Buying your first house is a big investment, so new homeowners need to ensure they buy in a neighbourhood that’s not going to affect the value of their homes in future, writes Tiisetso Tlelima.

On Tuesday, 10 April 2018, residents of Vosloorus took to the streets to protest a local government housing project barricading the corner of Nombhela Drive and Barry Marais with burning tires.

The protesters were against the building of low-cost RDP high-rise flats in the area, arguing that the municipality took decisions without consulting the residents and that the erection of the RDP houses would affect the value of their properties.

The situation in Vosloorus has not been resolved but it does raise questions about buying property and choosing the right location for your new home.

Choosing which house to buy entails more than just checking that the windows aren’t broken and the roof is intact or whether the plumbing and electricity works perfectly; it is also about the area you buy in. Real estate agents often tell us when you buy a home; you also buy into the neighbourhood.

While it’s cheaper to buy a house in a township than in suburbia, new homeowners need to examine their surroundings and not just look at the stand their house is built on before purchasing a house. One should ask yourself, is the area prone to flooding or close to wetlands?

More importantly, as the residents in Vosloorus have discovered, buying near vacant municipal land is a big no-no, because you have no control of what the government will build there in future which may impact the value of your house negatively. Vacant land that has been disused for a long time can also bring a number of problems to the nearby community. These can include people using the area for criminal activity or as a dumping site contributing to increased health and welfare problems.

Purchasing property is a long term investment; therefore there are many things to consider before buying a house such as the crime rate in the area, the kinds of people who live there and amenities available in that area.

The location of the house should be your number one consideration. As people often say, you can improve the condition of your property but you can’t move it. So it’s important to not only look at what the area looks like right now but also think about the future of the area you’re buying in. If there are new developments in future, what are those likely to be? Will they be positive or negative developments? Will the development affect the value of your home or increase the future value of the property? These are the questions one needs to ask themselves before buying.

If you plan to sell your house in future it’s probably better to buy a reasonable house in a good area than a cheap home in a bad area. The house might be affordable now but if you don’t pay attention to the kind of area you live in it may be harder to sell your house in future as it will depreciate in value particularly if there’s high crime in the area or vacant land nearby because not only is it unsafe but you also have no control what the municipality plans to build there.

Location is key. Choose it wisely and protect your investment.

HOW TO CHOOSE WHERE TO BUY YOUR HOUSE

1. Close to work because it saves on time and
money
2. Close to a school if you have children or you
plan to in future
3. Close to public transport routes
4. Close to shops
5. In a quiet area
6. Where the crime rate is very low

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