Want to know how we bought our first home as a young family on a single income through FNB? It’s not impossible with the right lending solution, and I want to show you how you can make it happen. I take you through our story and how we learnt to budget, find the right property for us, apply for a loan, and love our home. Finding your next family home and applying for finance is made easy with these four steps and the FNB App.
Home sweet home
I have lived in many homes. My husband and I are used to moving between cities and houses, and since I do all the packing, he doesn’t mind it that much. When we were pregnant with Ethan, we knew we needed to move out of the city centre to the suburbs and into a home of our own. It was a big decision to make, when we only had a small budget.
We decided on a suburb close to family, with affordable housing options. Being a young family on a single salary, our budget would be tested. We did find our first home though, which was a new build, parallel to a busy road. It had been overlooked by other prospective buyers, who were concerned about its size and location. This home may not have been our first choice, but it was perfect for what we needed at the time. More importantly, we had the available deposit and could secure an affordable FNB home loan.
I loved this home. I cared for it, made small improvements and created a welcoming home. A year later, when we could afford to move up the property ladder, we put the house on the market and it sold within a week. A house which we once thought we couldn’t afford, and worked hard to make into a home for our family, was now sold for a profit.
Our next home was two streets away and a little bigger and better located. I loved this home too. It may still not have been our forever home, but it represented what we had managed to achieve in a short time by making responsible financial decisions through our bank. A year later, we once again contacted our estate agent and put the house on the market, as we were to move town for work. We sold the house for a profit.
This is our story, from feeling intimidated by the property market, to finding the right help so we could help ourselves. I learnt to understand our finances, set realistic expectations, put in the work, and take advantage of the resources available in the FNB App.
Why the FNB app?
The best ideas and decisions my husband and I have had and made regarding our family and future have been outside the usual 9-5 business hours. They are made late at night after the children have gone to sleep and we stay up talking about our 5-year plan. It is during the weekend, when we get a chance to relax and connect.
Some of our ideas are big, others are small, but before we make our final decision, we do our research. We want to know if it’s possible, and we want to be able to access credible information during our late night chats and on weekends. We can use the FNB App anytime we want, and find out what we need.
Purchasing a home qualifies as a big decision, and I remember many weekends spent weighing up our options and looking for the right house. We used the FNB App to get pre-approved, and it didn’t require us to take time out of our busy work week to go to the bank. Using the FNB App was easy, and it meant we could move forward quickly with our house search, just with our phone.
1. What can I afford?
The biggest hurdle we had to overcome in our property search was, for my husband and me, to find a common ground. My husband’s mindset was “we can’t afford it” and I was searching for property beyond our budget, without a clear understanding of our finances. We both had to take a long look at our expenses and expectations, so that we could find a responsible FNB lending solution for us. We did just that, and I’m going to share with you the steps that helped us, and will help you too.
Calculate your budget
Record your monthly income and expenses in a budget sheet. This task I find tedious, but it is crucially important and will become easier over time. It serves a number of purposes, and will be the first step in taking control of your finances and your life. It is important for your house search for these reasons:
- Savings: where can you increase your income and/or decrease your expenses to boost your savings? Try build up a suitable deposit in preparation for your house hunting. Look through your expenses and separate the necessities and luxuries, and what you can do without to save money towards your new home.
- Credit: improve your credit record and access to lending solutions by managing your debt responsibly. Clear outstanding debts and pay monthly repayments for necessary expenses promptly.
- Affordability: once you have a budget, you will have an estimate of what monthly repayment you can afford. Use this figure to calculate the home loan you can apply for, and together with your savings, the house price you can afford. This will help you narrow your search and remove financial worry of affordability.
- Approval: you will need to submit your monthly budget to your home loan advisor so that they can assess your application. They will determine whether your budget is accurate and a fair reflection based on your personal circumstances.
Calculating and sticking to a monthly budget will not only help you to increase your deposit, it will determine your affordability and get you one step closer to a home loan approval.
Calculate your costs
There are more costs involved in buying a home than just the purchase price. Use the FNB App calculators to understand all the costs you are in for – your monthly repayment, the maximum home loan amount you qualify for and even the deposit that may be required to buy your new home.
Costs and expenses vary between properties, and here is a helpful list of some of the once-off and monthly expenses to factor in your finances. There may also be unexpected costs, so leave room in your budget for these. However, there are moments when “life” happens, and FNB is there to help by providing a variety of responsible lending solutions to their customers.
- Purchase price
- Registration costs
- Transfer costs
- Moving costs
- Home alterations
- Monthly home loan repayments
- Home loan service fee
- Municipal rates and fees
- Property Insurance
- Life Assurance
- Household content insurance
2. Find a Property
The big debate, and the subject of those late night discussions, is what house do we want to buy? By doing step 1, you will have an idea of house price to help narrow down your search. There is more to discuss though than just affordability.
What took pressure off us during our house search, was knowing that it may not be our forever home. We were buying a home within our current budget, and which suited our family needs for the foreseeable future. We could get on the property ladder, as a young family living on a single income, and still buy a good home we could afford. We did this by setting realistic expectations and seeking the right advice.
Make a list of what you need and want from a property. Will this be a transition home or your forever home? Do you wish to live close to work, schools or family? Do you need extra room as a growing family or intend to work from home or home-school? Do you need extra accommodation for live-in grandparents or nanny? Once you have your list, you can use the FNB App to browse for a property.
Start your property search by choosing an area based on work, schools, family, using the tools in the FNB App. The FNB App gives you the average house prices by area, which allows you to evaluate your affordability and what sellers should expect to receive for their property. Search properties until you find the right fit.
Benefits of pre-approval
Before you make an offer on a property, get pre-approved for a home loan through the FNB App. Pre-approval is available for qualifying customers, and allows you to make an offer with confidence.
Good estate agents will ensure prospective buyers are pre-approved, before taking an offer to their clients. Avoid any delays, and get pre-approved early in your property search and don’t lose out on a deal.
3. Apply for home loan
Once you have found the home for you, next step is to apply for or switch a home loan through the FNB App. If you meet the qualifying criteria, FNB will be able to help you become a proud home owner.
4. Love your home
You have worked hard to become a home owner, and can enjoy the memories and benefits it brings to your family. This photo reminds me of our moving day, when of course the toys had to be unpacked first!
Love your home, and take care of it so it can continue to bring enjoyment and increase in value. Find a moving company in your area as well as interior decorators, gardening services, plumbers, security services and painters through the FNB App.
Finding your next home
The FNB App is a powerful tool when it comes to purchasing your home, and can assist you through these four steps. What we have learnt is that instead of thinking “I can’t afford it”, rather take control of your finances and there will be a responsible FNB solution out there for you.
This is a sponsored post for FNB. I am an FNB customer. Content and images are my own.