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Luxuries of living in a spanking new premises

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Many buyers find the appeal of selecting their own fixtures and finishes, being the first to live in a house, and stronger structural guarantees, too good to resist.

More property buyers today are enjoying the luxury of living in new homes, with the rate of development continuing unabated throughout the Western Cape and the country.

Not only this, but they also have the choice of buying new homes in new developments, buying them off plan, or building their own from scratch. There is no doubt new properties have an array of benefits for their owners. 

From savings on future home maintenance and repairs to bespoke fittings and fixtures, Rhys Dyer, chief executive of ooba, says there are many benefits to buying a newly-built home.

Many buyers find the appeal of selecting their own fixtures and finishes, being the first to live in a house, and stronger structural guarantees, too good to resist.

Furthermore, if the property is built to the correct standards, homeowners may also enjoy lower running costs and energy bills.

Property developments are also creating communities, leading Mike Greeff, chief executive of Greeff Christie’s International Real Estate, to believe they complement the flexible lifestyles people are now living.

“New property developments have experienced an evolution of purpose in the last two decades or so that has seen developments move from putting up houses on an erf to creating communities in various shapes and forms,” he says.

Properties in developments also tend to be more affordably priced than established homes, Dyer says, and are therefore a “boon for first-time buyers who are often priced out of the market” due to soaring interest rates and high property prices.

More significant, he says, are the savings buyers can make by buying off-plan, the main one being the absence of transfer duty. Although buyers will have to pay VAT in the absence of transfer duty, this amount will be less than the VAT amount on an existing property sold by a private individual, he says.

Just like buyers looking for existing homes, those looking for new-builds, or buying off-plan, also have a choice of properties, from sectional title semi-detached houses, townhouses, flats, or apartments, Greeff says.

Even buyers aiming to live in an estate have a choice, including eco and security estates, equestrian estates, wildlife estates and golf courses.

Then there are those who want to live in a brand new home, but prefer to build it themselves on their own land, and to their own specifications, brick by brick.

Such a decision is a “little overwhelming” though, says Bill Rawson, property developer and chairperson of the Rawson Property Group. But although daunting, it is not an impossible task, he says, giving the following advice.

* Be realistic about building costs: Although new construction techniques on the market can make the process more affordable, such as steel- and timber-framed houses, building a house from scratch is highly unlikely to be the cheapest option.
* Find the right land: Location is not just proximity to good shops, schools and neighbours. Buyers will also need to consider accessibility for construction vehicles, and access to power and water for the construction process. A professional survey needs to be done. 
* Understand building loans: A building loan is quite different to an ordinary mortgage.
* Get professional plans: To qualify for bank financing, builders need to have a comprehensive construction quote based on accurate specifications and finishes schedules.
* Expect the unexpected: “Every building project comes with at least a few gremlins. It’s a good idea to have a little cash on hand to deal with unexpected expenses.”

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