Advice on buying your first home

Congratulations! You’ve just reached a huge milestone in life: buying your first home. We spoke to some of our experts and came up with this quick guide to help you get your dream home the right way.

Your money

Before you start house hunting, use your annual disposable income to create a monthly budget that you will be comfortable with.

The best way to save money from the get-go is putting a deposit down so that your monthly homeloan instalments are lower. Remember you’re going to be paying your house off for the next 10-30 years.

House hunting

This is the fun part, but don’t let your dreamy emotions rule your decision making. Instead, pick the house that fits all your needs.

  • Here’s a quick checklist that you can use to make sure you are buying right

    • Close to facilities and amenities you prefer.

    • Easy access to main roads.

    • Security and a lower crime rate.

    • Availability of public transport nearby.

    • Good future resale opportunity.

    • Satisfactory suburb trends.

    Buying a house that needs some work isn’t a bad thing. It could help you save on the purchase price, but make sure you’ve got a budget plan for renovations.

Making an offer

You found the house you want, now make it yours by making an offer. Remember you don’t have to pay the asking price; often the sellers are willing to negotiate.

  • Find out more about the following to negotiate a better offer

    • Property valuation.

    • Municipal valuation.

    • Comparable sales in area.

    • Last sold price.

    Remember, you don’t need a lawyer to make an offer, but once you’ve signed an offer-to-purchase it becomes legally binding. Getting out of an offer-to-purchase once you have signed it will have cost implications.

Applying for a home loan

If your offer is accepted, it’s time to sort out the funds you need to make the payment.


Once your home loan is approved you must have the bond registered with the help of a conveyancing attorney, who will sign the property over to you to make it final and valid.

  • The costs involved include

    • Bond registration costs.

    • Transfer costs including transfer duty. This is the tax that you pay to SARS.

    • Conveyancing attorney and related costs such as admin and VAT fees.

    • FICA documentation costs.

    Your conveyancing attorney will explain anything you don’t understand. Your estate agent should also help you understand the hidden costs and the fine print - remember it’s your money and it is a big purchase so don’t be shy and ask all the questions you want.

Now you know what to do, so go out and get yourself the home of your dreams!

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