5 steps to applying for your first home loan

When you buy property for the first time and apply for a home loan, you’re bound to be anxious and worried about the process. There are so many things to think about. What documents do you need? How long does it take? What extra costs are involved?

All these questions can leave you feeling discouraged. Here are 5 steps to help you start the process with confidence:

Step 1: Can you afford it?

Before you start a home loan application, you need to figure out what you can afford. Take a good look at your finances to see if you can afford a home loan on top of your current expenses. You can check this by using our affordability calculator as a guide. Also remember to pay your credit card (or any other accounts) on time to ensure you keep a good credit record. You can get a free credit check online using the Nedbank Money app.

Step 2: Finding a home

You need to have a property in mind when you apply for a home loan, so the bank can assess your loan application and ensure the property you want to buy is worth the amount you need a loan for. Speak to an estate agent and look at properties for sale before you apply for a loan. Keep in mind that looks can be deceiving. If you see something you like online, make an appointment for a viewing.

Step 3: Submitting your documents

Now that you know what you can afford and that your credit record is in order, you can start your application. When applying for a home loan you will need these documents:

  • Your valid South African identity document or card.
  • Your latest payslip or other proof of income.
  • Proof of income (such as your last 3 months bank statements).
  • An offer to purchase (also known as a sales agreement).

Note: If there is more than one applicant, you will each need to submit your own documents.   

Step 4: Waiting for the outcome

The home loan approval process may be completed within 1-2 days. It is important to ensure that all the required documents have been submitted for each applicant to avoid delays. 

Step 5: Legal transfer

Once your home loan has been approved, the process of having the property registered in your name is next, and you’ll have to pay transfer fees. This could be quite expensive, so remember to make provision for this, as an amount to cover transfer fees may not be included in your home loan. Before you sign your application, find out if transfer fees will be included in your loan or not.


Did you know that on average, Nedbank pays out around R1.8 million a month in cash back on home loans? In 2023, we paid out more than R20 million in cash back on home loans. For an affordable home loan tailored to your circumstances and value-added extras like up to R20,000 cash back and a 50% discount on your attorney bond registration fees, choose the bank that’s best for your money.