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8 Crucial Considerations for Novice Home Buyers

  • Latest News
  • January 23, 2024
8 Crucial Considerations for Novice Home Buyers

PropInsights: Real Estate Revelations


For aspiring first-time home buyers, the path can be exciting yet intimidating. Amid the joy, concerns about debt and making informed choices in the current economic climate may loom large. Despite this, the dream of owning your first perfect property is within reach. And if you’re considering house hunting in the coveted Atlantic Seaboard, these 8 essential tips will help kickstart the adventure of buying your first home.

Location is crucial when buying property, and a coveted location like the Atlantic Seaboard may seem out of reach for first-time home buyers.

However, Sandy Walsh, General Manager at Property.CoZa Prestige, located in Mouille Point, says there are several property options that first-time home buyers could consider if they want to purchase a property on the Atlantic Seaboard.

“Don’t limit your dreams as a first-time property buyer! Consider sectional title options in Sea Point, Green Point, or Mouille Point where units are priced from R15 000/m2 to over R120 000/m2 in the price ranges R1 500 000 up to R20 000 000,” advises Walsh.

According to recent statistics from CMA Info, sales in the Atlantic Seaboard area for the last quarter of 2023 are:


AreaMedian PriceAverage R/m2
Green PointR2 550 000R36 527
Sea PointR2 750 000R43 047
Mouille PointR3 700 000R51 606


“While prices vary in these areas, look for opportunities like this 60m2 gem, which would make a great starter property,” says Walsh, “You might compromise on space, but you’ll have a higher appreciation on your property.” Enlist the help of an experienced real estate agent who knows the area well and can help you understand how to make the best buy.


1. Be decisive about affordability

The first step in starting your house search is to decide on your income and expenses to establish what you can afford and align it with your budget. Walsh recommends obtaining pre-approval from a reputable bond originator before starting home hunting, as this strengthens your negotiating position when you’re ready to make an offer to purchase (OTP). Online bond calculators are often free and give you an indication of your affordability.

“Be realistic and honest with yourself. Viewing properties outside your budget is simply disheartening,” says Walsh. “Knowing your buying power before you start viewing properties will help you decide where you can buy.”


2. Heed hidden costs

Beyond the property’s price tag, be prepared for additional expenses. These include a deposit of up to 10%, which may secure an offer and help to reduce your bond responsibility. However, most banks will provide 100% to 108% bond finance to first-time homeowners.

Other costs to consider are bond registration costs, transfer duties, conveyancer fees and deeds registration charges, and potential bond cancellation costs if you already own a property. Remember removal costs, monthly rates and taxes, levies, maintenance, and other possible expenses.

Walsh suggests that if you are considering an apartment or sectional title purchase, you should scrutinise the body corporate’s financial statements for sound economic and property management. “Also, check for any potential impending special levies, as these will impact your costs in the short term.”

According to Sectional Title Specialists, Paddocks, a special levy is a tariff charged in addition to the regular levy over a fixed period. Body corporates collect these funds to finance major investments such as painting, significant maintenance and security upgrades.


3. Deposits help seal the deal

If possible, boost your chances of bond approval by saving for a deposit. A healthy deposit lowers monthly bond repayments and enhances your negotiation position for a favourable interest rate. Walsh suggests aiming for a deposit that aligns with your long-term financial goals while recognising that if you’re considered a lower risk by your bank, it can mean a better deal for you. “A reasonable deposit for lenders to appreciate the financial commitment of a first-time buyer is 5% to 10%, and the balance of your purchase will need a bank loan,” she points out.


4. Trust with caution

Trust your instincts when following the estate agent’s lead. Examine the seller’s Condition Report, which should provide an accurate account of the condition and state of the property. Make sure to clarify any clauses with the estate agent to have total peace of mind before committing to this significant transaction. “The Condition Report is a declaration by the Seller, but the onus is on the buyer to investigate and accept these conditions,” cautions Walsh.


5. Financial health check

Knowing your credit score before starting your property hunt is essential when applying for a home loan with a bank. A higher credit score improves your loan approval chances, so check your credit score before applying for a home loan. Credit bureaus calculate your credit score based on your financial history, such as income, debts and other financial obligations. Many online platforms, such as, offer free credit score checks. And if your credit score is different from where you want it to be, knowing this allows time for improvement.


6. Due diligence

As a novice property buyer, Walsh says it’s essential to understand the legal aspects of registering your bond and transferring the property.
“Increasing your ownership wisdom will facilitate the purchase process and set the stage for a positive start in your new Atlantic Seaboard home.”


Pexels - Home Buyers


7. Invest in lifestyle 

Walsh comments that buying your first home is not only a property asset but should align with your long-term lifestyle investment, as this will impact your present and future needs.

Choose a neighbourhood that suits your desired lifestyle, considering the proximity to hospitals, schools, work, and shops. Define your space requirements, accounting for bedrooms, bathrooms, parking, and outdoor areas.


8. Balance practicality and emotion 

While buying a property is certainly emotional, don’t let sentiments overshadow practicalities. Assess for signs of damp, structural issues, and security considerations. If in doubt, enlist the services of a home inspection company for a comprehensive evaluation before placing an offer. Professional property inspectors can inspect and detect a host of hazards. These include:

  • Structural damage, such as rotten timber
  • Water seepage and damp
  • Faulty electrical issues
  • Dangerous materials (e.g. toxic moulds, lead-based paint and asbestos)
  • Condition of plumbing and gas installations

Lastly, Walsh advises first-time buyers to remember that the three most important factors to consider when buying a house for the first time are knowing your affordability, developing a great credit score, and having funds available to cover bond registration and transfer costs and, if possible, a deposit.

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