Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Buying a house: Where is the best area to buy a house?

Every potential buyer wonders what would be the best area in which to buy a house. What is best for one person isn’t necessarily best for another. Buying a home will be one of your most expensive purchases you will make, and you will want to know that you are purchasing the right home for you and your family.

Why are you buying a house?
First decide if you are buying a house purely for investment purposes or if you plan on making it your home.

If it’s for an investment, you wont be keeping this place very long. You will need to decide who your target group will be when you eventually sell the place. If you are buying the house to live in, have a look at your current lifestyle and also how you foresee your future lifestyle. How long do you plan on living in your new home? Asking yourself these and other questions will determine if you buy a free standing house, townhouse, an apartment, a place in a security complex, starter home, etc.

You don’t have to buy the place you see or like. The price of the house should not be the only deciding factor when purchasing a house. Do your homework and look at a few houses. It took me two years before I finally bought my house.

The Location and Site
Decide on what areas you’d like to live in. What are you needs? Some factors that may influence your decision would be:

• The distance to your place of work
• Public transportation
• Shops
• The volume of traffic
• The schools in the area or surrounding areas
• Parks in the area
• Crime rate
• Ease of access
• How the house is situated on the plot
• Is the house on a hill and does it have a view?
• Is it near the sea and within walking distance from the beach?
• Is the yard suitable for children, pets, gardening or entertaining

The Neighbourhood
Not only must you like the house, but you should like the neighbourhood too. Drive around the neighbourhood to see what the other homes in the area are like (during the week and on weekends). Things to consider would be:

• Noisy neighbours
• Are the yards of the other homes well maintained – i.e. clean and tidy?
• Are there many pensioners living in the area or are there more younger families?
• The architecture of the houses – do you prefer a more modern house or an older one – e.g. Victorian or Tudor style houses
• Look at the exterior features – a brick home may be easier to maintain
• Security in the neighbourhood

The Size
When buying a home, one needs to be practical. Things to consider:

• The number of bedrooms
• The number of bathrooms
• The size of the kitchen
• A garage
• Grounds for extending the house
• The size of your family
• Do you plan to extend your family?
• Do you plan on working from home?

The bigger the house, the more expensive it will cost to run. You will also pay more in rates and electricity bills will probably be higher than a smaller house. It will also cost more to furnish a bigger house than a smaller one.

Nedbank has a nice tool on their website that will help you get the information on areas you like. It can be found here: area demographics

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