The current residential property market presents a good opportunity for property buyers, but how do you know if you are ready to own a property? Debbie Justus-Ferns, divisional manager of Renprop Residential Sales, says that before committing to an offer to purchase, potential buyers need to make absolutely certain they are ready to own a home, and take on all the related responsibilities, as its one of the biggest financial commitments a person will make in their lifetime.
While there are a number of factors potential buyers need to take into consideration when searching for their ideal home such as the location, type of property that would best suit their needs as well as their budget, there are three key considerations that Justus-Ferns highlights as indicators that a buyer is truly ready for home ownership.
- Financial commitment and contingency plans
Aside from being able to afford the monthly repayments with a long term view, Justus-Ferns says that buyers also need to assess the other costs of home ownership and ensure they fit into their monthly budget.
“From municipal accounts and insurance and to other miscellaneous expenses that may occur from time to time such as urgent repairs or maintenance that needs to be undertaken, owning a home takes financial commitment. Not only that, but buyers also need to have a contingency plan for if things go wrong.”
What if you lose your job and can’t afford the bond repayments, she asks? Buyers should ideally have a couple of month’s worth of expenses saved up to tide them over while they look for another job, for example. Having a financial contingency plan in place for any number of financial ‘what-ifs’ is an essential aspect of home buying readiness.
- Maintenance and general upkeep
Owning a home requires dedication to maintenance and general upkeep as a bare minimum. “As a home is a huge financial investment, it needs to be protected and nurtured so it can attain its full growth potential. This means that at the very least, potential buyers need to be able to commit to keeping their property in good repair on an ongoing basis,” says Justus-Ferns.
She notes that this also probably involves a savings of some kind to dip into should the need for larger repairs or upgrades be required.
- Long term commitment
Buying a home is a long term commitment – or at least it should be if buyers want to benefit from any capital appreciation. This means that whatever home is being considered, buyers need to make sure it fits in with their long term plans.
“A two-bedroom apartment may not be the ideal home for a young family looking to grow, but would be the perfect spot for a young couple starting out, for example. While unexpected events do happen, buyers need to try as best they can to look ahead for the next 10 years and be reasonably sure that the home the buy will be able to accommodate their plans.”
“Timing is everything and buyers shouldn’t rush into a home ownership decision without very careful due consideration of all the above factors over and above their personal wants and needs,” Justus-Ferns concludes.