In the wake of a global record holiday season online buying spree, South African property is the latest beneficiary of the rush towards cyber shopping. Saul Geffen, managing director of MortgageSA, the country’s leading home loan facilitator says: “We have seen a marked increase in South Africans living abroad applying for home financing through the MortgageSA website and through our call centres.
“Internationally, people have become very comfortable with buying things online through greater website security and the greater convenience of keystrokes over traffic jams and crowded shops. And with the many excellent property websites showcasing SA property, increasing numbers of expats are comfortable buying property this way then come to us for financing.”
Geffen says the MortgageSA website is hosted on over 320 websites including being hosted on most major property websites.
Killing two birds with one stone
“Websites allow a property buyer to kill two birds with one stone; search for property and use online tools to calculate costs and affordability. Our marketing research shows that up to 25 percent of our web applicants are seeking our home loan application website via property websites.”
Geffen notes that MortgageSA receives dozens of enquiries daily – typically from South Africans in London who plan to come back to South Africa and settle down. Most buy in Cape Town and Johannesburg and increasingly, Durban.
Minimise the home loan process
“Expats are increasingly researching property and finance options via websites from overseas. They research their financial options very carefully and we provide them with all the information they need through our website and home loan calculator wizards. They come to companies like MortgageSA because they want to get a quick answer and minimise the hassle of the home loan process when applying through banks from afar.”
Expats can typically secure up to 80 to 100 percent financing on a property even though they work overseas.
Expats finding great deals on Overseas Property
“The client will provide us with their gross income earned overseas and we will do the calculation. Banks would typically lend an amount based on what the expat could earn in South Africa, which is often lower than what they would earn abroad.
A good example of this is the nursing profession. Nurses earn much more in Dubai than in SA so banks want to feel assured that if expats return, they will be able to service the bond repayments from their local income. We work with all the major banks and are normally able to find a great deal for the expat.”
150 000 home loans secured
Geffen says MortgageSA’s is successfully attracting expats because their website is easily accessible through major search engines like Google and is the only multilender mortgage application website in SA supported by a national call centre.
“We have now secured over 150 000 home loans for homebuyers and now a lot of our business comes from referrals from satisfied customers.”
“As we have a very well resourced call centre with specialised property finance consultants offering personalised service via telephone and on e- mail, we are able to build strong relationships internationally.”