Going from tenant to homeowner – all you need to know

Before you fulfil your dream of owning a home, here's everything you need to know to prepare yourself for the transition

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of finally owning a home you can legitimately call your own, so much so that some of the long-term costs associated with being a homeowner are often overlooked.

Other than the obvious processes of applying for a home loan and the registration, there are a few other expenses and considerations to be aware of.

Dr Simphiwe Madikizela, head of Special Projects at FNB Housing Finance, tells us about the factors that you need to take into account.

Future needs

When it comes to buying a home, Dr Madikizela says it’s important to keep your long-term goals in mind and not base your decision on current circumstances.

READ MORE: Tips for homeowners to avoid getting into more debt

For example, a two-bedroom house may be perfect for newlyweds, but if you’re planning on having children one day, that choice of home could soon be too small as the family expands.


Consider where your prospective house is located.

The further away you are from town and central areas such as where your place of work is and school, the more likely you are to end up spending more money on commuting and more time on the roads.

You might save a bit monthly on your bond, but the saving could fall away with the additional petrol and transportation costs.

Stand-alone or sectional title

One of the cons of property ownership is the hidden cost that comes in the form of rates and taxes.

If you’re renting, you’re not responsible for the maintenance and general up-keep of the house, but when you own a home you will be.

You’ll also have to pay a monthly fixed cost for levies, rates and taxes, over and above your bond repayment.

Buying an old house

Investing in an old house has its pros as they tend to be spacious, but Dr Madikizela says a factor that is often underestimated by homebuyers is the cost of fixing the house up.

READ MORE: How to ease the financial strain of becoming a new homeowner

Make sure to have the property inspected by experts who will be able to detect any defects that may be apparent only when you move in.

Neighbourhood safety

Do your homework before you settle on a suburb to commence your search.

Dr Madikizela advises that you research crime statistics in the area first. If you travel often for business, you’ll want to know whether the area is safe enough for you to leave your house unattended for a period of time.

“When moving from renting to buying, it’s advisable to save at least six months of your home loan and monthly expenses, even if your job is not under threat,” he advises. “This will create a good safety net and give you peace of mind should anything go wrong.”