Don't be too fussy when looking for the perfect home as, unfortunately, that home may not exist - you may have to create it.

If you can compromise on the small things you will be able to turn a property into the home of your dreams.

If you can compromise on the small things you will be able to turn a property into the home of your dreams.

Published Mar 24, 2022


When searching for the perfect home it is very possible to overlook properties that could, one day be perfect. After all, the chances are that you are highly unlikely to find a property that meets all your heart’s desires straight off the bat.

However, that does not mean you have to drop your standards. You just need to know which ’wants’ to let go of and where to see potential in the homes you view.

Karen Turner, property practitioner at Jawitz Properties North Coast, says some buyers have preconceived ideas about certain areas or estates, or a certain configuration of bedrooms and living areas, and sometimes they need to have a more open approach to explore an area or option that they had not previously considered.

“Sometimes they also express concern about a wall colour or there may be cupboards, carpets or furnishings or an overgrown garden not to their taste, which can stop them realising the potential of a property.

“Very often buyers are unable to visualise how their furniture will fit a certain space but you generally need to be able to look past these issues and reach some form of compromise.”

It is important to have a list of requirements when you are considering what type of properties to view, says Jawitz Properties Sandton branch manager Jeremy Craig.

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“But I’d stress that you should have an open mind and not be too rigid with your requirements to avoid limiting the options that could be available to you. You have to keep in mind that you will need to compromise on certain requirements depending on your budget but, more importantly, on the basis that no property will ever fully tick all the boxes.”

In essence, you need to know what you are not prepared to compromise on but be mindful that there will be some aspects of a property that will not be 100% right.

“Unless you are building it yourself – and even then it may not be 100% – you may be looking for a very long time for the perfect home.”

Often, potential buyers come to a viewing without first getting to know what they would qualify for in terms of a bond, property practitioner Cacisa Mgudlwa, who is also a town planner, adds.

“They get carried away with kitchen islands, wood burners and Roman blinds, without carrying out thorough research and preparations for finance and budget. It is important to know, and learn about, your bond options as well as other costs involved with buying a property.”

She adds: “People have different ideas about decor. Look beyond the clutter, colours, cupboards and carpets that might not be to your taste and be open to hidden potential.”

Stay open-minded. Look for the potential in the home you are viewing that might not be obvious when you first view it.

Also, says Matseleng Mogodi, founder and principal of Snooks Estates, sometimes photos are so good that the potential buyer thinks the property is perfect. So, ask questions and check out all the property’s features before you physically view it.

“This helps to manage expectations because many times a buyer will say, ‘But I didn’t know this house was so bad – the photos were misleading.’”

“It is important to ask the agent to be truthful so you go into a viewing with an open mind and don’t end up feeling misled.”

Ironically, though, she says a lot of buyers will see a property at a price they consider a good one, but then expect the seller to repair many things.

“It is crucial to understand that sometimes sellers will sell because they have financial challenges and have to sell fast, meaning that they would be willing to get less than the market price.

“The great thing about the new Property Practitioners Act is that it is now mandatory for sellers to disclose the defects and for the buyer to sign in acknowledgment, so all parties will know what they are getting.”

Another critical aspect to bear in mind, Mogodi adds, is that, say a property is painted a colour that you find hideous, this is no reason not to not buy it. There are many other smaller things that you may not like, and which may not be as costly to replace. If that is the case, take the property and estimate how much those changes would cost you to fix to get the house you want.

“Last, you must realise that most houses will not give you 100% of what you want, and it’s up to you to turn that home into what you dreamed of.”

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