I am getting ready to buy my first home, and I know about the documentation required. I understand how to fill in an Income and Expenditure form, but I am a bit confused by the Assets and Liabilities document. What are assets and what are liabilities?

Linda rall, ooba’s KZN provincial sales manager, answers:

Just as an Income and Expenditure form covers everything you earn and spend, an Assets and Liabilities form covers everything you own and owe. With these two forms, the banks can get a full picture of your financial standing. Remember that full disclosure is a legal requirement, so it’s important to be completely honest, and to have all the information that you need to hand, so that you’re not using guesswork.

Assets

Your assets are everything that you own. This ranges from the obvious, including your car, any other properties you may own, as well as all your personal items like jewelry, furniture and clothing. Try to remember any specific items of great worth that you own – like engagement rings, Kruger Rand coins or any other high-value items.

Remember that loan accounts, share portfolios, retirement annuities and unit trusts are all assets, and should be listed, as is the surrender value of any insurance or endowment policy that you may hold. If someone owes you money, that amount counts as an asset as well. Have a valuation of all of these prepared for when you are filling out your home loan or pre-approval application.

And you should list the positive balance in your bank account or in any savings or fixed deposit accounts.

Liabilities

Liabilities are more often overlooked, so remember to total up all your short-term loans and contractual debt in your name as well as outstanding balances on your retail accounts and store or bank issued credit cards.

Remember that although you may have listed your car as an asset, any money still owed on your vehicle finance is a liability and the outstanding balance your vehicle finance account must be listed here.

You should also mention any significant amount of money that you owe to anyone else, including to shops where you might have purchased furniture or electronics over a certain term.

And list the amount you owe on your overdraft or any other short term loans at your bank.  But if any of this is confusing to you, consult with an ooba expert on your specific queries on our website, over live chat or on the phone, and we’ll get right back to you.