Check that the Estate Agent you choose is registered. If in doubt, check with the Estate Agency Board. Always remember that the Estate Agent is working on behalf of the seller and will try to get the best price possible.
What is the security situation like in the area in which you are proposing to buy? If you are not sure, there may be a neighbourhood watch or Ratepayers Association which can give you advice.
Are there amenities in the area close to where you propose to buy which will suit your needs. This may be a church, school, crèche, shopping centre, sports stadium etc.
Get a feel of prices in the area! Ask the agent for a list of prices that houses have sold for in the area during the last six to nine months. Compare the asking price of the house you are interested in with these prices as well as other asking prices in the area.
Try to look at the house without the curtains, the dream lounge suite and the stunning furniture. At the end of the day, you are buying the walls and roof, not the loose assets.
Remember that when you sign to purchase a house, it is being sold ‘voetstoets’, and as such, it removes the sellers’ responsibility to repair any defects. But you can and should ask both the agent and the seller if there are any defects or problems in the house. Even after this, get the house thoroughly examined for all defects and potential problems by an expert. Typical problem areas which you might encounter are:
Pests or ants;
Cracks in walls or floors;
Plumbing defects or leaking pipes;
Poor roof supports or loose tiles;
Check that the owner(s) is not having problems (such as a divorce) and that the water, lights and rates bills are up to date, as these could affect the length of time that it takes to transfer the house into your name.