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Top tips for stress-free home buying this festive season

13 Dec 2017

Estate agents in Cape Town are looking forward to a busy season despite the looming school holidays and festive season, and many are reporting that there has been no slowing of enquiries for accessibly-priced homes, especially in sought-after areas like the Southern Suburbs.

This is according to Eileen O’Sullivan and Peter Stingl, Area Specialists for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Constantia, Constantia Hills and Constantia Rural, who say that buyers are still actively looking, and the number of requests for valuations from sellers their office receives hasn’t declined despite the time of year.

“We are also anticipating considerable interest from upcountry buyers who use their vacation time in Cape Town to look at property, especially if they are considering moving to the Western Cape,” they say.

However, they caution that there are a number of factors investors need to take into account when buying at the end of the year to avoid any delays and ensure a seamless transaction.

“The deeds office runs on skeleton staff from around 10 December until after New Year - and they will also need to catch up with the backlog once they reopen. Therefore, transfers for December sales can only be expected to go through towards the end of March the following year,” say the agents.

“And with the council offices closed during the festive season, there is also a delay in getting essential documents required such as transfer duty receipts, rates clearance and building plans, which also delays the transfer process.”

In case of inconveniences caused by the slightly extended transfer period, sellers and buyers can mutually agree to an earlier occupation before the transfer is concluded. This would allow the buyers to move into their new homes in time provided all guarantees are in place and both parties agree on an occupational rent.

To avoid additional delays in the process of transfer, buyers should also ensure they have ‘their ducks in a row’ with all the relevant documentation at hand for a potential bond application, and they should apply to more than one financial institution.

Lew Geffen, Chairman of Lew Geffen, Sotheby’s International Realty, says if buyers are contemplating purchasing a home late in the year, it’s a good idea to use an experienced bond originator to assist with a comprehensive bond prequalification and have access to all financial institutions in the market.

“Due to their experience and in-depth knowledge of the banks’ requirements, bond originators know precisely what applicants need to successfully obtain a home loan. They will also help buyers to complete the necessary documentation and will negotiate the best interest on their behalf,” says Geffen.

“This also speeds up the administrative and application process as by using an originator, only one set of forms has to be to be completed and, as originators work electronically, banks are usually quick to process and respond to their applications.

“Additionally, this will not only accurately assess their buying power, it means that once a buyer does find the right home, a lot of the financial paperwork is already underway.”

Geffen says no matter the time of year one buys property, it’s always a wise purchase and, with the guidance of experienced property and financial professionals, it’s not only possible to buy your dream home, but also to make a lucrative long-term investment.