Seven steps to successful homebuying
Buying your own home is exciting and rewarding, but can be daunting - especially if you're a first-time homebuyer. Set yourself up for success and reduce the stress with these seven steps.
1. Save a depositNot having a deposit isn't a dealbreaker, but if you can save one it could give you an edge in a number of ways: making it easier to cement the deal with the seller once you make an Offer to Purchase; improving your chances of being approved for a home loan; probably resulting in a better interest rate from the bank; and needing a smaller bond, which would mean mega savings on interest.
2. Do your homeworkA property is probably the biggest thing you'll ever buy, so do your homework. Use our calculators to see what you could afford, and how to save a deposit. Research the market - knowing what's out there and what it costs could help you make good decisions. Combine your online searches with enquiries to estate agents who know the area so you get good-quality information.
3. Know your credit scoreDo you know what your credit score is? This three-digit number impacts how much the banks will lend you the interest rate they will offer you. Keep a healthy credit score by paying your bills in full and on time; avoiding unnecessary debt; not applying for new credit when you're looking at buying property; checking your credit score at least once a year to see whether it needs some attention.
4. Get pre-approvedBeing pre-approved for a home loan puts you in a strong position when it comes to negotiating your Offer to Purchase and getting a home loan. It tells sellers and estate agents that you're a serious buyer and proves you qualify for the home finance you would need to pay for the place.
5. Consider all the costsYour monthly bond repayments aren't the only regular expenses to budget for when buying a home. There will be municipal rates and taxes, levies (if you're buying Sectional Title property), utilities like water, electricity and connectivity (Wi-Fi or fibre internet), and you should be able to cover regular maintenance and repairs.
6. Think long termBuying property is usually a long-term commitment, so give your future some thought. Where do you see yourself in 5 and 10 years' time? Will this property meet your needs? Do you have, or would you like to get, pets that need space to roam, are you thinking of starting a family, do you require a home office or are you considering starting your own business, do your hobbies or interests require extra workspace or storage space, etc.
7. Pay a little extraPaying a little extra into your bond per month - even if it's just a few hundred rands - will help to pay it off sooner, saving you time by shortening the loan term and saving you money by reducing the interest. Use our Additional Payment Calculator to see what a huge difference even a little bit could make.
Here's to successful homebuying and happy homeownership.