Saving for your first home? Tips to help you get onto the property ladder

Married only six months, Aaron and Michelle were already the proud owners of their first home.  With wedding, honeymoon and other debt responsibilities, friends wondered how they'd saved to become homeowners.


The hardworking couple used a free mobile app to calculate what they could afford, the loan amount they’d be eligible for, and the cash they’d need to save. Saving towards a long-term goal with a clear Rand target had kept them motivated. They received help and advice through the app and were able to interact with home finance experts when needed.


“People often talk themselves out of saving by justifying an immediate spend,” says Rhys Dyer, CEO of ooba, South Africa’s largest home loan finance facilitator. “Setting a definite goal like owning your first home before you’re 35 will encourage you to save.”


But if you’ve never saved before, how can you get on the property ladder?


ooba TIP ONE:  Get app-ed.

The Affordability Calculator on ooba’s free mobile app (available for Apple and Android) will determine the size of the home loan you’re likely to obtain, and guides buyers towards the right property price bracket.  The app also calculates bond and transfer costs, bond repayments and deposit savings amounts. Visit to find out more.


ooba TIP TWO:  Save more than the deposit.

Remember that transfer and bond registration fees payable to your conveyancing attorneys also need to be settled with cash.  Be sure to also save for relocation and moving costs, renovations, and the purchase of appliances and furnishings.  If you can save more than 10% deposit for your first home, you’ll also be in a position get a better lending rate from the bank.


ooba TIP THREE:  Set a deadline.

How soon do you want to live in a home of your own?  Set a target date to keep you motivated and committed to saving.


ooba TIP FOUR:  Spend less than two thirds of your salary.

As a benchmark, banks generally require a third of your income to be disposable in order to approve a home loan.  If you’re spending more than 66% of your salary, cut down on luxuries and make your current pay-cheque work for you.  It’s far more pragmatic than waiting for a promotion or salary increase. 


ooba TIP FIVE:  Let someone else do the hard work   

A prequalification certificate from ooba is issued at no cost to a home buyer, but is of very high value. “An ooba prequalification certificate arms a home buyer with the knowledge of how much they can afford to spend, and the type of bond deal they could expect from a bank. This gives them significant negotiation power when looking for their first home,” says Dyer.  It also starts the application process and gets most of the paperwork out of the way.