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THE REAL ESTATE AGENCY can proudly lay claim to being one of the leading property service providers in SA.

When you buy a home you are not just buying bricks and mortar or a roof over your head - you are also buying your future.

Where you choose to live will determine who you make friends with, how you entertain, where your children go to school, where you shop and go to gym, how hard you have to work, and probably even what your finances will look like in five, 10 and 20 years’ time.

So it is very important to keep a cool head when making your choice and avoid the serious miscalculations that can easily occur if you are too emotional about the decision.

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So we suggest that you start your search at the low end of your price range and work your way up. This way, there is a good chance that you will find a home that has everything on your must-have list long before you reach your affordability ceiling. It is worth remembering that at the current core home loan interest rate of 10.5%, spending an extra R50 000 on your home will not only add R500 a month to your bond repayment, but add about R120 000 to the total cost of the property over 20 years. Just as it is important to ensure that your expectations are in line with your budget, it is vital to stick to that budget and protect your financial future.

Buyers need to remember that doing nothing for a while is also an option - new homes come on to the market every day, so there is no need to get stuck with one you hate. If you do, chances are that you will just end up moving again, with all the expense that entails, or making costly and disruptive alterations and additions to get it the way you wanted it in the first place. Similarly, if it turns out that there are snags with a home that you do like - major repair issues that were not obvious at first, an inflexible asking price or a difficult possession date - you should consider moving on. Being open to keep looking can help you regain perspective and save you from making rash decisions you might really regret later.