It’s a buyer’s market: Tips for house-hunting in 2021

It’s good news for first time property buyers because there’s never been a better time to buy property in South Africa than right now.

According to the latest Absa Homeowner sentiment Index, buying sentiment is the highest it’s been in six years, with 82% of respondents saying the current market makes this the most appropriate time to buy property.

“That has a lot to do with interest rates being the lowest they have been in five decades. The banks are also eager to lend, making it easier for first-time buyers to enter the market,” says Barrie Swart, Gumtree’s Head of Operations.

Before you make an offer on that property that you may have added to your wishlist, here are a few first steps every house hunter should first consider.

  1. Decide how much you’re willing to pay – and stick to it

While it may be your dream home, this doesn’t mean you should automatically offer the asking price. Make an offer that suits your budget, and don’t be afraid to walk away from a home you like if the seller is not willing to take an offer that fits within your pre-agreed maximum. The last thing you want or need is to be left ‘house poor’ – that is, stuck with monthly repayments you can’t afford.

  1. Think about how much space you really need

Bigger families, and those hoping to start a family in the future, would do well to invest in a home that offers enough space for everyone to co-exist comfortably. It’s also important to remember that smaller homes tend to be more affordable – the more square meterage your home covers, the bigger your monthly bills. Give this a little thought before making your decision.

  1. Choose the best location for you

Property value is one important aspect when it comes to picking the neighbourhood you would like to live in. Other factors to consider include how safe the area is (you can chat to residents of the area, or opt for gated communities or security-controlled complexes) and whether there are good schools nearby for children to attend. Having easy access to main roads and freeway on-ramps will also save you from being stuck in traffic.

  1. Fixer-upper or simply move in?

If you have the time, patience, and spare cash to turn an older home with a solid structure into the home of your dreams, then by all means, go for it! However, not everyone has the time or patience for renovations and upgrades. Having to retile a bathroom or replace dated kitchen cabinetry seems simple, but can quickly become stressful if you aren’t really ready to take on a project that may require a lot of your time, energy and money.

  1. Think about the deal-breakers

For some, having a big kitchen with loads of storage space is a must, while others might not want to compromise on the amount of garden space their new home offers for kids to play and the family to spend quality time outdoors. If you’re after some peace and quiet, proximity to busy streets, stadiums or nightclubs would be red flags. Make a list of the deal-breakers and what you’re willing to compromise on and give some thought to these items before signing on the dotted line.

There’s no denying the property market is ripe for the picking at the moment and, once you’ve taken these tips into consideration, all that’s left to do is find your new home. Gumtree has a home for everyone! Head to or your Gumtree app (click for Apple & Android) to start your search.

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