Mortgages and Home Loans in South Africa: A Comprehensive Guide


Mortgages and home loans are essential tools for South Africans looking to purchase property. With various options available, it can be challenging to determine which one is the best fit. Fortunately, several reputable lenders and banks in South Africa offer competitive home loans with reasonable interest rates.

Expats looking to buy a home in South Africa are eligible for home loans without restrictions. The country’s biggest banks offer mortgages to immigrants, including fixed-rate and variable deals. Additionally, first-time homebuyers can finance transfer costs and choose a term of up to 30 years with competitive interest rates.

Regarding home loans in South Africa, several factors are to be considered, including the costs charged, interest rates, service fees, deposits, and the company’s reputation. To help guide potential borrowers, Rateweb has compiled a list of the top 10 home loan providers in South Africa based on these factors. Nedbank also offers competitive offers, including financing up to 100% of the property value or up to 105% for first-time homebuyers, to cover the bond and transfer costs.

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Understanding Mortgages and Home Loans

Mortgages and home loans are financial products that allow individuals to purchase a property without paying the full amount upfront. The loan is secured on the property, which means that if the borrower defaults on the repayments, the lender has the right to repossess the property.

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Types of Mortgages

There are two main types of mortgages: fixed-rate and variable-rate mortgages. A fixed-rate mortgage has an interest rate that remains the same throughout the loan term, usually 20 to 30 years. This provides certainty and stability for borrowers, as they know exactly how much their monthly repayments will be. A variable rate mortgage, on the other hand, has an interest rate that can fluctuate over time, depending on the market conditions. This means that the borrower’s monthly repayments can vary, making it harder to budget for the loan.

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Loan Amount and Repayment Terms

The loan amount is the total amount of money the borrower borrows to purchase the property. This amount can vary depending on the property’s purchase price, the borrower’s income and credit score, and other factors. The repayment terms are the length of time that the borrower has to repay the loan. This can range from 10 to 30 years, depending on the lender and the borrower’s financial situation.

Interest Rates

The interest rate is the cost of borrowing money from the lender. This can vary depending on the type of mortgage, the lender, and the borrower’s credit score. The interest rate can be fixed or variable, as mentioned earlier. It’s important to compare interest rates from different lenders to find the best deal.


Some lenders offer cashback incentives to borrowers who take out a mortgage with them. This means the borrower receives a lump sum of cash when they take out the loan. This can be used to pay for fees and other expenses related to the property purchase.

In conclusion, mortgages and home loans are complex financial products that require careful consideration and research. Borrowers should compare lenders and loan products to find the best deal that suits their financial situation.

The Home Loan Application Process

Certain steps and requirements must be followed when applying for a home loan in South Africa. This section will provide a brief overview of the home loan application process in South Africa.


Before applying for a home loan, it is important to ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria set out by the lender. This typically includes being over 18, having a good credit score, and having a steady income.


To apply for a home loan, you will need to provide certain paperwork, including proof of identification and income. This typically includes your ID document, latest payslip, and bank statements.

Application Process

The application process for a home loan in South Africa can be done online or in person. Applying online is often quicker and more convenient, but some lenders may require an in-person appointment.

During the application process, the lender will conduct a credit check to determine your creditworthiness and ability to repay the loan. They will also assess the property value you wish to purchase to determine the loan amount.


Once the lender has reviewed your application and conducted a credit check, they will make a decision on whether to approve or decline your application. If approved, they will provide you with a loan offer outlining the loan’s conditions.


The conditions of a home loan in South Africa may vary depending on the lender and the type of loan. Some common conditions include the interest rate, repayment term, and additional fees or charges.

Overall, the home loan application process in South Africa can be straightforward if you meet the eligibility criteria and provide the necessary paperwork. Shopping around and comparing different lenders is important to ensure you get the best deal for your needs.

Types of Mortgages

When it comes to mortgages in South Africa, there are primarily two types of mortgages: variable-rate mortgages and fixed-rate mortgages. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages, and it is important to understand their differences before making a decision.

Variable Rate Mortgages

Variable or adjustable rate mortgages are mortgages where the interest rate can change over time. This means that the monthly mortgage payments can also change over time. Variable-rate mortgages are usually linked to the prime lending rate set by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB). As the prime lending rate changes, so does the interest rate on the mortgage.

One advantage of variable-rate mortgages is that they often start with a lower interest rate than fixed-rate mortgages. This means that the initial monthly payments may be lower, making it easier for borrowers to manage their finances. However, variable-rate mortgages can be risky, as interest rates can rise, causing monthly payments to increase.

Fixed-Rate Mortgages

Fixed-rate mortgages are mortgages with an unchanged interest rate for the entire mortgage term. This means the monthly mortgage payments will remain the same throughout the term. Fixed-rate mortgages provide borrowers with certainty and stability, as they know exactly how much they will pay each month.

One advantage of fixed-rate mortgages is that they protect borrowers from interest rate increases. This means that borrowers can budget and plan their finances more effectively. However, fixed-rate mortgages often have higher interest rates than variable-rate mortgages, meaning the initial monthly payments may be higher.

Buy-to-Let Properties

Buy-to-let mortgages are mortgages that are specifically designed for those who want to buy a property to rent out. These mortgages are different from standard mortgages as they consider the rental income that the property will generate. Buy-to-let mortgages usually have higher interest rates than standard ones, but the rental income can help offset the monthly mortgage payments.

It is important to note that not all lenders offer buy-to-let mortgages, and those that do may have specific eligibility criteria that borrowers must meet. Researching and comparing different lenders before deciding on a buy-to-let mortgage is important.

Choosing the right type of mortgage depends on individual circumstances and financial goals. It is important to consider factors such as interest rates, monthly payments, and the length of the mortgage when making a decision.

First-Time Home Buyers

For first-time home buyers in South Africa, navigating the mortgage market can be overwhelming. However, purchasing a home can be a smooth and exciting experience with the right information and guidance.

Before beginning the house hunt, it is essential to determine a budget. Getting pre-qualified for a home loan is recommended to understand what you can afford. The Bond Indicator service offered by Ooba Home Loans is a free online tool that can help with this process.

When comparing home loan options, it is important to consider affordability and loan terms. Some lenders offer up to 105% of the property value, which can be useful for covering additional costs such as transfer fees and attorney fees. However, it is important to remember that borrowing more than the property can result in higher monthly repayments and interest charges.

First-time home buyers may also be eligible for government housing subsidies such as the Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (FLISP). This subsidy is aimed at low-income earners and can be used to reduce the initial cost of purchasing a home. Applying for FLISP through a home loan comparison service such as Ooba Home Loans can expedite the process.

When making a choice on a home loan, it is important to ask questions and understand the terms and conditions of the loan. Some questions to consider include:

  • What is the interest rate, and how is it calculated?
  • Are there any penalties for early repayment?
  • What are the monthly repayments, and how long is the repayment period?
  • Are there any additional fees or charges?

Overall, first-time home buyers in South Africa have a range of options. By comparing home loan options and considering affordability, government subsidies, and loan terms, first-time buyers can make an informed decision and find their dream home.

Non-Resident and Foreign Buyers

Foreigners and non-residents looking to purchase property in South Africa have a few home loan options. Some of the major banks in South Africa offer home loan products specifically designed for foreign buyers and non-residents.

Foreign Choice is a product FNB offers that caters to non-residents and foreign nationals who want to purchase residential property in South Africa. This product is also available to South Africans working and living in another country and looking to buy property in South Africa. Non-residents may arrange finance for up to 50% of the purchase value, with the balance from foreign funds transferred to South Africa.

Another option for non-residents is to apply for a mortgage through one of South Africa’s major banks. However, the amount that foreigners or non-residents can borrow is limited to 50% of the purchase price. Additionally, bank loans to foreigners are subject to the approval of the lending institution and the South African Reserve Bank.

Expats looking to buy a home in South Africa are eligible for home loans without restrictions. South Africa’s biggest banks offer mortgages to immigrants, including fixed-rate and variable deals. Non-residents and foreign buyers must provide the necessary paperwork to get their loan, including proof of income, proof of residence, and a valid passport.

Foreign buyers should also know the legal ins and outs of purchasing property in South Africa. It is recommended that foreign buyers seek legal advice before making a purchase to ensure that they are aware of any legal requirements and restrictions that may apply to them.

Overall, while options are available for non-residents and foreign buyers seeking a home loan in South Africa, it is important to do thorough research and seek professional advice to ensure the process goes smoothly and all legal requirements are met.

Costs and Fees Associated with Home Loans

When considering a home loan in South Africa, it is important to understand the various costs and fees that come with it. These costs can include deposit, fees, registration, transfer costs, registration costs, legal fees, and service fees.


A deposit is the money a buyer pays upfront when purchasing a property. The deposit is usually a percentage of the purchase price, ranging from 5% to 20%. The deposit is required to secure the property and is deducted from the total purchase price.


Home loan fees are the charges a lender imposes on a borrower to process a home loan application. These fees can include application fees, credit report fees, valuation fees, and administration fees. It is important to note that these fees can vary depending on the lender.


Registration is the process of registering the property in the buyer’s name. The conveyancer does this and involves paying registration fees to the Deeds Office. The registration fees are based on the property’s purchase price and are paid by the buyer.

Transfer Costs

Transfer costs transfer the property from the seller’s name to the buyer’s. These costs can include transfer duty, conveyancing fees, and VAT. Transfer duty is a tax payable to the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and is calculated based on the property’s purchase price.

Registration Costs

Registration costs are associated with registering the bond with the Deeds Office. These include registration, deeds office search, and deeds office copy fees. The buyer pays these fees, usually included in the home loan.

Legal Fees

Legal fees are the fees charged by the conveyancer for handling the legal aspects of the home loan. These fees include drafting the sale agreement, registering the property, and registering the bond. Legal fees can vary depending on the complexity of the transaction.

Service Fee

The lender charges a service fee for administering the home loan. This fee can be charged monthly or annually and varies depending on the lender.

Overall, it is important for borrowers to understand the costs and fees associated with a home loan in South Africa. By understanding these costs, borrowers can make informed decisions when choosing a home loan and avoid unexpected costs.


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