s an investment, so stay calm and be wise.

5. View at different times of day
View the place three times at different times of the day to get an idea of what the house and neighbor hood are like. Daylight makes spotting flaws easier, but the pounding music that will make your life hell may not begin until the neighbours get back from work.

6. Inspect smartly
Smart sellers naturally stage their homes to make sure they look their best when you view them. You’d do the same. Remember to look between the lines for issues that might not be immediately obvious. Take along a list of practical things to check – things like adequate power points, holes or cracks. That way, if you fall instantly in love, you won’t suddenly forget to check for possible pain points.

7.Consider resale potential
If you don’t want to live in the property until you die, consider ease of resale. This may be your dream home, so you can live with walking through the kitchen to get to the bathroom. But will others?

8. Negotiate as much as you can
You can use an agent to do the negotiating for you, but you can’t be sure how hard they will push for you. As a buyer, you should feel in control and as though you have nothing to lose through robust negotiation.

9. Gardens and yards are work
Almost everyone likes the idea of having a garden, but if you’re not used to maintaining one, you might want to think twice about whether you want to spend your weekends weeding and mowing the lawn.

10. Don’t let yourself feel pressured
Don’t operate on someone else’s timeline and don’t make commitments that will make things challenging if your property hunt takes a few months longer than you anticipated. If you’re renting, stay on a month-to-month agreement so that you are able to move without penalty. If you feel rushed at all, then back away. Time is on your side.

11.Perform a walk-through inspection.
Every homebuyer should walk-through the property prior to closing. Take your contract and make sure everything is as agreed upon. If not, you have the right to postpone the closing until the necessary items are remedied.

12. Congratulations New Homeowner, Now What?
You’ve signed the papers, moved to the new place and it’s starting to feel like home. Game over? Not quite. Keep saving because with home ownership comes major unexpected expenses like replacing the roof etc. Start an emergency fund for your home so that you won’t be caught off-guard when the costs inevitably rise.

13. Perform regular maintenance
With the large amount of money you’re putting in your home, you’ll want to make sure to take excellent care of it. Regular maintenance can decrease your repair costs by allowing problems to be fixed when they are small and manageable.

GHL wishes to bring to your attention that subsequent to the coming into effect of the Internal Revenue Act 2006, (Act 700) and Internal Revenue Act 2015, Act (896), you are entitled to benefit from interest paid on your mortgage on your primary residence, as a deduction from your income for tax purposes.
Below are the relevant sections of the above acts for your reference:
Internal Revenue Act, 2006 (Act 700) s.4 (b)
For the purposes of ascertaining the income of an individual for a period from any business, employment or investment there shall be deducted any interest incurred during the period in respect of a borrowing employed in constructing or acquiring residential premises.
Income Tax Act, 2015 Act (896) Section 134, subsection 4 (3&4) page 135
In calculating the income of an individual from conducting an employment, business or investment for a year of assessment, deduct mortgage interest incurred during the year. An individual may deduct mortgage interest in respect of only one residential premises during the lifetime of that individual.
You can contact your tax advisor, consultant or accountant for the necessary steps to enable you take advantage of this deductible relief.

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