How the bank will assess your bond application

Albertus van Staden, Head of Credit at FNB Housing Finance, says in order to give yourself the best shot at being granted a loan for your dream home, it is important to understand what the bank uses to assess your affordability.

“One of the major reasons that a home loan application is declined is because the potential homeowner unable to afford the monthly repayments,” he says.

While there are online tools that will give you an indication of what you will be granted, Van Staden says these are estimates. In order to determine a final bond amount the bank will use your income, and expenses to perform an affordability assessment.

  1. Your income

The first port of call is to determine your income, says Van Staden.

Typically an income is received through a monthly salary, however, salaries can vary according to the work and payment structures of individuals, he says.

The bank also considers other forms of income that are derived from investments such as rental income on other properties.

“We will base the loan amount on the expected monthly income you receive,” says van Staden.

“This means that for a person with a fixed monthly salary, meaning the ‘take home’ pay is the same every month, the bank may take this entire amount into consideration.”

However, he says if you are a commission earner, or receive income on an irregular basis such as overtime, they will use the average income over the last few months, with a minimum of three months.

“Some lenders prefer to look at an even longer period as income can sometimes be seasonal or exclude income such as overtime, as this is not guaranteed every month.”

  1. Your expenses

After ascertaining your income, the bank will consider your expenses.

“Taking just your income into account is not an accurate assessment of your affordability, as there are expenses that will have to be maintained along with your bond repayments,” says Van Staden.

There are three different types of expenses that will need to be included in your application: credit, living and additional expenses.

Credit expenses are monthly instalments for debt obligations such as credit card or car repayments.

Living expenses are categorised as essential expenses. These are expenses that you can’t live without, such as transport, food, education, medical and electricity and water, to name a few.

Finally, additional expenses are those that are not vital for everyday living, such as satellite TV, airtime or assurance premiums.

“It is vital to be honest when declaring true income and expenses. We all want to own that dream house, but it’s worse to see that same house being repossessed due to defaults on the monthly repayments,” says Van Staden.