Posted by Kayla Cloete - REMAX on 07 Jul 22


Finance & Budget

Buying your first home can be both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. Navigating the world of property and property finance for the first time can be overwhelming. The best way to overcome this is by asking the right questions.

To help make the home buying process easier for first-time buyers, RE/MAX of Southern Africa answers 5 of the most important questions first time buyers may have before they start their house hunting journey...

1. How much can I truly afford?

Before starting the hunt for the perfect home, buyers need to know what they can afford. Getting prequalified through a bond originator such as BetterBond will help guide buyers towards a new home that they can truly afford. There are several online bond calculators that buyers can use for free to get a rough idea but getting an official pre-approval certificate will help prove to sellers that a buyer is in a serious position to make an offer on the home.

2. How much does my credit score actually matter?

Financial institutions will check your credit score to determine whether your home loan will be approved and what interest rate they will charge you, which makes it one of the most important factors in your home buying journey. The higher the score, the better your chances are of being approved. A score of 600 or more is considered to be good, while a 670+ is considered excellent. If your credit score is too low, taking the time to improve it before applying again will not only help you qualify for a loan, but should also provide a greater chance of securing a better interest rate.

3. Do I need money for a deposit?

A deposit is usually around 10-20% of the total purchase price, though buyers can choose any amount they can afford. The higher the deposit, the less a buyer will need to borrow, which means the monthly instalment will be less and interest rates might be more favourable. Some banks refuse to do a 100% home loan for first-time buyers, but there are others that offer a 100% home loan to first-time buyers, which removes the need to put down a deposit.

4. What other costs will I need to cover?

Buyers will be liable for the bond registration costs which vary depending on the value of the property, a Deeds' Office registry fee, as well as the costs of sundries, postage and petties. Buyers will also have to cover the transfer duty, which is a government tax levied to transfer the property from the seller's name to the buyer's name. All these costs are payable as soon as the offer is accepted and the deal starts to go through, so buyers will need to budget for this beforehand. To get an idea of what this will cost, do some calculations on BetterBond's online calculators.

5. Do I need to use an estate agent?

According to Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, it is in a buyer’s best interest to use a real estate agent, especially when buying their first property. "An agent will help you navigate the property market and the buying process. If you are in the market to purchase your very first house, contact your nearest RE/MAX Office to help guide you through the buying process and get you settled into that dream home," he concludes.