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Tips for first time home buyers in 2022
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Tips for first time home buyers in 2022

Buying a house is not like buying bread. You don’t just walk up to your nearest shop or tuckshop, lean over the counter and ask for the freshest loaf they have while having a friendly chat about the latest neighbourhood gossip. The worst thing that can happen when you make a mistake buying bread is you get a mouldy loaf and ultimately lose just a dollar. If you make a mistake while buying a house it can be demolished as an illegal structure or you might lose your money to some guy and never get to set foot in your dream home.

That is very unlikely to happen if you follow our sensible tips and go about it the right way. The reason why scammers continue to thrive in the real estate field is that most buyers are first-time buyers. Anyway here is our list of tips for first-time home buyers in 2022 in no particular order.

  • Never buy your house from Facebook listings. Houses cost a lot of money so it is only natural that you might want to save as much as you can but just like in the real world there are criminals who bank on this very same fact. They have these very cheap listings on Facebook with the intention of luring you to buy through them. Some of these sales go through without a hitch but a good portion of these sales are scams as well. You have people selling houses they are not authorised to sell, houses with contentious ownership claims, houses that do not have title deeds, double listings and houses sold to more than one person. Most Facebook agents are not registered with Estate Agents Council of Zimbabwe. When things go wrong sometimes they are not able to help you. Sometimes they are part of the scam itself.

  • You should only consider houses listed on legit sites like PropertyBook. Here we make sure that every listing is legit and made by a registered real estate agent.

  • Make sure that you enlist the help of a registered Real Estate Agent who is a member of the Estate Agents Council of Zimbabwe. That is what the law requires. Sure it might cost you a bit more but you can never put a price on getting your dream house. The cost of making a mistake will be higher than whatever extra you will be asked to pay if you engage the services of a registered agent.

  • Never buy a house online without actually getting to see it in person or at the very least getting a virtual tour through someone you can trust. This advice is meant for those in the diaspora. Scammers are aware of the fact that most local Zimbabweans do not have a lot of disposable income. Most locals are living hand to mouth and can hardly afford everyday basics so buying a house is beyond them. Those in the diaspora tend to have a little bit more and so these are often targeted. You should make sure that you engage a relative or friend in Zimbabwe to go and check out a listing to make sure that it lives up to its description. Estate agents use words like cozy and snug to mean tiny for example. You want someone to give you the real picture. That means always getting to view the property before making a purchase.

  • You should never settle for the first listing that tugs your heart. A lot of buyers have the habit of settling for the first property they lay their eyes on and fall in love with it. You need to consider other options and see if the listing that has stolen your heart is actually good value for money.

  • You should know all the costs of buying the house. Most buyers make the mistake of thinking the listed price is actually the final price they will pay. Often there are other fees involved. Make sure you understand what these are and who is responsible for paying them you or the seller. 

  • Know the rates involved. Some amateurs out there do not know that even landlords are beholden to someone too. At the end of every month, there are bills to be paid sometimes it feels like you are paying rentals even though you are the landlord. Make sure you get a house with rates you will be able to afford. This is especially true if you are buying the house using funds obtained from some once-off scheme such as an inheritance or retirement lump sum.

  • Most houses are listed multiple times by multiple agents. Always take care to check out all the listings and go with agents you think are the easiest to deal with and the best.

  • Always try to negotiate on the price if you can. The good thing is that while there is a housing crisis out there most people are not buying houses, there are few buyers so you probably have some leverage.

  • This should be at the very top but like we said these tips are in no particular order. Anyway, you need to identify your needs before you settle on your given house or apartment. How many bedrooms do you need? How many bathing rooms? What about your preferred location?

  • Avoid buying a house in a nascent neighbourhood from a developer you have never heard of.

  • Be wary of housing schemes that have been operating for years without delivering anything. Be way of new housing schemes which are very new and have no traceable references.

  • It is always wise to consider a full or partial mortgage even if you can afford the house using cash. If a mortgage is available with a good interest you should consider this. Invest the cash you have at an interest higher than that mortgage interest and you should literally be able to get your house for an even lower price.

Think of any other tips? Feel free to share with us via email.