How I saved almost R120 000 on my bond to become a First Time Home Owner

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Mary Xaba, a domestic worker from Ivory Park in Johannesburg, will have her own property registered in her name this December. This is her interesting journey to becoming a homeowner.

Mary Xaba will celebrate her 59th birthday in January as a homeowner. Her employer Charl Visser says helping her achieve her dream is his way of paying it forward.

Can there be a better Christmas present than having your own property transferred into your name? This is the end to the tough year of 2020, Mary Xaba aged 58, is looking forward to.

Xaba is set to take ownership of her very own 2-bedroom RDP home in Ga-Rankuwa after a successful bond application for R225k, along with a FLISP subsidy of R120k – which means she will only pay R125k for her first home.

“Anything is possible,” says Xaba, describing the news of her bond being approved.

“I didn’t think I would get a house. I was very afraid in the beginning, but then I became happy again. For me to have a home, I won’t struggle anymore, I don’t have to pay rent anymore and I can leave the house to my children one day when I pass on.

But this success story has been a diligent, 10-year journey for Xaba and her employer Charl Visser, a 37-year-old banker from Midstream, Centurion.

Xaba shares how she often felt the odds were against her, describing a past littered with challenges from growing up as an “orphan in an abusive environment to losing her first husband and first child – and now living with HIV”.

Visser says Xaba, who has been employed as his domestic helper for the past decade, “works hard and is part of our family”.

“She found that she really wanted a property of her own. She would join numerous meetings that never resulted in needed outcomes.

As a banker, Visser says he ensured that Mary was running a solid account in good standing, where she saved money monthly and took out a small Credit Card to help her credit bureau score.

After two years Xaba saved enough money for transfer fees, and her good credit record helped her to qualify for an Approval in Principle (AIP) from the bank so as to be able to make her first property purchase.

It was while hunting for a property that Absa Bank informed them about Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (FLISP), says Visser. All banks should be able to help with this process, with FNB finally granting Xaba the FLISP discounted home loan.

“We were surprised to find out that Mary qualified via the government assistance program FLISP.

Xaba, who earned between the required R3,500 – R22,000, had dependents, had never received a subsidy and is first time buyer qualified for a R120,000 subsidy.

“The property will register in her name by December, and we changed this woman’s life forever!” exclaims Visser who says all he has wanted to do was pay it forward for Xaba.

“I know many people would like to assist their employees, so it is something to explore.”

Xaba and Visser share the 10-step process they followed:

Ask your employer to assist you with setting up an affordable bank account.

Ensure that your salary gets paid into the account for the bank to keep track of your earnings, try and avoid cash, as this will help the bank when they need to do a credit assessment for your future home loan.

Apply for a small credit facility or retail card to build up your credit record.

Give it 6 months and start with the process of applying for an AIP.

Save up enough money for transfer/bond fees, and use bond and affordability calculation tools for an indication of the potential costs.

Look for a property that will make the evaluation you qualify for. Ask your bank before you start looking for properties what is required by the bank’s evaluator, as some properties don’t adhere to evaluation requirements.

Visit the FLISP website and ensure that you understand qualifying criteria.

When a property has been found make an offer to purchase and apply at the bank.

Apply via the FLISP website.

Be patient and support the process, there is lots of paperwork required.

“The process takes time and preparation is key,” says Visser who says that Xaba made three Offers to Purchase that were declined before the fourth property “made valuation”.

“We needed to understand the evaluation requirements. Educate yourself via the FLISP website, it is very easy and anybody will be able to understand the process to follow. Manage and motivate your helper, it is a very emotional journey for them and you,” adds Visser.

“Awaiting the outcome of the FLISP application is nerve wrecking, but ensure you collaborate with FLISP experts like Meyer and Anele that helps you, keeps you informed and supports you with the process.”

They both maintain, basic education and finance management are key.

“By spending a little time and effort, we can make a big difference to assist our helpers. If we can assist, let us do it, because we might be the only individual that ever helps them to achieve their dreams. Today was a victory for our helper Mary,” he says.

“If you save, educate yourself and manage your finances well, it is possible,” says Xaba.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

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