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Buyers: This is how you shop in a buyers’ market

Finding a dream home

In a property market where buyers are spoiled for choice one mistake they simply cannot afford to make is to allow the overwhelming amount of stock to put them off the task of sifting through the mountain of listings available and delay them in putting down an offer.

“When purchasing in a buyer’s market, time and options may be on your side. But, unnecessarily delaying a decision could also be costly. Take time to do your research and think carefully about your options, but don’t fall into the trap of over analysing,” advises Adrian Goslett, regional director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.

Coming from a broker/owner who has had to help many buyers adjust from a seller’s market mentality to a buyer’s market mentality, Susan Watts, of RE/MAX Living that operates in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town, provides five tips to help buyers find their perfect home.


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#1 Set ambitious search parameters

If you are looking up to R2,5m, widen your search upwards to R3m, or even R3,5m and lower your minimum to R2 million. There is no harm in using your web browser to sort by price after the results load. Sellers are adjusting their prices constantly and accepting lower offers, so you may miss out on your dream home if you don’t widen your search.

#2 Make bold offers

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The seller’s agent has an obligation in terms of the EAAB Code of Conduct to present any written offer to the seller. A seller can choose not to accept this offer, but you might get lucky and have the offer accepted even though you simply offered an amount that fits your budget. If your offer is not accepted, you can simply move on to the next one

#3 Speak to a bond originator

This is a service that the buyer does not pay for. There are some excellent originators out there who can save you a fortune. And, that extra R200,000 saved on bond repayments may bridge the gap between the home you can afford and the home you believe is beyond your reach.

#4 Look beyond bad listing photos

Be realistic

Agents generally use professional photographers, but some don’t. If the pictures are not great, try and look past this fact when viewing online. It is possible for a beautiful home, marketed incorrectly, to come across as a dud online. In the same breath, it is also possible for a beautifully photographed home to fall short of your expectations. Be mindful of this when you scroll through pages of properties listings.

#5 Attend Show Days

They might be considered old-fashioned, but even if they are, they still work. Set up an alert for the area in which you are interested in buying and check out the weekly show days. It is one of the best opportunities to view multiple properties with a qualified agent present and available to answer your questions.

Top tip: Go early; most show days are busy later in the afternoon. If you go early, you will generally have more time and space to browse at your leisure.

As a final word of advice, Watts explains that a qualified and experienced agent can help you narrow down your search. An agent has often seen most of the properties that are on the market and will be able to know which are suitable for the buyers on their database. This saves buyers from wasting their time on unsuitable listings.

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