How to find your perfect neighbourhood match

Home buyers should pick the right neighbourhood before they even start looking for a house, according to Abel Mngadi, head of new business and sales at FNB Housing Finance.
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Johannesburg - Home buyers should pick the right neighbourhood before they even start looking for a house, according to Abel Mngadi, head of new business and sales at FNB Housing Finance. “It is pointless rushing into buying the perfect home, within your affordability range, if you find that the area is entirely unsuitable to your lifestyle,” said Mngadi. "There are a few non-negotiables when considering a neighbourhood and buyers should be strict with themselves and make sure the area fits all their needs." He provides the following tips: - Buyers should look at access to the public transport system, be it bus or taxi; - Another key consideration is safety in the area; - Proximity to important local amenities, your work or your children’s schools as well as the potential for growth in the value of your home in the area, are all important. Try to narrow your search to selected areas “It is pointless searching an entire city, as it will ultimately be frustrating and as waste of time, as there may be many houses that suit your affordability levels within a very wide range,” said Mngadi. “Decide on a few areas that you are comfortable with that meet most of your biggest needs. Then stick to those areas.” Once you decide on the areas and you are satisfied that they are suitable, it is worth doing as much research as possible. Safety is always an important aspect and it is worth a trip to the local police station to enquire about crime in that particular area. “Residents associations are also a very good source of information,” said Mngadi. “Many neighbourhoods have residents associations which will be able to tell you the latest crime incidents in the areas, and any planned building or developments.” Understanding what is planned for the neighbourhood is important as you may not want to buy in an area that is earmarked as the next big thoroughfare, or alternatively you can find out that they are building a shopping centre and amenities that will increase the value of your home. “One important aspect to finding the right neighbourhood is ensuring that the area has a good chance of increasing in value,” said Mngadi. Historical property values are a good indication of the future investment into a neighbourhood, there are many property guides online if you search that will give you the growth over a certain period. In some instances you can buy a report for a minimum sum which will give you the details of an area including the growth. “Once you have decided on areas that suit your main needs, you need to consider aspects that affect your everyday living comfort,” said Mngadi. “These may seem small or even irrelevant when you are buying a house such as if you are noise sensitive or varying temperatures, but will make a big difference to your comfort on a day-to-day level.” Visit the area at different times of the day to see whether traffic noise or even barking dogs at night or a club in the area will bother you. If you are sensitive to the cold a suburb next to a river will be far colder and need more insulation during the winter. “Also consider other aspects of your life, especially your leisure time,” said Mngadi. If you are sporty quick access to a park or the beach could be relief. If you love restaurants and entertainment a vibey suburb with restaurants and craft markets could make your weekends a pleasure. The same goes with proximity to friends and family. “There are so many different aspects to consider in the suburb you ultimately want to live in, make sure you do thorough research before you say ‘yes to the address’,” said Mngadi. - Fin24 This article was first published on Fin24: