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What Are Buyers Looking For In A Property?


What Are Buyers Looking For In A Property?

Access to information and property market data has during the last few years brought a much better informed property buyer to the property market. Capital growth rates (i.e. property price increases) and transactional costs such as transfer duty and fees are also at an all-time highs. This has created a market where many buyers are refusing to settle for anything that does not measure up to certain standards.

While specific feature requests differ from buyer to buyer, the fundamentals cross most neighbourhood boundaries and price brackets. 

Here are a few of the most common ones that have become non-negotiable for most buyers who are now much more discerning when drawing up their short list of properties which offer them the best value for their money.

Fair Market Value vs Overpriced Property

With the majority of properties being listed online these days, it is a simple task to compare prices of similar properties in similar neighbourhoods. Even a fairly simple comparative property market analysis of a suburb makes it quite obvious when a seller (or agent) is overpricing a home. Comparative value will always be dominant in those properties which support the sales price with real value for the buyer.

Overpricing has seen many properties become stigmatized on the market – effectively providing a reason for buyers to put in an offer on those houses which offers better value in comparison to the overpriced property. History has also shown that overpriced property eventually sells for far less than it is worth. Buyers know what to expect for their money, and if sellers overreach, they are more likely to get no offers – or very low offers – than the asking price.

Capital Growth Potential 

Bond costs, transfer and legal fees amounts to additional costs of about 9% of the purchase price – which effectively means that depending what the capital growth rate of the suburb / town is where you buy, selling in the first year or two effectively means that you could be losing money. Because of this, more and more buyers are planning to hold onto their purchases for the long haul, with five- to ten-year ownerships on the low-end of normal. This means more purchases are being made with future growth in mind.

Property Improvement Potential

Buyers are looking for properties that not only offer good financial growth potential, although that is important, but also room to accommodate any lifestyle changes they may have within the next five to ten years. This could include room to start a family, or rental potential if they move on to bigger and better things – whatever it is, a plan for the future is a must.

Good overall condition

Properties in a bad general condition implies a history of neglect and buyers who are not specifically looking for a fixer-upper want to be certain that good maintenance practices have been adhered to. Any sign of disrepair can create doubt about the underlying condition of the property. 

Modern lifestyle features and security

Renovations are a hassle, not to mention expensive, so it is no surprise that most buyers are looking for houses that already accommodate their lifestyle needs. Open-plan living with a good flow to entertainment areas is very important these days. Houses with old-fashioned floor plans and lots of separate rooms are becoming more difficult to sell. 

Home Automation

Home automation devices provide besides comfort also energy saving and more peace of mind security - 81 percent of homeowners who already own smart devices are more willing to purchase a home that already has connected home automation gadgets such as smart locks, window sensors and motion detecting lights.

Water Saving Measures & Garden Maintenance

Buyers are also starting to look for properties with smaller gardens or gardens that have little or no maintenance and plants - due to water restrictions which has now become part of the South African lifestyle. Homes with large pools or sprawling gardens without adequate water-wise measures and systems in place will see a drop in demand – as water restriction shows up brutally in utility bills. Homes with indigenous plants and drought resistant lawns, grey water and rainwater harvesting systems, bore holes and water storage tanks will definitely have a competitive edge. 

Discerning buyers are much more aware of homes with eco-smart home technology – i.e. property which has all water outlets fitted with eco-products which reduces home water usage – such as eco-showerheads. 

Home Security Features

Integrated security is also essential, and homes that fall short of neighbourhood standards can put buyers off. If the house next door has burglar bars and electric fencing, sellers may want to consider installing some as well. A good security system could cost up to 1% of the property value. Traditional safety options such as an available neighbourhood watch program is important. Updated traditional safety measures such as reinforced window glass (tempered, laminated, wire mesh or plexiglass), window bars, window locks and window alarms and motion detectors all add value to your property.


While an increase in work-from-home businesses has seen proximity to CBDs becoming less important for many people, location still features highly on buyers’ non-negotiable lists. 

Convenient access to local amenities and freeways has become a common necessity for buyers. Some people prefer city living, some enjoy the suburban lifestyle, but all of them tend to have very clear ideas of their ideal location.

Author CCH
Published 26 Jul 2018 / Views -
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