Buying your own home can be a daunting prospect. Many of us have spent our lives renting, so when we decide to take the step up to owning property, we often aren’t quite as prepared as we should be.

Here are 5 vital steps a first-time home buyer should consider:

1. Research, research, research
More often than not, the estate agent involved will offer you a one-piece brochure with information on the property – don’t be afraid to request more. Buying a house is a 20-year commitment and one that should not be entered into lightly.

2. Check your credit score
By knowing your credit score, you have the chance to improve it over time. This could potentially save you up to 30% on your bond payments. It is always important to be cognisant of your future purchases and how these can affect your credit score. There are online sites available where you can do a quick, free online check.

3. Work out your affordability
After you have found out your credit score, you can check your affordability. This takes into account your income and expenses to work out the size of the loan you could potentially get from the bank. Knowing how much you could possibly borrow makes the entire process far simpler.

4. Budget before you buy
As simple as this may sound, it can truly save you in the long run. When thinking of buying a home, take an honest look at your finances. Replace your monthly rent with the potential bond repayments, as well as costs like house insurance, rates and taxes, levies and property maintenance. All these costs add up, and could put a strain on your monthly income.

5. Consult with professionals before you consider buying
Contact a home loan consultant before you consider buying to guide you through the process. There might be some serious red tape you need to get around, and the last thing you want to do is lose out on your dream home because of delays with your bond approval.

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