Deciding to sell your home is a big decision, and one that requires careful thought and proper planning. It’s tempting to consider this option amidst a stagnating economy and political uncertainty. Many homeowners feel compelled to make a hasty sale before things get worse; however, this often results in significant financial loss.
Whether it’s out of necessity or for convenience, the long-term, cost-saving potential is a major reason homeowners choose to downscale. Buying smaller will lower your financial commitments in terms of bond repayments and utility bills. When coupled with a reduction in day-to-day living expenses, these factors may contribute to a significant increase in the amount of income saved. Deciding to rent rather than buy has the added advantage of increased mobility and flexibility – tenants need only fulfil their notice period if lifestyle changes (such as a job opportunity or relocation) require them to move on short notice. This is particularly attractive to South Africans who fear the financial constraints of homeownership. The landlord carries the financial responsibility of loan repayments and utility bills, and major repairs and maintenance are for the landlord’s bill. This said, downscaling is a costly, highly stressful decision, and all factors relating to the costs involved in selling, moving and storage, as well as the time and energy spent house-hunting, need to be taken into consideration.
If you have decided that downscaling is in your best financial interest, ensure that you have considered how a change in area may affect transport costs (petrol etc), the difference in monthly rental vs. the monthly home loan repayment, costs saved on maintenance and levys, home insurance etc. Save or invest whatever you can!
A level head and sufficient research should always accompany property sales. Accepting a lower purchase price is likely to affect the deposit you put down on a new home, should you wish to buy rather than rent. A higher deposit, especially in such a tough economic climate, will strengthen your buying power and cause financial institutions to look favourably on your home loan application. It is within your best interest to put down the highest deposit possible. Therefore, accepting the first offer for fear that you won’t receive a higher one is seldom the best selling decision, especially in terms of protecting the equity in your home.
Although the economy faces an uncertain future, homeowners are urged to ride it out. Property is, and always has been, a predominantly stable investment prospect. Well-maintained homes situated in sought-after areas that sold for R300 000 fifteen years ago now fetch 10 times that amount. Although the recession significantly affected HPG, properties have continued to climb in value. A long-term view of house price growth shows an exponential increase.
However, having taken all aspects into account, if you do decide to sell, make use of a reputable, well-established estate agency with access to an extensive buyers list. The majority of these agencies are recognised and trusted within the industry, and have a prominent position on popular property platforms, reaching a broad audience of potential buyers.
If you’re in the position to buy a new home or you’re currently saving towards a deposit, take advantage of the rise in interest rates and sluggish house price growth, as these will strengthen your deposit savings and buying power. Bear in mind that financial institutions are not as lenient with home loan approvals as they once were. Serious home loan applicants should scrutinise their spending habits and ensure that they not only qualify for the home loan, but that their credit payment history is in good order.