Purchasing your first home is an exciting milestone but can also be a little daunting, especially when securing the necessary finance.

In South Africa, First Home Finance (formerly known as FLISP) is designed to make homeownership more accessible for first-time buyers or people who are looking to build their homes on an affordable basis.

This comprehensive guide is here to walk you through the intricacies of First Home Finance in South Africa.

We’ll provide you with the knowledge you need to make informed decisions on your journey to owning your first home.


Understanding First Home Finance

First Home Finance is a government program that helps first-time homebuyers with low to moderate incomes. It provides a subsidy that can be used to reduce the debt of the home loan, making monthly repayments more affordable.

This subsidy is a real game-changer for many South Africans who might otherwise struggle to secure homeownership!

The program helps individuals and families achieve the dream of purchasing their own homes, which might otherwise seem out of reach due to high property prices and associated costs. Thanks to the subsidy, the financial barriers to entry are lowered, making it easier for more people to achieve their goal of homeownership.

The subsidy amount is calculated based on the applicant’s household gross income, ensuring that those who need the most help receive adequate support. This is great news for individuals and families earning between R3,501 and R22,000 per month, who can now benefit from the program and enjoy a critical financial bridge to homeownership.

In addition to making home loans more affordable, First Home Finance also fosters economic stability and community development by encouraging homeownership among South Africans. Homeownership is a wonderful thing! It provides a stable living environment and contributes to long-term financial security and wealth building.

What’s more, the program is designed to be flexible, so you can use the subsidy in whatever way suits your needs best. You can use it as a down payment to secure a loan, reduce the overall loan amount, or cover the often-overlooked transfer and registration costs.

Whatever works best for you! This flexibility is really important because it helps to support first-time homebuyers in different financial situations all over the country. Overall, First Home Finance is a really useful tool that helps to make homeownership a more attainable and sustainable goal for many South Africans.

To qualify for First Home Finance, you must meet specific criteria:

  • First-time homebuyer: you must be a first-time homebuyer, which means you should not have owned a property before as checked from the Deeds Register.
  • Income bracket: your household income must fall between R3,501 and R22,000 per month.
  • South African citizen: you must be a South African citizen or hold permanent residency with a valid permit.
  • Age: Applicants must be over 18 years old.
  • Loan approval: you must have an approved home loan from a NCR registered bank or non-bank lenders. The subsidy can reduce the principal loan amount, making monthly repayments lower.
  • Have never benefited from a Government Housing Subsidy Scheme (GEHS) before

Transfer and Registration costs

The subsidy can also help with the costs of transferring and registering the property. These costs can be quite substantial, so it’s great that the subsidy covers them.

It also covers the registration fees required to record the new ownership with the Deeds Office. This process ensures that the buyer is recognized as the legal owner of the property, which is important.

Home Loan Application

Once you’ve been pre-qualified, it’s time to apply for a home loan from a recognized financial institution. Just make sure you have all the necessary documentation, including proof of income, identification, and your pre-qualification certificate.

They need to have access to your proof of income, like your recent payslips and bank statements. They also need to have access to your ID, like a valid South African ID or passport, so they can confirm your identity and residency status.

Additionally, you may need to provide some extra documents, like your employment history, tax returns, and details of any existing debts.

These documents help the lender get a good understanding of your financial situation. It’s really helpful to know your credit score, as it can affect the loan terms.

It’s always a good idea to shop around and compare offers from different lenders to find the best deal for you! Just a heads-up: each lender may have different interest rates and loan terms.

Once you’ve submitted your application, the lender will take a look at your financial information and assess the property. If everything goes well, you’ll get a formal loan offer in the mail.

Once you’ve reviewed the terms and you’re happy with them, you can accept the offer to proceed with purchasing your home.

Subsidy Application

Once you’ve secured a home loan, you can apply for the First Home Finance subsidy.

Submit your application to the National Housing Finance Corporation (NHFC) or a designated agent, along with the required documents:

  • Home loan approval letter: you must provide proof of your approved home loan.
  • The sale agreement: the agreement of sale for the property you wish to purchase.
  • You must provide a valid ID or passport and a permanent residence certificate (if applicable).
  • Verification of income: you must provide recent payslips and bank statements.

Approval and disbursement

Once your application is approved, the subsidy amount will be disbursed directly to your home loan account or the seller’s account, depending on the arrangement.

This process reduces the overall loan amount and, consequently, your monthly repayments.

Benefits of First Home Finance

First Home Finance makes homeownership more accessible for low to moderate-income earners. The program provides a subsidy to help reduce the financial burden associated with purchasing a home.


The subsidy reduces the principal loan amount, which means you pay less money each month. This is crucial to ensuring sustainable homeownership.


First Home Finance offers unparalleled flexibility in how the subsidy can be used. The program adapts to your specific financial needs. Whether it’s for a deposit, reducing the loan amount, or covering transfer costs, the program will help you.

Support for economic growth

First Home Finance supports economic growth and stability by facilitating homeownership.

There is no doubt that homeownership is associated with increased economic activity and improved living standards.

Potential challenges

Limited awareness: many potential homeowners are unaware of First Home Finance, despite its benefits. It is crucial to increase awareness and understanding of the program to maximize its impact.

Administrative hurdles: the application process is complex and time-consuming. Applicants may face challenges in gathering the required documentation and navigating the approval process.

Financial discipline: while the subsidy makes homeownership more affordable, it is essential to maintain financial discipline. Homeowners must budget for maintenance, utilities, and other ongoing expenses to ensure sustainable homeownership.

Tips for First-Time homebuyers

Educate yourself

You must take the time to learn about the home-buying process, including the financial and legal aspects. Knowing what to expect will help you navigate the process with confidence.

Budget wisely

Create a realistic budget that includes all your monthly expenses, including your home loan repayments, groceries, insurance, and utilities.

Seek professional advice

Consult with financial advisors, real estate agents, and legal professionals. Make informed decisions. Their expertise will provide valuable insights and help you avoid common pitfalls.

Be patient

Buying your first home is a lengthy process that can be stressful. Patience and perseverance are essential to successfully navigating the journey to homeownership.

So, is it worth it?

First Home Finance is a fantastic resource for first-time homebuyers in South Africa. It offers financial assistance and makes homeownership more accessible.

By understanding the eligibility criteria, application process, and benefits, you can make the most of this program.

With careful planning, financial discipline, and professional advice, you can turn the dream of owning your first home into a reality.

Embrace the journey, and soon you’ll be unlocking the door to your very own home!