Be careful where you buy a home – you’ll be stuck in that area

You need to consider the future when choosing an area in which to buy a home. Picture: Kelly/Pexels

You need to consider the future when choosing an area in which to buy a home. Picture: Kelly/Pexels

Published Dec 24, 2023


Choosing an area in which to buy a home must be a carefully considered decision, as the wrong location could cause problems for you and your family.

Your budget will obviously play a large role in narrowing down your options, but there are many other factors in play; these will play a huge part in whether your chosen area will offer you the lifestyle you want, or give you nightmares.

The first criterion though, says Jeremy Craig, property practitioner at Jawitz Properties in Sandton, is working out if the area you fancy will offer what you want within your budget.

Other important considerations include schools, places of worship, retail access, and distance from work, including access to major arterial routes, and the kind of traffic you will face.

“Generally, the closer to the CBD, the more expensive an area becomes and you will need to consider that in your budget.

“There are different types of properties you can buy, depending on the lifestyle you intend to lead. Depending on whether you are an executive or a family, downscaling or upscaling, there should be options in terms of houses, clusters or sectional title to choose from.”

Matseleng Mogodi, founder and principal of Snooks Estates, says it is important to know the surroundings and the feel of the place you are considering living.

“Look at it objectively because this will help you to erase some of the doubts that normally creep up on individuals before buying a property.

“The key considerations centre on what your family needs. Are there small children who will need to attend schools nearby or creches? Is there reliable public transport and proximity to work to avoid long hours on the road?

“If there are teenagers, is the area is safe for young people who will want to spend time with friends and socialise?”

And, while she says it might seem unfair to mention this, if one partner struggles with substance abuse, the area you choose to buy in could promote or curb this habit.

“You may also have to look at your lifestyle and the security in the area where you want to buy. It is a big choice to want to stand out or blend in, but you also have to deal with the consequences,” Mogodi says.

Property practitioner and town planner Cacisa Mgudlwa says a good location offers potential for exponential growth and development.

“The area needs to indicate whether it has potential demand for property over both the long and short term, as this will increase the value of your property over time.

“Properties in a good location will remain more popular and profitable compared to those in less desirable areas.”

Some important factors to consider when you are looking for a good area to invest in, she says, include:

– Safety

Personal safety and physical security have become two of the most important issues to consider when choosing a neighbourhood to invest in.

“Examine the recent police or crime stats from the local Community Police Forum before you sign the offer to purchase.”

– Access to public amenities

Make sure your potential property meets your expectations and needs.

“Having good access to amenities not only drives the appetite for investment, but also adds value and desirability to your property. It gives you confidence that the area has good bargaining potential.”

Mgudlwa says people want convenience, so the better the amenities surrounding your property, the more valuable your property should be, and the greater the potential it has to increase in value over time.

– Service delivery and infrastructure

This has an impact on the value of the properties in an area. Adequate basic services, such as water and electricity supply; storm water; pavements; improvement of roads and public spaces elevate the demand for property in an area.

Neglect and poor service delivery, will have a “massive influence on the resale value of a property over the long term”, she says.

While factors such as schools, amenities including hospitals and shopping centres, as well as easy access to highways, and an area’s safety, need to be taken into consideration, resale prospects should also weigh heavily says Karen Turner, property practitioner at Jawitz Properties North Coast.

“Buyers want to avoid buying something now that will result in a problematic future sale.”

Adrian Goslett, regional director and chief executive of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says many buyers focus on the home itself, and compromise on its location, but this is likely to hurt their pockets.

“It is always better to put location as a top priority and rather compromise on the property. While it is impossible to change a property’s location, the home can be renovated or changed to meet the owner’s needs.”

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