Work out if you can Afford your Dream Home

Calculate how much you can afford to spend on your new home with a bond repayment calculator. We have one on our website at Home Loan Junction that will give you the numbers you need to know before you shop for your dream home.

Your estate agent will be able to help you more effectively because you already have an idea of what price range you can (realistically) afford.  It makes little sense to look at homes you cannot afford to buy – that is just a waste of time for everyone, and can leave you heartbroken.

When you have found your new home, Home Loan Junction will help you find the best deal possible for your bond. As a leading South African bond originator, we work with multiple banks to tailor your home loan to your needs and wants.

How Much Can You Afford to Pay Monthly?

Follow these 6 easy steps to establish how much you can pay on your next home:

  1. The first step is to calculate the combined gross monthly income of everyone who will be an owner of the home. Using our handy affordability calculator. For instance, if a married couple is buying the home, and both are employed, then use both incomes.
  2. Your gross income is the combined amount both of you earn each month before any deductions. That amount goes in the gross monthly income box on the bond repayment calculator.
  3. The next box on the calculator is for net income. Combine all incomes after deductions. That is your combined net income.
  4. The bond repayment calculator asks you for your total monthly expenses. Include the total of your monthly payments for credit cards, car payments, store card loans, and anybody else to whom you owe money. Do not include your current housing payment, utilities or homeowners insurance. Total it all up and put that number in the box for total expenses.
  5. Now subtract your monthly expenses from your net income. That is your net surplus income. In other words that is how much money you have available for housing, utilities, food, and other necessary living expenses.
  6. Plug-in the number of years you want to repay the bond and the interest rate. The calculator will figure the monthly repayment amount you can afford and the maximum price range of homes you can afford to buy.

What Will You Pay?

If all goes according to plan, your estate agent will do a superb job of understanding exactly the amenities you want in a home. The house showed to you is your dream home and it falls within your price range.  Now what?

Once you reach a price agreement with the seller, five factors will decide your monthly payment and the total amount you will pay for your home. Use the bond repayment calculator to explore how much you will pay each month:

  1. Down Payment: Use the bond repayment calculator to see how much your payment will be if you make a larger down payment. Of course, the more down payment the smaller the monthly payment. However, maybe you would like to hold out some money so you can pay cash for landscaping or furniture. The decision is pure personal preference.
  2. Interest Rate. Change the interest rate and you change the payments. The better your credit and the bigger your down payment, the lower your interest rate is likely to be. Change the interest rate in the calculator and see how the payment changes. The amortisation calculator will show the amount of each payment that goes to reducing your loan and to interest.
  3. Bond Repayment Term: Spread your payments over 20 years and they will be larger. Spread them over 30 years and the monthly payments will be smaller.  Again, it is personal preference. However, you will pay far less for the home if you pay it off quickly because you will be paying less interest.
  4. Your Credit Rating: The better your credit rating the more flexibility you have in the other three factors.
  5. Your Lender: Homeloan Junction is familiar with South African lending practices. We know how to capitalise on the benefits offered by each bank. We match you with the best possible home financing terms available. The buyer does not have to run around trying to find the best terms.

Homeloan Junction focuses on one type of financing and that is home loans.  With our handy bond repayment calculator, you can know how much house you can afford, the monthly payment, and how long it will take to pay. Home buying will be less traumatic because you are now an informed shopper with a team of experts on your side. We suggest using our multi-faceted bond repayment calculator before you even start looking for a home.

Why get pre-qualified?

It used to be that buyers looking to purchase property could secure an actual pre-approval from banks or lenders for a homeloan, but with the advent of the recently revised National Credit Act (NCA) those days are gone. That said, it is still possible for a potential purchaser to get pre-qualified for a homeloan. However, buyers must understand this is a service, as opposed to a product, offered by bond originators to assist them in ascertaining if the buyer can realistically afford the homeloan they’re applying for. While it is not a guarantee of approval – the final decision rests with the bank – pre-qualification does have a valuable place in the home buying process.

Avoid Disappointment

Getting pre-qualified for a homeloan is free and can help you determine the price range you can afford to explore before you even go looking at potential properties. This helps you avoid wasting time and effort looking at properties you have no hope of securing a homeloan for, as well as the inevitable disappointment if you’ve set your heart on a home out of your price range. On a positive note, pre-qualification is an excellent guide for establishing realistic expectations as far as your purchasing power goes.

It’s Quick and Easy

The process of getting pre-qualified for a homeloan is quick and relatively simple. Under the revised NCA, it typically takes into account your disposable income, either individual or joint depending on your marital status, and your credit score. The latter is with your consent, naturally, but considering the bank or lender is going to take your credit score into account when you do make formal application for a homeloan, you may as well know now exactly where you stand in this respect. The other bonus of establishing your credit score at this point is that if there are any issues in this regard, issues that could potentially hinder your homeloan application, you can take steps to resolve these issues sooner rather than later. Pre-qualification can also give you an indication of whether you need to save for a deposit or not.


To complete the pre-qualification process, you will require the following paperwork: your identity document; your most recent payslip; and your last three month’s bank statements. Your disposable income is calculated by deducting tax, UIF and any company pension payments from your gross income. This leaves your net income and once your total monthly household and utility expenses and any credit, vehicle or other loan repayments are deducted from this amount, what remains is your disposable income. Most banks and lenders will calculate the maximum monthly instalment as 30% of your gross income.


Another advantage to using a bond originator to get pre-qualified for a homeloan is that the bond originator will determine your chances of firstly securing a homeloan, secondly establishing the amount you’ll qualify for on your current income.

What happens after you get pre-qualified for a homeloan?

Once the pre-qualification process is complete, you will receive a certification stating the homeloan amount you are deemed capable of affording. Note that while this certification is only valid for a limited period it is still a valuable first step onto the property ladder and gives you the leverage to confidently negotiate with a seller and put in an offer to purchase. Getting pre-qualified for a homeloan indicates to the estate agent and seller alike that you are serious about the home buying process. Furthermore, it can improve the likelihood of your formal bond application being approved. And even speed up the application process, particularly as you’ll have dealt with most of the obvious hurdles by completing the pre-qualification process.

Pre-qualification is an excellent tool to aid the potential purchaser in navigating the home buying process. It empowers you to enter the real estate market with your eyes wide open. If you are planning to buy property, take the hassle and uncertainty out of the process by getting pre-qualified for a homeloan. For assistance, contact Homeloan Junction.

The role of an Estate Agent in a Property Transaction

In previous blogs we took a look at Conveyancing and some views on the positive association between originators and banks. We have also posited some tips regarding investment properties for those who would like to invest in property.

In this blog, I would like to share some of my experiences with estate agents.

We have all heard horror stories of “my estate agent!”. They are “this and that” and “why couldn’t they…”. To be honest, I have never had that experience in the sale of a number of properties with different estate agents and companies. I have many good friends who are estate agents and serve on a board of directors with outstanding men and women of high skill and integrity.

In short and upfront in this article, if you don’t like your estate agent [personality clashes and misunderstandings do occur] then call the Principal of the estate agency and change the person to someone with whom you would like to work. But, also understand some of things.

An estate agent does not work for you but for the Seller. They receive a mandate, virtually always in writing and sole- or joint-, to sell a particular property for the seller. They are to have the seller’s best interest at heart and present to the seller best offers that come from their marketing efforts. They are not at liberty to alter amounts or clauses without the written approval of the seller. Therefore nothing you say or write, is accepted until presented to the seller for signature approval or counter-offer by the seller. The estate agent is duty bound to achieve the best terms of price and conditions for the seller.

Does all of this mean that the estate agent is never for the buyer? No, not at all; they are professionals quite capable of seeing both sides of a sale. However, do not assume that the estate agent is working for you, the buyer, when presenting the offer. Be careful to be explicit in what you communicate and when conditions are written into a contract, understand the implication for you. Do not hesitate to obtain legal advice if you feel it is that serious that you need professional assistance. Trust is always essential in these relationships so work with someone you feel you can trust and then be wise in your dealings.

With this background, when buying a property

  • Be very clear on what you can afford, what deposit you have and what bond you can apply for. ( have a look at our affordability calculator if you are unsure about this)
  • Be very clear on what your minimum requirements are and, then, what you would like to have. For instance, understand the need for a study versus a family room and which one you would prefer if a house you can afford does not have both. And then, always leave room for debate and changes of mind – buying a home is stressful fun!

Once you have these matters clearly in your mind, approach a reputable estate agent in the area you wish to buy and brief him or her on your affordability and requirements.

You can see from this that your clarity, what I would call your Buyer’s mandate to the estate agent, is very important. You are not buying a couch here, this is probably your biggest investment apart from your pension, that you will ever make. On the other hand, you cannot expect a professional estate agent to bumble around with you on what you can afford or what you want.

An estate agent is trained and qualified theoretically and practically to:

  • Contract with seller who wish to sell their home. They receive a mandate from these sellers for many things, obviously, including the desired sale price. They probably also understand the negotiability of a price by the seller.
  • Understand the values of properties in an area and the comparisons between the prices of different houses. They may, for instance, advise a seller to paint and repair their house in order to assure a requested sale price knowing that houses in the area that have fetched a price have done so on the back of being clean and well-maintained.
  • Undertake a market analysis for the seller on which a future buyer can depend. For instance, what are the average selling prices over the last 6 months, what are the lowest and highest prices etc?
  • Administer the sale and purchase of the property for the seller and buyer in their best interests.
  • Negotiate the transaction between the seller and the buyer.

As regards latent defects, remember the estate agent is not supposed to know about them. After all, they would not be “latent” if any reasonable person could see them. What the estate agent must do is ask the seller if they know of any latent defects and, once revealed, must declare these to the buyer. Of course, you as the buyer may request a home inspection report [there is a good chance of these becoming regulated like an electrical compliance certificate] as one of your conditions of purchase. The same goes for roads and infrastructure where your local municipality could help you understand routes and the likelihood of occurring.

There is a role that is often not discussed and that is inter-personal relationships. Estate agents need to be fair and confident but always display sensitivity to the parties. Think of it this way, an elderly couple is selling their family home to retire and a young couple is buying their first home. The seller is reticent, nervous, sad, pondering the future and has brought their children along to advise and help them whilst the buyer is young, energetic, internet-savvy, aspirational, unexperienced and stretching their budget. The estate agent has the wonderful job of bringing these two parties together from mandate to transfer and making the experience of both memorable and enjoyable. Just think of the interpersonal skills that an estate agent needs to reflect in this scenario. And most of them are really good at what they do – I have never had a bad experience.

There are many twists and turns in property transactions. This blog is not a manual,  but rather just a heads-up for us to gain insight into the various role players and the relationships between them. Homeloan Junction hopes it informs you a little more and helps make your experience a good one.

The South African housing market has been somewhat buoyant. The question is: Will it remain so

Expectations are that the SARB will leave interest rates unchanged at the MPC meeting on 26th March. This expectation follows on the heel of Governor Yelland’s indication that the United States Federal Reserve will not be raising interest rates soon in that country as inflation is very low ( less than 1%), and meaningful job recovery is still sought in the US economy. This news will no doubt help retain our trend.

According to FNB, the final quarter of 2014 saw South Africa’s Household Sector continuing to lower its vulnerability to debt-service cost “shocks”.

While still highly indebted and highly at risk, in 4th quarter 2014 South Africa’s Household Sector continued to gradually lower its vulnerability to any unwanted interest rate hiking surprises or economic shocks, by further lowering its Debt-to-Disposable Income Ratio. According to the South African Reserve Bank, a further decline in the Household Debt-to-Disposable Income Ratio, from a previous quarter’s revised 78.1% to 77.6% in the 4th Quarter of 2014. This brings the cumulative decline in the ratio since the early-2008 peak to 11.2 percentage points, which is significant.

All of this means that the Household Sector is moderately better positioned to weather an interest rate hiking “storm” this time around compared with 2008/9, due to its overall level of indebtedness being considerably lower these days compared to that period.

Another angle to take in answering the question is to look at buyers who are acquiring Buy-to-Let investments. The 1st quarter 2015 FNB Estate Agent Survey pointed to no further increase in the significance of buy-to-let buying in the market compared with the previous quarter. By this FNB means that, as a percentage of total home buying, buy-to-let purchases are estimated by estate agents who responded to the survey to have remained unchanged on the previous quarter at 9%, the 3rd successive quarter of this estimated percentage.

FNB believes this percentage trend is a healthy one, reflecting that the property market is not running away with itself as it did prior to 2008’s sub-Prime crisis. The percentage remains mediocre in comparison to the estimated 25% back in the boom times of early-2004. Household Sector Real Disposable Income (simply, what we put in our pockets) growth remains constrained by sustained weak economic growth for the foreseeable future, while Government taxes, fuel levies and statutory costs, like electricity, continue to rise.

In addition, the rental market’s performance in recent years has remained lacklustre. At low interest rates, people would rather try to buy their own property. In the Western Cape though, the value for money by renting often exceeds what similar payments per month on a bond could buy. In other words, rental returns are low compared with Gauteng.

Nevertheless, a stable buy-to-let percentage of total home buying should imply a gradual rise in the volumes of buy-to-let purchases, because we have seen gradually rising overall transaction volumes in the residential market in recent years.

Looking at 1st time homebuyers, the 1st Quarter 2015 FNB Estate Agent Survey once again returned a strong estimate of 1st time buying levels expressed as a percentage of total home buying, although a little down off the peak percentage of a few quarters ago. FNB believes that the mild decline may just point to a slow decline in home affordability that has appeared recently. Obviously, this would deteriorate quicker if interest rates were to rise.

According to the sample of agents FNB surveyed, 1st time buyers were estimated to be 25% of total home buyers. This is slightly lower than the 28% high of the 2nd quarter of 2014, and the percentage has now been lower than last year’s high point for 3 consecutive quarters, causing the smoothed trend line to point slightly downward. As before, FNB believes that the mild decline may just point to a slow decline in home affordability.

FNB has two very interesting indicators. FNB’s Home Affordability measures include the Average House Price/Average Labour Remuneration Ratio, as well as the 100% Instalment on an Average Home Loan/Average Labour Remuneration Ratio. In simple terms, these two indicators measure how affordable it would be for the man-in-the-street to buy a house and make the payments on the bond. These indicators started to rise in 2014 after prior years of decline because of the net result of house price inflation exceeding wage growth, and of course the minor interest rate hikes last year.

It would appear, too, that an increasing portion of 1st time buyers are indeed concerned about house price increases and affordability challenges, according to FNB. “Buyer Panic” refers to a state of mind where aspirant 1st time residential market entrants begin to fear that if they don’t buy a home quickly, the price levels will rise to levels where property becomes unaffordable for them. This can cause “inappropriately high” levels of 1st time buyers over-extending themselves financially as they attempt to get a foot in the property market “before it is too late”. This, in turn, can cause market “price bubbles”. FNB considers the market still appears to be far from this point but buyer panic must always be a concern where it exists.

So back to the question, Will the South African home market remain somewhat buoyant? It would appear from the above that the market is better than recent years but not over-heated or unreasonable in any of the residential property sectors. So, we will probably retain current growth levels for the foreseeable future.

A closing comment. Interest rates may not be the key determinant of home buying. There is a large dose of “Confidence” that comes into play. Think of it this way, when you buy a house you want to know it’s for keeps and your work circumstances are stable and certain. Fear of job loss, and a sense of uncertainty about the future could keep you renting.