How to buy a house for less than half its price

I was shocked when I read a story the other day that more than 2 000 Zimbabweans had just lost their houses after they were auctioned because banks wanted to recover $700 million that they owed.

It pained me because I know that there is a simple formula that most people can use to save their houses and at very little extra cost.

I discovered this formula way back in 1984 when a friend of mine bought a brand new Renault 18.

I had bought a house a year earlier, but started wondering why my friend was given three years to pay off the car, which was more expensive than my house, when I was given 25 years to settle my mortgage.

Of course one of the reasons that made me rethink was that when you are in town, one with a car is more visible than one with a house even if the house is more expensive than a car because you do not move around with your house.

I discovered then that with the repayments I was making I would have paid more than three and a half times the loan I had borrowed from the bank.

I also discovered that it was quite simple to pay much less than that and at the same time save my property from repossession in case I defaulted on my repayments say because of loss of employment or falling ill.

In fact, I discovered that it so easy to pay half the amount I was expected to pay after 25 years.

I applied this simple formula and paid off my house in 7 years. In the meantime I had moved cities and bought a flat. I paid it off in two years. In fact I paid off the flat before my first house.

I therefore decided to write a small guide on how to do this in 1994.

The booklet was entitled: How to buy a house for less than half its price.

I exhibited it at the Bulawayo Book Fair and then at the Zimbabwe International Book Fair but it got a lot of attention at the Bulawayo Book Fair where a lecturer in Investment Finance at the National University of Science and Technology decided to make it recommended reading for his students.

In my opinion, this was more for the simple concept rather than anything else.

For the benefit of Insider readers, I have, therefore, decided to give away five of these books every week. All you are required to do is answer one simple question.

I know the booklet is now too old but I believe it will kick-start you into thinking how easily you can save on your bond.

I will also be serialising the booklet on this column every Sunday from next week for the benefit of those not lucky enough to win the hard copy.

It is at the end of each insert that I will ask a question which if you answer correctly you can win a copy.

See you next week.

The Insider

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