A guide for first time homebuyers.
Get your credit report – Obtain your credit report from the credit bureau and review it closely. If there are errors, then ensure that these are attended to.
If there negative aspects then do your best to remedy these and address the concerns. Explain to your bank why they happened and how you are fixing them. As this can often take time it is always wise to do this early on in your house hunting stage, so that it doesn’t slow you down later.
Get your tax up to date – Simply make an enquiry to SARS to ensure that your tax is in order, and if not then remedy the situation. Once again you do not want this slowing things down later on, rather anticipate and address problems before they become obstacles.
Find out what you can afford – Visit your bank, or a bond originator, to find out what you can afford, what bonds you qualify for, and whether these are good enough for your needs. If you first know your affordability then you can already start looking at homes and areas which you know are within your budget. This will help save you time by narrowing the search to what you know is within your means.
Have a clear idea/plan – Now that you know what you can afford it is important for you to know both what you need and what you want from your home. Think about the size required for your family, including your pets. Think about your travel time to work and back, or to schools, and make sure that it is acceptable to you. Think about the area and neighbourhood and if it provides the lifestyle that you are after.
Look at more than just the price – There are many other costs involved on the purchase of property over and above the asking price. For example: bond registration costs, transfer duty, maintenance costs, etc. (the costs associated with buying a property will be discussed more fully in a separate article.)
Don’t be nervous to ask questions – If you are unsure of anything or would like to know more, then do not hesitate to ask questions. Ask the estate agent about things you want to know. Ask your bank about aspects of the bond that need clarity. This is what the agent, and the bank, and attorneys, etc. are there for, to help inform you of what is happening and why it is happening. Therefore do not hesitate to ask questions.