Fantastic news for first time property buyers FLISP subsidy policy revised – no need for a home loan anymore to obtain a government subsidy

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[Cape Town, 12 March] National Minister of Human Settlements, Mmamoloko Kubayi announced that the Finance Linked Individual Subsidy (FLISP) has been delinked and is no longer just a mortgage only option.

Furthermore, partnerships were established with external role-players such as financial institutions, conveyancing attorneys and property developers, granting them access to the Housing Subsidy System (HSS) which allows them to capture and monitor the progress of applications. The result is a drastically improved turnaround time for processing these applications.

The FLISP programme is a housing subsidy to assist qualifying first-time home buyers with purchasing a home. The subsidy is paid directly to the conveyancing attorney or financial institution and can be used as a deposit to buy a home, or to pay such into an existing home loan and reduce the monthly instalments. Households with an income between R3 501 to R22 000 may qualify for the FLISP subsidy if they meet all the criteria, such being a first time buyer with a financial dependent and a South African citizen. The current subsidies range between R121 626 to R27 960.00. This may also increase.

Since FLISP’s inception in 2005, the approval of the subsidy was always linked to “finance” in the format of an approved home loan from either one of the major financial institutions such as ABSA, Standard Bank, FNB, Nedbank or SAHL.

Not anymore, says Meyer de Waal, a conveyancing attorney of Cape Town whose mission it was over the past eight years to assist first time buyers to gain access to a home loan and assist with a FLISP subsidy application.

“The announcement by the National Minister of Human Settlements, Mmamoloko Kubayi during a virtual briefing to National Council of Provinces (NCOP) that as from 1 April 2022 the Finance Linked Individual Subsidy (FLISP) has been delinked and no longer just a mortgage is only option, is a very welcome development,” says de Waal.

“Often in the past, we considered giving up as the barriers to entry for a first-time buyer were too difficult to overcome,” says de Waal.  “We welcome Minister Kubayi’s announcement, and are glad that we persevered and today can provide a comprehensive FLISP first time buyer assistance that includes home loan and or non-mortgage linked finance application services.”

According to de Waal, partnerships in the private sector were established over the past years, and these are now the foundation of a comprehensive service to first time buyers mortgage originators, attorneys, estate agents as well as such service to the Department of Human Settlements and the NHFC to provide comprehensive FLISP application submissions.

ESTABLISHING PARTNERSHIPS IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR TO AID FIRST TIME BUYERS

“We reached out to other industry stakeholders in the legal fraternity, such as LexisNexis and formed a partnership with them to promote FLISP applications through their extensive conveyancing attorney network,” explains de Waal.

“Through the Gawie Le Roux Institute of Law we also hosted FLISP information sessions and more combined workshops are planned.”

The Attorney Realtor Hub, through 13 branches on a national scale are also assisting their buyers and sellers with this service.

At the moment, only the Western Cape allows for the payment of conveyancing fees from the FLISP subsidy proceeds, says Chris Fick of Attorney Realtor Hub. Often a buyer does not have the funds available to pay for conveyancing fees and we expect that the new FLISP policy will be expanded on a national level to accommodate the payment of conveyancing fees as well.

Similar FLISP information sessions and events facilitated through the Institute for Estate Agents (IEASA) were hosted and further events are planned.

“It is critical that the estate agents have comprehensive knowledge of the subsidies available for first time buyers as this aids them in concluding a successful property transaction,” says Annette Evans of IEASA.

To accommodate the onboarding of thousands home loan applications per month, cutting edge Property and Fintech technology were developed in a partnership with 4Me.Tech. This same technology is now applied to aid buyers with non-mortgage linked financial applications and a FLISP subsidy.

FLISP CALCULATOR & FLISP PRE-QUALIFICATION VOUCHER BEFORE YOU BUY

As per the new National Housing Code, a FLISP pre-qualification guarantee can be issued to a first-time buyer by the Implementation Agencies appointed by the Government.

According to Jacques Theron of 4Me.Tech, their technology enables them to issue a first-time buyer with a FLISP Voucher before they start the home buying process. “After an applicant signs up on our online platform and answers a few qualifying questions, the technology does the rest and a FLISP Voucher is issued to provide an accurate estimate of the subsidy the home buyer can qualify for.”

The Flisp Voucher can then be validated through HSS integrations with the Department of Human Settlements or the systems of the NHFC as per a working relationship with these institutions.

MOU WITH THE NHFC

An MOU was also secured with the NHFC. This MOU will enable us to assist buyer and sellers and property developers and estate agents to ensure that the FLISP subsidies are processed and paid out quicker.

NEXT STEP – WHAT FINANCE CAN ONE QUALIFY FOR?

A FLISP Voucher is the first step to take, and the first-time buyer can then establish how much finance can be obtained to buy a home with the combination of the FLISP subsidy and the finance granted and available.

ONE STOP SHOP – ALL YOUR FINANCIAL SERVICES IN ONE

A comprehensive one-stop-online platform was developed and is available on https://www.mybondfitness.info/flisp

“Our online property finance pre-qualification estimator provides an outcome in real time and also provides a FLISP Subsidy Voucher that can be validated,” says Jacques Theron of 4Me.Tech.

Not only is the first-time buyer assisted to compare finance through a home loan, but also to all of the non-mortgage linked financial services that will be available as from 1 April.

We realized a first-time buyer, with no or little experience to buy a property and shop around for the most appropriate property finance will be very confused if all the finance options are not presented on one easy to navigate platform.

The first time buyer can also be lured to take up non-mortgage finance that he or she may not be able to afford.

Once the finance is taken up and a home purchased, it may land the new home owner in financial difficulties if the monthly repayments cannot be met.

 

CHECK BEFORE YOU BUY

That is why the online platform with a quick credit score and affordability self-check for the buyer was developed.

The outcome is available in real time and the data extracted from a business relationship with an established credit bureau, explains Theron.

All are available on one platform – click here to view.

WILL I QUALIFY FOR FINANCE TO UNLOCK MY FLISP SUBSIDY?

Raising finance, in any form, being a home loan or non-mortgage linked finance application, a first time buyer will still have to comply with the strict rules of the lending practices and guidelines as per the National Credit Act.

“Up to 50 % of home buyers are unsuccessful from the start due to a low or a bad credit score,” says de Waal. “If I look at the +/- 340 000 applications who were processed over the past 36 months, more than 185 000 aspiring buyers were unable to even be considered for a home loan, due to a low, thin, or bad credit score.

If a finance application is declined, a first-time buyer will not be able to receive a FLISP subsidy.”

“Thanks to a partnership with My Budget Fitness, we can enable the first-time buyer with a low, thin, or bad credit score to receive assistance to improve his or her credit score and get back to apply for finance as soon as the credit score is strong and healthy,” says de Waal.

“This service has already been made available since 2017 to a leading financial institution that specialise in unsecured lending, as assistance for their own employees.”

RENT TO OWN & INSTALMENT SALES

“We are elated that the rent to own concept and instalment sales were also added in the National Housing Code,” says de Waal.

The Rent2buy programme was developed in 2007 and is geared towards helping first-time buyers to get their foot in the door to own their own homes. A year or two later, instalment sales were also added to aid buyers to get their foot in the door to own their own properties.

Private partnerships were established with property development companies such as Sinai Property Developers and Communicare to aid first time buyers to own their own home, and more property development companies are expected to follow and make available their stock to these types of innovative property solutions.

“We already have access to non-banking finance available for buyers who struggle to convince a traditional bank to grant them a home loan,” says de Waal.

Enquires how to qualify for alternative finance can be directed online – click here.

WHAT CHANGED?– THE NEW DE-LINKED FLISP POLICY AS FROM 1 APRIL 2022

As from 1 April you no longer need a finance approval from one of the major financial institutions, explains Anele Matakane of MDW INC property & home finance services.

Now, a buyer can qualify for a first-time buyer FLISP subsidy if they have financial assistance to buy a property in the form of:

  • the beneficiary’s pension/provident fund loan,
  • a co-operative or community-based savings scheme, i.e. stokvel,
  • the Government Employees Housing Scheme,
  • any other Employer-Assisted Housing Scheme,
  • an unsecured loan,
  • an Instalment Sale Agreement or Rent-to-own Agreement.

“Our mortgage origination license with one of the largest mortgage origination companies provides financial assistance to up to eight traditional home loan lenders,” says Matakane.

This also includes non-mortgage finance which is a unique offering to the industry.  All the property finance solutions are under one roof.

“For non-finance linked applications, we have taken hands with 4.Me.Tech to provide a one-stop-shop service to assist buyers with every type of finance solution available, all such types of finance that are now available with the National Housing Code.”

WHAT ABOUT LATE APPLICATIONS OR EXISTING HOME OWNERS?

Unfortunately, many first-time buyers did not know about the opportunity to apply for a FLISP subsidy and never applied. However, this may now change with the new policy as retrospective applications may be considered as soon as the new guidelines are made available.

To add your name on a list to be advised when the retrospective policy is introduced, click here to add your name and details.

SUBSIDY CALCULATOR

To check how much subsidy you may be able to qualify for – click here

ENDS 1732 words

For any queries please contact meyer@mdwinc.co.za

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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 legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

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