The Top 5 Questions and Answers for First-Time Home Buyers
Gearing up to purchase your first property is a momentous, yet daunting experience and like all big life decisions, there are numerous factors to consider before you take the leap into homeownership, says Mike Greeff, CEO of Greeff Christie’s International Real Estate. From what you can afford to which area you choose to live in, these are all questions that need to be answered before starting this exciting process. Along with doing your own homework, having a trusted agent at your side always helps to ensure that the process is smooth sailing.
You will find all the information you need about the process in the below FAQ’s to help you along.
Q: How do I know what I can afford?
A: Before you even start the homebuying process, you need to do a realistic audit of your financial situation to work out what you can afford. When doing your audit, consider the following:
Your lifestyle budget
Existing debit orders
The size of the deposit you wish to put down to secure the property (more on deposits later).
For an accurate idea of what you qualify for, it’s best to reach out to a bond originator, like BetterBond and receive your pre-qualification certificate. This certificate is valid for 90 days and provides you, as a buyer, with an indication of how much you will get from the bank as a home loan. It is a thorough process that assesses your current credit profile and provides invaluable information to assist in your decision-making process.
Q: Should I consult a real estate agent?
A: Absolutely! Your estate agent will be someone whose expertise and profession you can rely on most during the search for a new home. Your agent will be aware of the type of home you are searching for and how much you are prepared to pay. They will then showcase their skills by presenting you with potential homes to view.
Q: What size deposit should I put down?
A: Congratulations, you’ve found the perfect home! In order to secure the property and get preference over a cash-buyer, putting down a deposit is imperative. Not only do you receive preference but putting down a deposit can also lower your monthly bond repayments. The size of the deposit varies depending on the price of the property you want to purchase, and while a deposit is not always required, try to put down at least 10% of the property price.
Q: Which area will offer the best value for money in terms of my purchase?
A: Buying a property also means buying into a neighbourhood. Therefore, it is best to conduct a thorough check on what the neighbourhood is like in terms of safety and which amenities the neighbourhood has nearby. It is also important that the area aligns with your needs and wants i.e. if you have a growing family, then a family-friendly suburb is ideal. If you’re a young professional, perhaps the CBD would work best for you. Answering the questions below are a sure-fire way to getting one step closer to purchasing of your dream property.
Do you prefer a quiet suburb or a bustling central business district?
What is the proximity from work to home?
What amenities would you like to have close by (gyms, shopping malls, etc.)?
Q: I’ve found my dream home, now what?
A: You’re nearly there, deep breaths! It’s time to submit your offer to purchase (OTP) and get the ball rolling. Once the offer is accepted by the seller and all documents are signed, the legal process can begin. Please bear in mind the following legal fees:
Transfer duty: Following Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni’s budget speech, transfer duty will not apply for homes that are R1 million and under. This is great news for first-time buyers as it immensely reduces the costs of buying.
Bond registration fees: These costs are payable to the bond attorney for the Title Deed transfer as well as the registration of the new property into your name.
Transfer fees: Transfer fees are paid to a transferring attorney, appointed by the property’s seller to transfer ownership to you. This cost varies, depending on the purchase price and includes the conveyancer’s fees plus VAT, and the transfer duty payable to SARS.
Venturing into the property market for the first time can be a very overwhelming experience and is sometimes enough to dissuade buyers from taking the plunge but having your questions answered and being prepared with the right advice can make this process smooth sailing.