Frequently asked questions

If I use BetterBond to get my home loan, will I have to pay BetterBond?

Nope! You pay nothing. Niks. Nada. Our service to you is completely free of charge

So, how does BetterBond get paid?

The bank pays us a once-off fee for brokering the home loan deal for you.

Does the fee earned by BetterBond mean that I have to pay hidden costs?

Nope. There are absolutely no hidden costs. The fees you pay the bank and attorneys will be exactly the same, whether you use our services or not.

Can BetterBond guarantee me a low interest rate on my bond?

We’ll do everything we can to get you a lower interest rate, but there are no guarantees: your individual credit rating, risk profile, financial stability, and whether you’ve put down a deposit or not will all influence what the bank is willing to offer you. What we do promise is to negotiate with multiple banks on your behalf. Once. You’re able to see all the offers side by side and you’ll be able to choose the one that works best for you.

Can BetterBond guarantee that I will obtain home finance?

Can we guarantee financial approval? Sadly, we can’t – and nor can anyone else. Your credit profile is really the deciding factor. But what we can assure you is that we have an 80% bond approval rate – so your chances are so much better with us.

Do I have to use the bond originator suggested by my agent, or can I use any originator?

The choice is entirely up to you. Typically, estate agents establish a relationship with a particular bond originator over time, built on trust, to ensure that the customer secures the best deal and is looked after in this transaction. There is real value in this.

Do I follow up my application by checking in with the bank, or do I call BetterBond?

You can leave it all to us. We’ll track the application for you and keep you in the loop at all times.

Once my application has been submitted, how long do I have to wait for approval?

You should hear from us within 48 hours, but if it takes any longer, we’ll let you know right away. And we’ll keep you updated every step of the way.

I’ve heard of ‘approval’ and ‘final grant’. What’s the difference

The bank will ‘approve’ your loan based on your supporting documentation and your credit history. ‘final grant’ is awarded once the bank has sent a valuer to value the property. Once this happens, the transfer process will begin. Exciting!

Why do I need to sign so many documents at the attorneys?

It’s a huge decision to buy a home, and a long-term commitment! The loan period could last as long as 30 years, so all parties need to be sure of the loan terms and ensure that the paperwork complies with current legislation. We know it’s hard work, but it’s worth doing it properly.

Why is getting pre-approved for a bond so important?

We want to make you as ‘attractive’ as possible to both the bank and the seller. The pre-approval process will give you a better sense of what you can afford, and what you can expect from the banks. And with your pre-approval certificate in hand, the seller will know that you’re a serious buyer. It’s just a really smart move.

Do I have to pay to get pre-approved?

Nope, you don’t pay a cent! Our verified pre-approval certificate is on the house!

How long is the entire pre-approval process

We want to make it as quick and easy as possible for you. Once we have all your documents – and if it’s a normal weekday – we’ll supply you with a certificate within 24 hours.

Once I have my pre-approval certificate, how long is it valid for?

The certificate we give you is valid for three (3) months, maximum – but, remember, if your financial situation changes in that time, you’ll have to go through the process all over again.

Is BetterBond a financial institution?

In a word: no. We are not a financial institution and we do not provide finance. What we do offer you is an origination service, free of charge. What’s origination? We approach various financial institutions on your behalf, bring back multiple offers, and help secure you the best possible home loan available. And we’ll guide you through the entire home-buying process.

I have my eye on a new car. Does BetterBond offer vehicle finance?

Sadly, no. We don’t provide finance of any kind – not even for dream cars. But we do offer you a bond origination service to help you secure the best possible home loan when you finally find that dream home. That’s it!

Does BetterBond offer credit cards?

No cards. No credit. We are not a financial institution and don’t provide finance. BetterBond offers you an origination service, free of charge. We approach various financial institutions on your behalf, and help secure you the best possible home loan – all while guiding you through the entire homebuying process. That’s the deal!

What is the minimum income I need to qualify for a home loan?

The income you earn and the expenses you incur will determine the loan you qualify for. Banks calculate your score using your total salary package, before deductions and excluding benefits, like medical aid. Some banks may include housing and travel allowances. As a benchmark, we suggest that your minimum single or joint gross household income should be no less than R10 000 per month.

Does BetterBond only help first-time homebuyers?

We help every type of homebuyer –first-, second-or third-time, and even investment property buyers. Helpful insight: in some cases, first-time homebuyers may qualify for transfer and registration attorney fees to either be discounted or even included as part of the bond amount.

Besides home loans, can BetterBond also assist me with bonds for trusts and businesses?

Homes are our thing – our only thing. We specialise in residential property and not property purchased for commercial or business-related activities.

BetterBond can happily help you with the following types of applications:

  • Residential homes, flats, townhouses, new developments, etc.
  • Unbonded properties – where you have the title deed of the property and would like to apply for a bond on this property (with no bond currently in place)
  • Building loans for residential premises
  • Vacant land that will be used for residential purposes
  • • Residential farms smaller than 20ha

Whether your residential home loan applications are in your personal, business or legal entity names (company, cc, Pty, trusts), we can help you out.

Does BetterBond help foreign nationals?

Ja. Oui. Da. Yebo. That’s a big ‘yes’, in any language. We can happily help foreigners and non-residents wishing to purchase property in South Africa. You will simply need to comply with South African legislation. Banks here will apply their own LTV restrictions on the application.

I’m a South African citizen living or working abroad. Can BetterBond still help me?

If you want a home in your home country, we are here to help. BetterBond can guide you through the process while you’re abroad. All you require is a South African bank account and a good credit record. A deposit may also be needed.

Can I apply for a bond together with another person?

Yes! Depending on your need, we can assist with:

  • Individual applications – where you apply alone, are single or are not married in community of property
  • Joint applications (two individuals) - you may wish to apply with your partner, friend or parent. (Remember, if you are married in community of property, by law you will have to apply with your spouse.)
  • Multiple applications (three (3) or more individuals)

Just remember, when there is more than one applicant, each of you will need to have a solid credit record. And all your finances will be taken into consideration by the banks.

Can BetterBond help me with a building loan?

Yes. We’re here to help you build your dreams. We can assist you with a building loan.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • An offer to purchase (OTP) or the title deed of the land you want to build on
  • Approved building and municipal plans
  • A certificate from the builder who is registered with the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC)
  • A building quotation detailing the costs to build
  • A signed building contract with the builder

Can BetterBond assist me with switching from one financial institution to another?

Sorry! Unfortunately, we’re unable to do this.

I’ve heard of FLISP. What does it stand for and how does it work?

It’s a bit of a mouthful, but FLISP stands for Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Programme. First-time homebuyers who earn between R3 501 and R22 000 per month can benefit from FLISP. The FLISP subsidy amount depends on your monthly income. FLISP either brings down the initial home loan amount, making monthly instalments more affordable, or you can use it to make up the shortfall between your qualifying loan amount and the residential property purchase price.

You can apply for FLISP if:

  • You are a first-time homebuyer and want to purchase a residential property
  • You earn between R3 501 and R22 000 per month
  • You’re a South African citizen with a valid ID or a permanent resident with a valid permit
  • You are over 18
  • You have never had a government housing subsidy or been part of a housing subsidy scheme before
  • You have an agreement of sale for the residential property, and an Approval in Principle of a home loan from an accredited South African bank

Qualifying applicants may use FLISP to do one of the following:

  • Buy an existing, new or old residential property
  • Buy a vacant residential stand that is linked to a NHBRC registered builder
  • Build a residential property on a serviced residential stand or tribal stand. The homebuilder will need to be NHBRC registered

Getting your big break as a homeowner is a carefully managed process. Once the bank has granted your home loan, you submit your FLISP application, together with your supporting documentation, to the NHCF. If your home loan application is approved, the FLISP application will be processed. If the FLISP outcome is positive, the subsidy will be granted. This would be a good time to celebrate!

Will I need an offer to purchase (OTP) to apply for a home loan or for pre-approval?

Yes and no. You do not need to have an offer to purchase or agreement of sale in order to pre-approve, but you do need one to apply for a home loan.

Our pre-approval service allows you to understand what you can afford so you can shop around with confidence. We’ll verify and vet your income and expenses, and issue you with a certificate that lets you know exactly how much you can afford to buy for.

Once you’ve found that dream home, you simply sign the offer to purchase and send it through to us. One of our bond experts will help you through the entire home-buying journey.

With just a single application form and some supporting documents, your personal BetterBond consultant will submit your application to multiple banks, including your own, they’ll negotiate the best terms, and present you with all the options. You can then compare offers and make an informed decision, based on what works best for you.

What’s the difference between a pre-qualification and a pre-approval?

BetterBond is all about helping you achieve your home loan goals, but we are not a financial institution and don’t provide pre-approvals for home loans. Our pre-qualification service, however, is totally aligned with bank-qualifying criteria and will let you know exactly what you can afford to buy. Our expert consultants will then vet and verify your credit record, income and expenses, and issue you with a Pre-Qualification Certificate, so that you can shop around with confidence.

With over 19 years’ experience in home loans – and having helped over one million customers secure their dream home – our average approval rate is 80%. Compare that to the current average approval rate of 35% among buyers who apply directly to their banks! As you can see, getting pre-qualified is an essential first step on the home-buying journey.

Can I use my pre-approval certificate as a guarantee?

Unfortunately, not. Although not a guarantee, a pre-approval is a great way of knowing exactly what you can afford to buy, and it sends a signal to sellers – and lenders! – that you’re serious.

Each bank has its own specific lending criteria, and bases its decision on its own merit. There is, therefore, no guarantee that your home loan application will be approved.

But with our average approval rate of 80%, compared to the current average of 35% among buyers who go directly to their banks, there’s a really, really good chance of approval. And once the banks start competing for a deal, they’ll be more eager for the business, and are likely to consider an application more carefully. And we make it our business to help you secure the very best deal.

What are the requirements for a home loan if I am self-employed and/or sole proprietor?

We want to help you handle any red tape in the application process. We therefore require a completed application form from you – but don’t worry, we’ll be here to help you complete it. Your application form should include a signed offer to purchase, consent form, asset and liabilities, and income and expenses form. We’ll also need:

  • A copy of your ID
  • Personal bank statements (three (3) months if your income is fixed/six (6) months if your income is variable or if you are a sole proprietor)
  • Six (6) months business bank statements
  • An auditor’s letter confirming your income (this will not be required for a sole proprietor)
  • An auditors letter confirming your shareholding percentage if your business is a (Pty) Ltd. Company
  • The latest two years financial statements (if older than six (6) months, the latest management accounts will also need to be provided)
  • Pay slips, as additional documentation, depending on your shareholding percentage of a (Pty) Ltd. Company
  • • An IT34 form

The criteria at each bank may differ, depending on the complexity of your business. We’re always ready to help you with your application, and to help strengthen the motivation to the bank.

Can attorney fees be included in the loan amount?

It’s highly unlikely, and rarely happens. Each application is evaluated on its own merit, based on the finance-approval principles of that specific financial institution.

Will the payment from the bank to BetterBond affect my loan re-payments?

Absolutely not. Our service is completely free of charge, and there are zero hidden costs. The bank pays us a once-off fee when the bond is registered, for placing the business with them. The fees you pay the bank and attorneys remain exactly the same.

What we do, however, is provide you with multiple options to choose from. You can then compare the offers and choose the one that works best for you. BetterBond will always negotiate the best deal on your behalf.

If I’m married in community of property (COP), must my spouse be included in the application and/or pre-approval?

Yes. By law, if you are married in community of property, your spouse will have to apply with you. Your credit score and application will be looked at jointly, as one application.

What exactly does a bond originator do, and what are the real benefits of using a bond originator?

At BetterBond, we offer you an origination service, free of charge. Simply put, we approach various financial institutions on your behalf and help secure you the best possible home loan. And we’ll guide you through the home-buying process, every step of the way.

We offer you two helpful services:

One: Our pre-approval service, where we verify and vet your income and expenses, and issue you with a certificate which empowers you to understand what you can afford and to shop around with confidence.

Two: Our bond origination service. Once you’ve found that dream home, you sign the offer to purchase and send it through to us. One of our bond experts will then help you through the entire home-buying journey. With a single application form and some supporting documents, they’ll submit your application to multiple banks, including your own bank or private banker. They’ll negotiate the best terms and present you with all the offers available. Then it’s up to you to compare offers and choose the one that works best for you.

What do you need to qualify for a bond?

The following are minimum requirements:

  • You and/or your spouse need to be permanently employed for a minimum of three (3) months
  • You need a good credit record (and should show good management of your accounts)
  • You need to make sure that your monthly expenses don’t exceed your monthly income
  • You need a valid and active South African bank account reflecting your monthly salary (unless you are a foreigner)
  • Your gross monthly household income needs to be R10 000 or more

What is the maximum age you can be, to be considered for a home loan?

When it comes to home loans, there are cut-off points. In our experience, 65 is usually the limit. Most financial institutions won’t offer a home loan to anyone over that age – and the closer you are to 65, the more likely it is to impact your loan repayment terms.

Why use BetterBond?

It’s simple, really! We make the hunt for a home loan that much better. How? You complete just one application, and we apply to the major banks – including your own – on your behalf. That way, they’ll compete with each other to give you the best deal. And when you’re able to see all those offers side by side, you’ll see that an interest difference of just 0.5% can save you thousands of rands over your bond term.

We’ll be your hands-on, go-to guide through the entire home-buying process, whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned property owner.

So, why use us? Well, because you know better!

Is BetterBond a direct lender?

Nope, we’re not. But we do approach multiple lenders on your behalf, and we’ll provide you with the perfect home loan in the process!

Is my information protected and secure?

Oh, yes! We regard your details as top secret. Of course, we do have to pass them on to the banks, so that we can bring back all those brilliant home loan offers – but this is done with state-of-the-art bank-level security. And, once you’ve selected the offer that works for you, your contact details will be sent to that bank only, so they can get in touch with you to seal the deal.

Does BetterBond offer home loans for investment properties?

Indeed, we do. Whether it’s for a home or for an asset, we’ll still find you the deal that works best for you.

Can I negotiate on my interest rate?

Of course! Once you’ve selected the offer that works best for you, and once the bank has contacted you, negotiations can begin.

Why use BetterSure?

It’s simple, really! We’re a specialist home insurer, focused entirely on the homeownership space. And with BetterBond as our partner, we’ve got the entire home-buying business covered.

We believe that every bit better your home insurance is, ultimately prevents your life from getting that much worse. And that’s why we’ll offer you meaningful insurance options – like whole-of-life cover that extends well beyond your bond, even when it’s fully paid up.

We’ll ensure that your better home insurance costs you less and offers you more cover, because that financial protection becomes a partnership for the better, when life heads for the worse.

So, why settle for any insurer when you know better?

Do I have to take the bank’s insurance, or can I choose BetterSure Homeowners Cover?

You’ll need to have homeowners cover in place if you hope to secure a home loan for a free-standing residential property. Of course, you can choose any cover you want, as long as it meets all the bank’s minimum requirements – and our BetterSure Homeowners Cover (HOC) ticks all the boxes!

Are BetterSure Homeowners Cover and bank insurance the same thing?

Nope! We’re not affiliated with bank insurance in any way. So, it’s really, really important that you make sure you’ve selected only one homeowners cover, or you’ll be paying double the premiums each month!

Obviously, we’d love you to choose our cover, because we offer you a range of unique, meaningful benefits, like maintenance cover and an annual geyser inspection – which you won’t get with other insurers! And because we’re home loan specialists, and we work closely with our sister company BetterBond to bring you a full-circle service, we like to think we know exactly what new homeowners need.

Just remember, when choosing your insurance policy, always ask about the cover, exclusions, excesses and any additional benefits, so that you have all the info you need to make an informed choice.

Will my premium increase each year?

Sadly, yes – because the price of bricks, cement, fixtures and fittings increases each year, and so the cost of maintenance and repairs also increases. To make sure you’ve always got enough cover, the sum insured of your property will also have to increase. We do this to make sure you are never under-insured.

When will my BetterSure Homeowners Cover begin?

When you choose an ‘ordinary’ loan, your policy will kick in when your bond is registered.

When you choose a building loan, your policy will kick in only once a BetterSure Financial service consultant has contacted you to confirm the date of completion.

But it’s always a good idea to double check that your cover has been activated. To find out, just give us a call.

Do I have to do medical tests when I take out a BetterLife Protection Plan?

We’re really determined to make the insurance process simpler, easier, better. So, if you’ve taken a bond through BetterBond or any of our partners, we have a unique policy just for you – and no medical underwriting or tests are required!

All you have to do is answer a few simple questions so that we can provide you with a competitive rate.

Will my life policy lapse once my bond is paid off?

Nope. Unlike conventional life policies, our BetterLife Protection Plan continues even after your bond is paid off, so that you never lose that protection.

Should I take out my life policy immediately, or can I wait for registration?

It’s really up to you! You can request that your life policy kicks in when your bond is registered, or you can start sooner.

But we always recommend that you start your policy sooner. Why? Well, to be honest, if anything should happen to you before the registration of your dream home, at least your family will still have the opportunity to continue with that dream.

At BetterSure, we want to make sure your insurance policy protects your loved ones for the better, when life takes a turn for the worse.

Will BetterBond be able to service my bond?

No, your bond will be serviced by the bank that your home loan is with.

What is BetterBond exactly?

BetterBond helps you get the best home loan deal by submitting your home loan application to multiple banks- you compare these offers and choose the best one for you. You submit one application to us (for free) that we then show you the best deals.

How do you calculate the loan amount?

Our home loan calculator deducts your monthly expenses from your monthly income. This gives an indication of how much money you can spend on a home loan repayment monthly.

Can I use BetterBond to refinance my current bond?

Yes, we can help you apply for home refinance.

How is my home loan interest rate determined?

The bank views your credit history to assess eligibility in providing you with a bond. If you have no credit history/ a negative track record in paying previous home loan repayments, you may be considered as high-risk. However, if you have a good track record of credit and/ or potentially put down a deposit you may be seen a low-risk customer. After viewing this, the bank adds a percentage to the prime lending rate - this determines your interest rate.

What is the difference between a fixed and a variable interest rate?

A fixed interest rate remains a constant percentage over the bond term and isn’t affected by the fluctuation of the repo rate/ the prime lending rate. A variable interest rate is based on the prime lending rate- this percentage fluctuates based on the repo rate that the South African Reserve Bank determines.

What costs are related to home loans?

Then there are a few once-off costs that you will need to pay such as your transfer costs, transfer duties, initiation fees and bond registration costs. However, aside from these once-off costs, the only amount you will have to pay will be your monthly home loan repayment. For more information.

What are transfer costs?

The transfer cost is a once-off fee you will pay the transferring / conveyancing attorney. This fee covers their cost of registering you as the owner of the property with the Deeds Office.

What are transfer duties?

The transfer duty is a government tax (the higher amount you pay on a property, the higher your transfer duty).

What is a bond registration cost?

This is the amount that the bank charges you in order register your home loan.

What costs are in my monthly bond repayment?

Your monthly repayment includes the amount you owe the bank along with the interest owed to the bank.

What are the upfront costs for a home loan?

Upfront costs relate to the bank’s initiation fee, the transfer cost, transfer duty, deeds office levy, postage, petties and other application fees applicable.

Can I pay off my bond earlier?

Yes you can. By paying more into your bond, you can decrease the loan term and also pay less interest.

How much can I afford on a home loan?

A verified pre-approval certificate will give you a good idea of what you can afford, and the type of offers you could expect to get from the banks. Plus, a pre-approval certificate increases your chances of bond approval by up to 90%! It will also let the seller know that you are a serious buyer. And best of all, our pre-approval certificate is absolutely free. That’s right! You pay nothing.

How much will a Pre-approval Certificate cost me?

Nothing- it’s free

What criteria do banks look at for home loans?

Banks consider the following: your credit history, your income and expenses to determine whether you can afford to pay your home loan monthly and whether/ not you have put down a deposit.

Will getting a BetterBond Pre-approval Certificate affect my Credit Score?

No - our credit check is free and leaves no footprint

Can I still apply for a home loan during the lockdown?

Yes. We are fully operational and working remotely. If you would like to apply for a home loan, you can send us the documentation via email and we will assist. Together, we will find the best deal for you at this time – we will look carefully at affordability, advise on a deposit, and guide you in terms of the latest fluctuations in interest rates so that you can choose the most suitable deal for your needs. Given the current circumstances, the process might take a little longer than usual, but we are here to help. Apply now

Can I still find out what I qualify for during the lockdown?

Yes. It is always good to get things in order, so we can give you a call and assist you with this. We remain operational as we are working remotely. Pre-approve now

My application is with the banks – what happens during the lockdown?

All our major banking partners have put skeleton staff in place to attend to applications during the lockdown. However, they have asked for patience as their service levels and turnaround times will understandably be compromised under the current circumstances.

My application was approved and passed onto the attorneys – how will this be affected by the lockdown?

The South African Deeds Offices also have to adhere to the lockdown, but our attorney partners are working remotely to ensure that all documents are gathered in preparation for the reopening of the Deeds Offices. This will ensure that your application can proceed once the lockdown is over.

How will the lockdown impact the outcome of my bond application?

We are reliant on the banks for outcomes and they have only skeleton staff in place, so please expect a delay. However, we are in constant contact with our banking partners and will provide you with regular feedback.

What if my occupation date falls within the lockdown?

Furniture removal companies will not be operational during this time, so it would probably be a good idea to renegotiate the occupation date with the seller. Consult the attorney and estate agent who have been assisting you with this transaction – they will be best placed to guide and advise you with regards to your individual circumstances.

What happens to my Offer to Purchase (OTP), with financing in progress, during the lockdown?

We would facilitate this with our banking partners and provide you with regular updates. Progress would depend on where in the process your application is, and there could be delays due to banks operating with skeleton staff. However, we will do whatever we can to move your OTP forward.

How do we communicate if I don’t have an email address?

For Home Loans contact us on 0800 007 111
For Insurance Sales contact us on 0860 333 373
For Life Insurance - Client Services and Claims contact us on 0861 249 294
For BetterSure HomeOwners Cover / Buildings Insurance - Client Services - 0861 249 294
For BetterSure HomeOwners Cover / Buildings Insurance - Claims – 0861 034 527
For Auto & General HomeOwners Cover / Buildings Insurance - Client Services and Claims - 0860 333 433
Or leave your details on our web contact form and we will call you back.

Should I rather withdraw my bond application and resubmit after the lockdown?

No. This will not be necessary. The banks can still process your application albeit at a slightly slower rate than usual as they are operating with skeleton staff only. Depending on the complexity of the deal, we will endeavour to provide you with an approval in principle, at least, to give you a good indication of your standing. You will then be in a position for the deal to progress through the system once normal operations resume.

What's the difference between freehold and sectional title properties?

Sectional title speaks to complex living, where you essentially own everything within the four walls of your property, but whatever is outside that – hallways, lifts, gardens and recreational spaces – is communally owned and cared for. With freehold title, in contrast, you’re the queen or king of your complete kingdom – house, out-buildings, land and leisure areas.

What are the different types of freehold properties?

Free-standing houses, cluster homes, residential properties used for small businesses, smallholdings.

What are the different types of sectional title properties?

Semi-detached homes, townhouses, flats/apartments, duet houses.

Is it better to rent or buy a property?

It almost always makes more sense to buy rather than rent a home, simply because, as a tenant, you’re paying monthly into another person’s pocket what you could be paying into your own bond account.

Why is buying a home an investment?

Because the value of property appreciates over the years, and the size of the outstanding home loan decreases month by month.

Why should I get pre-approved before looking for a home?

Pre-approval actually speeds up the home-buying process: it gives you an accurate measure of your purchasing power, so you can narrow down your hunt to the properties you can actually afford to buy. And this will also prevent you from buying way beyond your budget, pushing you into unmanageable debt.