First-time buyers want move-in homes

Greater affordability and declining home prices are now prompting more first-time buyers to enter the property market.

And Dr Willie Marais, national president of the Institute of Estate Agents of SA, says that is of course good news for sellers in a market where supply exceeds demand.

“However, sellers should keep in mind that new entrants to the market may have a very different approach to buying property than more seasoned buyers. Experienced buyers are probably more adept at spotting underlying value and will consider properties that need a bit of TLC if they can negotiate the price down.

“Although first-time buyers are definitely also looking for good value – and even bargains – they are less likely to consider properties that need a lot of maintenance work.

“Sellers should remember that first-time buyers probably rented accommodation previously and are used to calling in landlords to take care of problems cropping up. Chances are that they have little experience of property maintenance and prefer to buy property that is in move-in condition.

“On top of that, with the deposit requirements still in force for many buyers, it is unlikely that new buyers will have any spare cash left to spend on renovating or maintenance.”

Marais adds that presentation of the property is always important, but arguably more so for first-time buyers. “Buying your first home is a emotional decision and it is important that sellers prepare their homes to showcase it to the best advantage.”

A fresh coat of paint, a general clean-up and packing away clutter are the basics of preparing a home for showing to prospective clients. It is also important to make sure everything is functional and in good working order, but Marais cautions buyers not to spend large sums on renovations.

“Refitting an entire kitchen or bathroom may spruce up the property, but in the current economic climate it is highly unlikely that sellers will recoup the expense.”

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