House-hunting and Covid-19

The coronavirus has impacted our lives dramatically in the past few days and there has been an unprecedented roll-out of information and rules/laws aimed at containing the spread of the virus.

There will soon be new dynamics at play in the housing market in South Africa. On the one hand, affordability levels will shift as existing homeowners find themselves in changing financial circumstances. Many will be under financial pressure as their businesses are negatively impacted by Covid-19 and they seek to sell and move into a lower-cost environment. Conversely, younger folk living in higher-density accommodation may consider the risks associated with living so close to other households and seek a new freestanding home. Indeed, a high percentage of our Millenials are involved in industries that prosper in these times. (eg. IT industry.) So, the property price drivers are being pulled in different directions, and opportunities will be out there for individuals and couples who can take advantage of them.

Right now, those who are actively looking at buying a new home are faced with multiple dilemmas associated with viewing show houses and interacting with sellers, real estate agents and other service providers involved in the industry.

Mike Greef, CEO of Greefs International Real Estate, says that their agents have adopted the following precautionary measures in order to lower risks for all involved in a potential property transaction;

  • No more traditional show houses. Private viewings can be arranged by appointment for potential buyers after a brief Covid-19 risk profile assessment.
  • Agents will not drive potential buyers to home viewings. All parties should use their own transport.
  • Sales staff are strongly encouraged to not come into the office. Home is the new sales office.

Additionally, personal hygiene and appropriate social distancing are personal responsibilities. The use of hand sanitizers, masks, wet-wipes, etc. during a home viewing are deemed to be quite acceptable and encouraged.

It goes without saying that property sales professionals will be at the forefront of the high-risk service providers in our economy and it will be quite understandable that they will want to be sure that home viewings are being requested by genuine buyers. The time, effort and costs involved in multiple private viewings are considerable.

Of course, the risks are similar for potential buyers who are doing multiple viewings with sales agents and entering a number of homes.

Every action taken to reduce personal infection risk will be of value, and multiple layers of protection can have a significant effect. There is no doubt that being ‘pre-qualified’ to buy a new home must be the very first step in the risk management process. It makes no sense to put yourself, and others, at infection risk multiple times through viewing homes for sale, only to find out that your home loan application has been declined by the bank. Pre-qualification helps you to determine your affordability, and you can focus on only viewing the homes which fall into your repayment-ability level.

With Silent Partners, all of our free bond origination services are done online. Our free pre-qualification application is available 24/7 online. Auto-responders will email to you a list of any supporting documentation needed as soon as you submit your application. Within a very short time, buyers can be in possession of a formal ‘Pre-Qualification Certificate’ which will show sellers and sales agents that you are a serious, pre-qualified buyer.

‘Need to get started? Try our quick affordability assessment by clicking here. This will give you a rough idea of what you can afford.

If you want to get a formal Pre-Qualification Certificate, then complete our online application here. (Be sure to register as a user first if you want to save your partly completed application before submission.)

We have an enviable approval record (no bank declines in 2019 or 2020 so far,) and will only submit applications that we have painstakingly vetted and assisted you in getting to the most accurate and positive presentation of your affordability.

Speak to Silent Partners to get pre-qualified free of charge.

Brian Woodland – 071 173 3722

Gary Christy – 071 370 5250   

Ruben Manikam (KZN) – 083 265 6743