Just married and looking to buy? Read this first
When newlyweds begin their search for a new home to buy, it soon becomes apparent that each partner either has different ideas about the size of the home, its suburb as well as what features it should boast.
You may want a small garden in which to keep a dog or plant some veggies, while your spouse believes sectional-title apartment living is both more convenient and saves on maintenance costs – never mind not having to wake up early on Saturday mornings to mow the lawn.
You will most probably have already discussed your ideas of the perfect family – whether that means just the two of you and a small pet, or three children, two dogs and one hamster each.
The point is these ideals and reality need to meet in the middle, and newlyweds will be forced to compromise on certain nice-to-haves based on income levels, debt and availability of their preferred housing stock.
You should decide on your priorities before you begin looking at houses, as the wrong home or neighbourhood could have an impact on your lifestyle and your finances for many years to come, says Shaun Rademeyer, CEO of mortgage originator BetterLife Home Loans.
“The first step is to decide on what type of house you would like to buy in terms of size and design, and how long you plan on living there,” he says, noting that those expecting to raise a large family may want to consider a family home, while others may want a smaller home at first or even an apartment. “The location of your home is just as vital. The distance from work or good schools should be considered, distance from friends or family, as well as amenities such as shops, hospitals, parks or other recreational spots. Some may want to look at areas with lower property rates as their first priority while others might be seeking more security.
“Many newlyweds are now also on the lookout for newer, eco-friendly homes with solar panels and space for a kitchen garden. Ensure you are both on the same page before you begin searching.”
How do you intend to finance your home purchase? If going the home loan route, you will most likely require a cash deposit equivalent to 10% or 20% of the home’s purchase price.
“This can be difficult to save, but in addition to helping you qualify for a loan, it will lower your monthly loan repayments and help to protect you against future interest rate increases,” says Rademeyer. “A reputable mortgage originator will be able to explain how this works and to help you get loan pre-qualification so that you have a better idea of how much you can afford to pay for your first home as a married couple.”
Your friends may also be able to help you finance your dream home by starting a crowdfunding campaign as a wedding present, or giving you cash.
“And speaking of weddings, even a relatively modest reception costs many thousands of rand these days, and you might want to consider skipping some of the more expensive trimmings and putting the savings towards your deposit,” he says. “Buying a home is after all the best way for most people to build a financially secure future, and the sooner you are able to start doing that, the better it will be – for both of you.”