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5 Steps to building a property portfolio in SA

You don't need sizable capital to get on the property ladder. Here's how to start a property portfolio that will generate wealth in the long-term.

How To Start Property Portfolio

Article summary

  • You don’t need massive amounts of capital to start a property portfolio. A bank can fund your property purchase, although you need to have a healthy credit record.
  • Research the market, such as which types of property are doing well and where are the best places to invest.
  • Consider investing as part of a group. Known as co-buying, this is a popular way for first-time buyers to get on the property ladder.

Property has always been considered a safe long-term investment. If you have money to invest, property is generally the thing to invest in if you want to be confident of growing your profits over time.

Here are some tips for investing in property.

  1. Research the market.
  2. Assess your financial situation.
  3. Start small.
  4. Consider investing as part of a group.
  5. Secure finance.

1. Research the market

Find out what types of property investments are proving most profitable, what types of property are generating the most income, and where the best locations to invest are.

For example, there are several types of properties, including:

  • Commercial property.
  • Residential property.
  • Industrial property.

You need to decide which type to invest in. How will you know unless you investigate which ones are performing?

For example, as of 2023, Commercial property generates higher profit than residential property (the Capex rate shows +11% for commercial properties, versus 5-8% for residential properties).

Note It helps you employ an estate agent to get the best advice on movements in the property market.


Buy-to-let is the bread and butter of property investment.

It helps to know that as of 2023, the buy-to-let market is surging in the Western Cape.

ooba Home Loans data shows that 32.9% of Western Cape’s property demand stemmed from buy-to-let applications in June 2023 alone, an increase from 21.5% in March 2020.

2. Assess your financial situation

  • You don’t need massive amounts of capital to invest in property. The bank will fund your purchase provided you meet their criteria.
  • The most important criterion is to have a good credit record.
  • You can maintain a good credit record by clearing debts, paying bills on time, and reducing your credit ratio (the gap between the amount you owe and the limit to your credit) to below 30%.
  • You need a credit score of at least 610 for the bank to consider your home loan application, while anything above 661 is considered a decent credit score.
  • You can find out your credit record by getting prequalified with ooba Home Loans (see below).

3. Start small

  • For example, you could invest in a small residential property in an area where prices are increasing.
  • You can invest in a residential property to renovate it to improve value.
  • This is another reason to do your research into the property market.

4. Consider investing as part of a group.

  • Co-buying is when two or more people purchase a property together, dividing the home loan repayments and management costs between themselves.
  • This is an option employed by couples, friends, and business partners.
  • It’s a good way for first-time homebuyers to get on the property ladder, as sharing the bond provides a sense of security.
  • Co-buying is on the rise in the South African property market. ooba Home Loans reports that of joint applications received, 75.3% were purchased with a spouse, whereas 24.7% were purchased with others (such as business partners or relatives).

5. Secure finance

  • The standard way to fund a property purchase is to apply for a home loan.
  • Again, a healthy credit record improves your chances of your application being approved.
  • You can get the best deal on your home loan by applying to multiple banks with ooba Home Loans. We submit your application to multiple banks and allow you to compare deals and choose the best one.
  • We also offer a range of tools that can make the homebuying process easier.  Start with our Bond Calculator, then use our Bond Indicator to determine what you can afford. Finally, when you’re ready, you can apply for a home loan.

An important step: Find out what you can afford

Once you decide to take the plunge, first get prequalified to find out what you can afford. Prequalification will also assess your credit record so you can determine your chances of home loan approval.

You can get prequalified by contacting an expert at ooba Home Loans or by using our free, online prequalification tool, the Bond Indicator.

Get prequalified for a home loan today

DIY with our online prequalification tool, or speak to an expert.

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