“The single largest financial commitment and investment that most people will make throughout their lifetime is buying a home,” says Pearl Scheltema, CEO of Fitzanne Estates. “However, there is a slew of other costs to consider, and it’s good budgeting for them ahead of time so you can be sure you have the finances.”
According to her, the following expenses should be budgeted for:
Bond registration and transfer costs
These are the most significant costs associated with purchasing a home that buyers should be aware of and budget for. They are also unavoidable. You can calculate the fees on properties you’re considering by working with a credible real estate sales agent.
To give you an idea, with an R1 200 000 bond for a freehold property, the bond registration cost estimate would be R31 618 (incl. VAT) and the transfer cost estimate would be R31 580 (incl. VAT) if the seller is not VAT registered and the purchase is made by a natural person (i.e. you’re not buying the property as a trust or company) (incl. VAT). Note that these are estimates, and they do not include the bank initiation charge.
“Banks may not always give 100 percent financing, requiring the buyer to pay a deposit,” adds Scheltema. “At this time, only a few banks will include the costs of transfer, so make sure you have the cash available for this crucial stage of the home-buying process.”
In addition, first-time homebuyers can get 105 % bond approval subject to affordability from certain banking institutions only.
If you are buying a freehold property (not a sectional title), you will need to register for your water and electricity connection, and your telephone and internet lines if you need those. These costs vary from area to area, and the internet fee will depend on the type of connection that you want and whether the relevant lines are already installed. Your real estate sales agent will be able to provide guidance in this regard as well.
Generally speaking, put aside around R1 000 to R3 000 for connecting the electricity, water and telephone – but you may be required to put down a deposit with the telephone company as well, depending on your credit profile. Investigate the different internet connection costs with your service provider.
And obviously, once those services are connected, you will have to pay for them every month.
Rates and levies
If you have purchased a freehold property from a real estate sales agent, you will have to pay rates and taxes, which can be anywhere from a couple of hundred to a few thousand rand per month, depending on the value of your property and the area. Rates cover sewerage usage and garbage removal, while your taxes are calculated against the value of your property. The real estate sales agent should have included these rates in the information about the property when you were house hunting, but if you need to find out, you can ask the municipality representative when you register for water and electricity. These rates will stay the same every month.
If you purchased a sectional title through your real estate sales agent, the apartment block’s Body Corporate will have established a monthly levy to pay for general maintenance, security, and garden services, among other things.
Your bank will need you to carry homeowners’ insurance to cover any structural damage to the property. This is often reasonable, and you have a variety of options to choose from. Your contents, however, are not covered by this insurance, therefore it’s a good idea to look into the costs of a separate home content insurance.
“If you already have insurance, you must notify your broker of your new residence because this may change the risk variables in your policy and affect your premiums,” Scheltema warns.
General repairs and maintenance
While some properties are in pristine condition on the day of transfer, you’ll most likely need to clean, repaint, and make other general repairs to make yours seem more like home. Some will be necessary, while others will be based on your personal preferences or budget.
“You should definitely set aside some cash for unforeseen expenses,” says Scheltema. “Arrange with your real estate sales agent to access the property ahead of moving in, so that you can write up a realistic budget for what you will need to spend.”
Making the home-buying process easier
“Owning a new home is liberating, but the financial commitment can feel like a burden,” says Scheltema. “You can budget for the significant expenses that are expected to come your way with forethought and planning, giving you a sense of control and confidence as you settle into your new home.”
Fitzanne Estates is a qualified real estate agency that specialises in buying and selling property in Gauteng. To make the home-buying process that much easier allows our expertise to become yours and obtain the very best for your investment.
More about Fitzanne Estates
Fitzanne Estates (Pty) Ltd is a Property Management Company that can sufficiently administer your property investment to the benefit of the Landlord, the Body Corporate, and the NPC – Non-Profit Company. Services include Letting, Sectional Title Management, Full Title Management (NPC – Non-Profit Company) and Sales.
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This article first appeared here.
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