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When looking for a home to buy, make sure you leave no stone unturned - you should even flush the toilets

Make sure you have a list of must-haves and check properties thoroughly when viewing to buy.

Make sure you have a list of must-haves and check properties thoroughly when viewing to buy.

Published Mar 24, 2022

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If you find yourself walking away from a home viewing and then suddenly remembering a question you wanted to ask, or an aspect of the property you meant to check, you are not alone.

It is very common to be overwhelmed by the home viewing process that you forget things that can actually end up being very important.

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And while nothing stops you from having a second viewing or asking the question later, you can try to avoid kicking yourself by following the advice of estate agents.

You should keep a list of questions handy that you can refer to, says Jawitz Properties Sandton branch manager Jeremy Craig.

“There will be some unanswered questions from your first viewing but you can always follow up with the agent to get answers to questions you did not ask the first time around.”

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You should also make sure you have allocated enough time to view the property properly, says Matseleng Mogodi, founder and principal of Snooks Estates.

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“Sometimes people are in a big hurry and they may even say, ‘No, I am going to change this or that,’ and this makes them unobservant. It may seem rude to ask to check cupboards, for they will agree to have the house checked thoroughly.”

If the property is really big and expensive, it would also be advisable to hire a property inspector – not a property valuator or agent – to check it thoroughly.

“Sometimes the seller genuinely does not know trees are a big problem somewhere, and using an inspector might reveal some serious problems. But also, it might reveal the heaven that it is. It is a worthwhile expense, considering the investment you are about to make on the property.”

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Karen Turner, property practitioner at Jawitz Properties North Coast, says an agent who specialises in a particular area should have the knowledge and expertise to provide a buyer with all the information required.

“An agent should be able to answer questions on the area and have a good overview of the property market in general.

“Agents should also have an in-depth knowledge of the property and encourage buyers to have a really good look at everything – open cupboards, flush toilets, look at the state of windows, among other things, and even carry out a professional home inspection to establish that everything is in order.

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“The agent should also discuss fibre options, security and, again, advise the buyers to get a feel of the area themselves.”

Property practitioner Cacisa Mgudlwa, who is also a town planner, says you should make a list of must-haves before you go house viewing, and investigate the area before you view the property.

“Get a feel for the neighbourhood, day and night, and check on security with the local police station. If you are buying anything but a free-standing home, high noise levels and bad views could be a deterrent.”

In addition to opening cupboards and flushing toilets, she says you should look underneath bathroom and kitchen sinks, flick switches, and open and close windows and doors and check the state of shelving, flooring, plumbing and general functionality.

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