Tips & Ideas

Buying a property

Buying a property can be an overwhelming process and finding the right house or office in the right neighborhood is not an easy task. The best advice would be to contact an expert to help you out. This is where our FREE Property Assistant service comes in. We have access to a large inventory of listings and our Property Assistants can send you information that fit your requirements, budget and timeframe

Getting a loan

When deciding on purchasing or building a home it is always best to get a pre-approved loan in advance. This way you know for certain what type of home is within your budget. Understanding the terms and conditions of your mortgage is highly recommended, so seek legal advice.

Property Inspection

A property inspection is to the buyer's advantage. This way you can inspect the property and if there are faults with the construction or finishings they are recognized at that point, prior to purchase. Property inspection does not necessarily mean you are agreeing to buy the property, and you are quite entitled to inspect it beforehand. If a Seller does not allow this, it is clearly a bad sign.

Negotiate

A property can be listed at a particular price but due to the length of time it has been on the market, you can always negotiate a better price. Negotiating a better price of course does not mean that the seller will accept. A seller can ask a price for the house but it does not mean that the house will be worth the asking price. Your Property Assistant will be the best person to advise you on a reasonable price range, and a property valuation is a good idea where value is not immediately clear.

Plan your budget

Always think beforehand about how much you can afford to spend and what the costs involved are to buy or build a property. You may need to get a mortgage. Find out what size loan you qualify for. When building finding a contractor is another step, and knowing the estimated cost will help you in planning and keeping within your budget.

Contractor's quotation for building

A quotation from a contractor is important for the bank when a loan is required. In the quotation, each phase has to be properly outlined explaining cost of materials and labor, and what would need to be completed and paid for in each phase. Choosing a reputable contractor is important, as you are building home and for most people it a once in a life time investment. When choosing a contractor always ask for references, and preferably get appointments to see a couple of homes already built. This may seem a bit excessive at first, but it can save you unnecessary trouble in the end. Promises are easily made, sticking to them, being on time with delivery and so on, is another story.

Situation Plan

This is a plan that is obtained at the Department of Public Works (DOW) that states the location, orientation and size of the property. For renovating, selling or constructing a home the situation plan is needed for different purposes. For example, when expanding on an existing structure a permit is needed.

Buying a house plan

In many cases a pre-approved house plan can be purchased at the Department of Public Works (DOW). When building a custom-designed home you will require the services of a licensed architect. Whether you opt for a plan through DOW or a custom design, it is wise to choose a plan that will meet your needs for many years to come.

Roofing

Building your roof is costly; hence it's important to ensure that the contractor(s) are knowledgeable in what they are doing.

Fencing your home

When requesting a mortgage, it's best to include the cost of the fence. Constructing the fence at the same time brings added value to the home, and it increases security and privacy of the property.

Painting your home

When building a home, often this is included in the Contractor's quotation. However you will be asked to choose the interior paint and exterior paint colors and types. Paints also vary in quality and duration, sealing attributes and resistance to weather and heat. Its good to research these in advance of your quotation so you know what your contractor is including. Most local hardware stores offer advice on different types of paints and occasionally have specials and offers.

Furnishing & Decorating your home

Decorating your home on a budget can be a bit challenging but yet fun. First look for bargains, be creative with what you already have and look for furniture pieces that will compliment it. Be flexible in the styling, which will give you more options in furnishing it. Buying new furniture is great but in some cases can be very expensive. Shopping around for discounts and comparing prices can save you money in the end.

Taxes

Interest payments on your mortgage are tax deductible. Other deductibles, such as life insurance, notary costs and closing fee can also be applied. Ask for more information at your local bank.

Insuring your home

It is necessary to have certain types of Insurance such as Fire Insurance when you own a home. Insuring your home for the current value is important in case of any disaster. Once the house is insured for the current value, in case of a disaster you will be paid for re-building a home of the same value.

If your home has been expanded upon, advise your insurance agent so that your fire insurance can be upgraded to the increased value of the property. Having fire insurance does not mean that your household effects are also insured. Check with your insurance broker.

Insuring the articles within your home are not insisted upon by the bank but it is recommend in case of theft, fire or other demolition damages. The insurance covers all your furniture, jewelry, appliances and other internal fixtures. It is important to take pictures of your articles and note down things such as serial numbers on electronic equipment, and as much as possible keep purchase receipts for the insured items.

Life Insurance

It is important to purchase life insurance when buying or building a home. Your local bank will instruct you on the premiums and terms. It is however recommended to take out a amount higher than the requested mortgage amount.

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