Getting finance to build your dream home

Private Property South Africa
Private Property Reporter

Nedbank's Tim Akinnusi gives advice on how banks go about providing loans to those wanting to build their own home.


Reporter: Building a new home can be the most rewarding experience for anyone. You're able to customise your own taste and style. This can be an exciting project, as you're able to design your own house and add design elements that are specific to you. Instead of acquiring someone else's taste, which comes with buying an already existing home. The big question is the financing side of building. How do banks finance someone who's looking to build? We are joined by Tim Akinnusi, head of sales and client management at Nedbank home loans. Welcome back, Tim, lovely to have you with us again.

Tim: Thank you very much. So building your own home sounds like such a daunting experience, especially the finance side of it for most people. How do banks finance somebody who's choosing to build a home instead of buying an existing one?

Well, the good news is that we do finance some homes that are being built from scratch. So if you're in the market and looking to build your own place, what we do is, we offer a building loan package, in which comprised of two components. One would be the finance of the land, as well as the top structure. It's a little bit different to when you are applying for a bond for an existing place. It'll be much more involved. You would still need to have the affordability. You would still need to have a deposit. But go a little further beyond that, and actually find the land, find an architect, and find a reputable builder that can help you build this place. I think, for me, the building process is quite a journey. It is a labour of love. It is heavily involved. You need to really make sure that you're up for it, because it's quite a long process involved in it. What customers need to understand is part of this whole process is that we will walk with you as a bank to make sure that we evaluate the house at each phase, as well as provide you funding to continue to build as you go along.

And are there specific conditions or requirements that the bank needs from an individual who's deciding to go for a building loan instead?

Well, certainly. What we would require from you is-- along with your application, we'd require for you to have found an architect, have a plan. It doesn't have to be an approved plan, it could be a draft plan for what you're looking to build. You'd also have to have a registered builder, somebody who's registered with the NHBRC. You'd have to have an engineer, who would make sure that the structural integrity of the house is going to be in place. As well as a building contract. So you'd need a contract with your builder, agree costs on specific items, and have that signed. And with that in place, we can then proceed to fund you as you go along through the building process.

It sounds like there's so much to consider. Any other advice you have for people deciding to build their own homes?

The first advice I would give to people looking to build is make sure you have the right amount of commitment and time. Like I said, it's not a three-week process or three-month process. In most cases, it could be as much as a year to 18 months. So you would need to make sure that you understand exactly what you want and also be decisive, in terms of how you make decisions about key aspects of what you want to build, etc. Because if you are not, you end up going through a process where there's a lot of wastage of time, material, and those things could very quickly escalate. The last thing you want is to find yourself with a building project that you run out of funding for, which is one of the common mistakes that people actually make. So I would suggest that finding the right architect would be the appropriate thing because he would be able to design a place for you that is functional. A place that incorporates a lot of green and sustainable living-type features into it. Those are key things that you want for any place. Along with that, you would just need to make sure you have the right time and dedication towards a project. The end result should be something that would enhance the value of the place, once you follow those steps. The value of the place should be a good one in future.

It sounds like you also need nerves of steel?

Absolutely. You absolutely will go through some difficult periods, where you feel like you're not going to make it. You just can't see this thing being done. But you really just need to stick to your budget. Stick to the plan, be involved, make sure that your architect, and your builder, and yourself commit to specific deadlines and specific requirements, and you should be fine.


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