What property buyers should look for when buying their first home

    Are you a first-time buyer ready to explore the property market?

    Buying your first house is a significant milestone in living your best life. There are so many things to consider and so much you don't know that it might be overwhelming. Buying your first home may be an exciting yet daunting experience. With Seeff’s expertise, you will understand what to look for when buying your first home.

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    4 things to consider for first-time property buyers

    As previously said, purchasing your first property may be a difficult job. You are less likely to be acquainted with the home-buying procedure. Even if you have a lot of home décor ideas, finding the ideal property to make your dream house a reality might be difficult. So, before you begin house hunting, consider these important factors:

    1. Get your mortgage pre-approved

    • When buying your first home, you need to know what you can afford. Your credit score, a three-digit number between 000 and 999, is based on your financial history. When you apply for a home loan, the bank will examine your credit score. The higher your credit score, the more likely you are to get approved for a loan. A credit score of 600 or more is considered good. A score of 670 or higher is considered outstanding.

      You will also need to be pre-qualified, and this makes familiarising yourself with the pre-qualification process an essential step toward purchasing a property. Once completed, the bank will issue you with a pre-qualification certificate which will confirm the amount you qualify for and how much the bank is willing to lend you.

      Seeff suggests acquiring home finance through Ooba, a reputable South African home loan service. You may even conduct an online pre-qualification to see how much you can afford.
    These are the basic important documents you would need for an application:

    • Last three months' salary slips. If you are married in a community of property then your spouse's salary slips are also required.
    • Last three months' bank statements for your account (and your partner's if applicable).
    • Copy of your South African ID document (and your partner's if applicable).
    • Statement of your monthly income and expenses.
    • Personal assets and liabilities statement.
    • Copy of the purchase agreement.

    2. Purchasing your first home

    Once you have settled on the perfect home, you can make an enticing offer to the seller. You may be required to put a down payment on the property, which is typically 10-20% of the entire purchase price. Many banks are catering to first-time home purchasers by giving a 100% home loan.

    You may be eligible for a government housing subsidy for first-time buyers if you are a South African citizen or permanent resident. The Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Program (FLISP) aims to make home loans more affordable for first-time homebuyers from low to middle-income families.

    The present all-time low borrowing rates, along with the R1 million transfer duty exemption, make it more accessible for first-time buyers to purchase a property.

    3. Factor in the extra costs

    The deposit, transfer duties, conveyancing fees, and deeds registration fees are all one-time charges associated with purchasing a house. There's also the cost of keeping a home up and running. You may need to maintain a pool, employ a gardening service, or pay for security in addition to the levy or rates and taxes. You'll also want to get home insurance.

    4. Have the house inspected

    According to the Property Practitioners Act, all serious faults of which the owner is "aware" must be declared in writing to any potential buyer. On the other hand, the average South African seller would be uninformed of the property's flaws and would fail to mention them.

    You have the right to inspect the property. Learn to see beyond the furniture. Look for structural deterioration, water seepage, and dampness, among other things. Before you submit your offer, consider hiring a home inspector to check the property. They'll be able to look for defective electrical, plumbing, and gas systems, as well as dangerous substances like asbestos, in great detail.

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    What you should look for when buying your first home

    Purchasing your first home is a significant financial commitment. With so many properties on the market and the pressure to make the best decision for your family's future, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. It's also a costly buy that requires a long-term commitment, so you'll want to make sure you'll be happy.

    Here are some important considerations to take note of when viewing properties:

    Hire a trustworthy property practitioner

    Great assistance is imperative when selecting the right property practitioner. There are, however, a number of requirements the professional needs to fulfil before they lead you through the process when buying your first home:

    • Check if your agent is qualified.
    • Your agent must be registered with the Property Practitioners Regulatory Authority (previously Estate Agency Affairs Board).
    • Ask how long your agent has worked in the area you are interested in. It is important that you are working with an area specialist. 
    • Select an agent with whom you can form a good working relationship and check how well they know the housing market.
    Property size

    Before looking up listings you should have an idea of the size of the house you want. This size will depend on your needs and your personal preferences. 

    If you have a large family or plan on starting one soon, you’ll probably need to look at houses with more space as well as more bedrooms and bathrooms. On the other hand, if your household is just you or you and a partner, it may make more sense and be more affordable to look at smaller houses.

    Spacious yard

    Herb gardens, sprawling lawns, and a spacious backyard may be what you envision your outdoors to look like. A spacious yard should be a priority if you have pets. Planning a future with kids means that there will be enough space for a jungle gym and to get them to play in the great outdoors. 

    On the other hand, you may want to skip the responsibilities that come with buying a big yard. Maintaining a yard is not an easy task. To trim, weed, and keep the garden in good condition, you must always be attentive. Whatever your preference may be, look for the garden that best fits your needs and lifestyle. 


    The bedrooms in the house should be adequate for your needs depending on what you want to use them for. If you want to convert an extra bedroom into a home office, for example, you may prefer a layout in which the bedrooms are located further away from the noise and bustle of the kitchen and kids' room.

    The size and number of bedrooms, closet space, window views, and overall privacy are all key factors to consider. It will ultimately come down to what best meets your needs.


    When looking for a property, consider if you want a shower, a bathtub, or both. If the space in a potential property is large enough, you may undergo some bathroom renovations before moving in. Bathroom renovations may be expensive, so be sure you're either content with the facilities as is or prepared to pay for future improvements.

    When inspecting a property, it is a good idea to properly inspect the bathroom to ensure that everything is in working condition. You don't want to waste your first night repairing a toilet or a faucet.

    Research the area

    As a first-time property buyer buying your first home, it is important to research the locations you have your eye on. Are you looking to move within the trendy city centre, within the suburbs or closer to the sea? It’s a good idea to ask around the neighbourhood. If you are looking for an area that is quiet, check with locals about the noise levels. Some neighbourhoods are quite accommodating and offer different WhatsApp groups where they share information should anything out of the ordinary appear.

    If you are a young couple thinking of starting a family, it’s best to do research on the most suitable area to raise a family. You are investing in this residential property and it is important that it is near ideal schools, and public transport, and that the home itself is suitable for you. You will be putting a lot of time and energy into making this place your own. The closer you are to making it your dream home, the easier the process will be.

    Modern lounge interior in Oranjezicht Cape Town

    Popular suburbs for first-time property buyers

    Young buyers are securing property investments in zoom towns for a more relaxed lifestyle and value for money. These popular South African suburbs provide the location, convenience, and bang for the buck to first-time buyers:

    Midrand is one of the fastest-growing areas, attracting 47% of millennial buyers, among the highest in the country over the last year. Property here is fairly affordable, despite the fact that premium districts and demand for luxury properties are booming. Given that it is developed around the N1, it is a suitable location for individuals who work in or around the greater Johannesburg and Pretoria metro regions. According to Charles Vining, managing director of Seeff Sandton and Midrand, the market is active, with the area home to a mix of residential, commercial, business and retail nodes, and agricultural areas.

    Roodepoort is one of just a few places in South Africa where you can purchase a property for R400 000 to R20 million. One of the main benefits of buying here is the number of freehold homes available for less than R1 million, which has made greater Roodepoort a popular choice for young couples, families with school-aged children, and middle-aged couples looking to downsize.

    The abundance of facilities offered to residents, as well as its accessibility from metros such as Pretoria, Midrand, and Soweto, contribute to Roodepoort's stable property market. Many new malls, as well as many private schools and three private hospitals, a Monash University campus, several golf clubs and other athletic facilities, and the world-renowned Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens, are all located in the neighbourhood.

    Despite the fact that the South Coast continues to attract older purchasers, the value for money and beautiful year-round weather have led to an increase in activity as many individuals can now work from home. The immaculate beach views in the suburb provide the perfect setting for designing your home office

    There are several excellent restaurants in the vicinity, some of which provide luxury sea views and delectable cuisine. Young purchasers are interested in beachfront homes and smallholdings in Port Edward which are priced between R1.7 million and R3.5 million.

    Are you looking for your first home? Contact one of our expert professionals at Seeff today. Our property practitioners are area specialists who can make all your property dreams come true. Get in touch with us now.

    Author: Seeff Property Group
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