Costly Property-Related Errors and How To Avoid Them

Costly Property-Related Errors and How To Avoid Them

Given that the average house price in South Africa is approximately R800 000 and that most people take out a hefty bond to finance their home, home owners would be well advised to prevent additional property-related expenses by avoiding simple oversights. This is according to Jenny Rushin, Provincial Sales Manager at ooba, South Africa's leading mortgage originator, who advises that consumers can safeguard themselves financially by taking note of five of the most common property-related mistakes made:

1. Shop around before securing a bond Shopping around with multiple banks and negotiating the best deal can make a big difference to your monthly bond repayments. A bond originator is able to assist by submitting an application simultaneously to multiple lenders, ensuring a greater chance of approval and on the best terms. Originator consultants understand the different credit criteria and requirements of each bank and are able to provide independent advice to potential home owners. Additionally, duplication of documentation is avoided ensuring fast approvals while benefiting from a single point of contact to manage the entire process. A bond originator's service is also at no cost to the homebuyer and without any obligation to accept a particular loan sourced.

2. Under-insuring your home and contents If you've made any improvements to your property since taking out your home insurance, it will have changed the value of your home. Significant changes to your house will increase the value it should be insured for, so it's important to keep your insurer up to date with any changes. Also, don't forget your contents insurance as most people often underestimate how much their belongings are worth. If you purchase new furniture or electronics, then you should review your contents policy (at least annually) to ensure that you have adequate cover.

3. Failing to take basic steps to secure your home It's all very good and well to have a home contents insurance policy, but if you don't take the appropriate measures to secure your property, you may find yourself seriously out of pocket if you are burgled. If your home fails to meet your insurer's security requirements, then your policy will become void, even if you've paid premiums for years. Don't waste your insurance premiums or, worse, face having to pay to replace stolen possessions. Read your contents policy carefully and ensure your home meets its minimum security requirements.

4. Using a sub-standard contractor Substandard home improvements can cost SA consumers millions every year and can actually reduce the value of your home, or worse, cause expensive damage. Unfortunately, the process of sourcing a reliable builder and managing a building or renovation project can be extremely stressful, but if done incorrectly can add lasting financial stress for a homeowner. To safeguard yourself always remember to do a thorough background check on anyone who is going to take a hammer to your home. This includes requesting to see proof of their building credentials which can include memberships such as the Master Builders South Africa (MBSA).

5. Spending on improvements that add little value to your home Not every improvement will add value to your home. For example, new carpets costing R50 000 add very little value to your property's overall worth. However, the right paint job can add up to 10% to your home's value. Your first home improvement priority should be to ensure the property is structurally sound. Roofing, windows, damp proofing and the electrics should all be in top condition and if they're not, should be at the top of your home improvement list. Once you've taken care of the structural side of things, you can move on to improving the look and feel of your home. Have a discussion with your local estate agent to get some advice about what features can add the most value to your home.

Hello ooba news

When applying for a home loan, one of your most important considerations should be securing the lowest interest rate possible. And when the home loan is granted, you should do everything you can to reduce the term and the interest that you pay.

It came as some relief to homeowners when the prime interest rate was cut by 50 basis points to just 8.5% last month. Although this provides a welcome reduction in the monthly costs of repaying a mortgage, ooba, the South African home loan experts, say it would be wise for people to keep their repayment levels unchanged.

Despite the buyer's market in the property industry at the moment, in the wake of the global economic downturn, banks are still wary of granting 100% home loans. In light of this, if you're considering buying a home, it's a good idea to start saving up for a decent deposit.

If you're thinking about buying your first home, get your financial affairs in order as soon as possible. You need a clean credit record to secure a home loan. Unless you have a clean record of servicing debt, your bank will be unlikely to grant you a home loan.