5 things to look out for when you apply for a home loan

The process of applying for a home loan is much the same as the one you’d follow when buying a new car. Whether you have your eye on a new set of wheels, or you’re looking for a second hand ride, you’re unlikely to buy the first one you see. You’ll first ask the seller a few pertinent questions – about miles on the odometer, the asking price and what type of financial options are available to you – and then you’ll go elsewhere to see what alternatives are on offer.

Finding the best home loan provider and mortgage loan to suit your needs also requires a fair amount of homework on your behalf. I asked Craig Gilchrist, the Regional Manager for SA Home Loans in Mpumalanga and the East Rand, to share his perspectives on what home buyers should be looking for when shopping around for a home loan provider and home loan product. He had the following to share with me.

  1. Service, service, and more service

    Buying a property is one of the biggest purchase decisions anyone will ever make, so applicants need to know their home loan provider is one hundred percent committed to them and the process. A home loan is a long term commitment – up to 20 or 30 years – which means a relationship with a financial lender is fairly permanent. At SA Home Loans, we want this relationship with our clients to be a good one.

    Because service is a core component of what we do at SA Home Loans, we strive to make each client feel as if they’re our only client. This means we give them the time and attention they need, throughout and beyond the home loan application process.

  2. Trust

    We understand that trust is an important component of any partnership – especially when there’s money involved! Our clients need to know we have their best interests at heart and we’re not out to make a quick buck.

    SA Home Loans takes the 2005 National Credit Act very seriously; we believe we have a responsibility to protect our clients against reckless credit granting to promote their long term financial health.

  3. Great products

    Along with great service, we know that home buyers need good products. Applicants need to find the best deal possible – especially when it comes to the deposit required and the interest rate on the approved deal.

    At SA Home Loans, we understand that no two applications are the same. When prospective clients come to us for a home loan product, we try to find the solution for them that best suits their pockets. We have many products on offering and the onus is getting our applicants the best deal possible, one that allows their home loan to work for them and not just be another monthly expense.

    In South Africa especially, almost every single applicant has had their unique hardships, and we recognize there could be good reasons for an unpaid account. By listening and understanding each client’s circumstances, we are able to present a better home loan application.

    Through every stage of our application process, we have people that assess the application and not just a computer that just spits out a “yes” or “no”.

    That said, we do ensure the applicant isn’t too financially stretched to repay the bond amount and we make sure the product suits the client’s unique situation. Let’s use the following scenario as an example: we are contacted by a 55-year-old person who is looking to retire at age 65. Is it feasible to ask them to sign a home loan for 20 years? We’d have to find out. To do this, we assess the client’s situation: for example, we’d find out what kind of pension they’ll be getting and whether or not they have annuities.

    In short, we need to ascertain what kind of income they will be enjoying after retiring to see if their affordability will still be in line after their retirement in 10 years’ time. Alternatively, we organize a shorter loan term, so the home loan is paid up before retirement, or shortly thereafter.

  4. Good communication

    Our commitment to our clients includes a commitment to excellent communication. We believe applicants need to be kept abreast of the status of their application at all times.

    As there is a credit process to be followed in any application, queries and problems can arise at any time. This means communication channels must be open to applicants, and not just for the application itself, but for potentially helping the applicant going forward in the event of a declined application.

    Each of our clients has a contact person at SA Home Loans they can phone at any stage for guidance and information about their home loan, both before and after the registration of their loan.

  5. Great after sales service

    Does the relationship end as soon as the offer is accepted? We hope not! It can be quite frustrating if good service isn’t evident after the registration of the home loan, so we feel it’s as important to take care of our relationships – it’s not just about signing a client up and then leaving them high and dry.

SA Home Loans: in a nutshell

At SA Home Loans we specialize in home loans: that’s all we do. We have a network of branches across the country and have very experienced consultants who only work on home loan applications.

The pinnacle of what we do is our amazing service. Each and every single employee at SA Home Loans strives for this on a daily basis. Whether its dealing with colleagues or dealing with clients, it’s an ethos that we want to convey through each interaction, throughout every single day.

Ultimately we want to welcome each and every applicant to the SA Home Loans family and have a long lasting relationship with each of our clients.

Contact one of our consultants today to find out how we can be of service to you.