Buying a house is like finding the perfect pair of shoes. For some, going inside the shop, feeling the shoe and walking around the shop is more preferable while others would rather open their laptops, browse online and pick the best pair to be delivered to their home.

Finding a place that suits all your needs – whether you first saw it online on Private Property or through an estate agent – requires the same level of care and passion as getting Louboutins. As the saying goes in Russia: ‘Don’t buy the house, buy the neighbourhood’. Whether you’re a singleton looking for a flat in a trendy neighbourhood or a young family in search of a children and pet friendly environment, the general rule of thumb is that if you buy in an area that is close to day-to-day amenities such as shopping malls, schools or hospitals, you’re making a good investment. Overlooking these things may result in your property depreciating over time.

Once you’ve found your dream house, designing it so it’s not only functional but also comfortable to live in and more importantly, marketable in case you decide to put it on the market in future.

‘Having a set budget is key for a homeowner, particularly if you plan on buying a home and renovating it, such costs have been known to skyrocket, ask anyone who’s dealt with a builder,’ says Tim Akinnusi, Head of Sales and Client Management at Nedbank Home Loans, to the aspiring 12 designers during their first team challenge on Win A Home:

Think about the challenge in terms of an investment budget as opposed to an expense budget because that’ll help you focus on your return on investment for future.

Win a Home | Elle Decoration South Africa
Sifiso, Jacoline and Wanga |  Win a Home designer contestants

The contestants, ranging from a former accountant to a carpenter, were advised by Tim to consider crucial design elements such as fabrics, paint, textiles and accessories when working with their R30 000 team challenge budget for designing a bedroom.

While many of us may not have the luxury of design mentors and decor professionals like the contestants do on the show, Tim’s advice is universal.

When looking for a home loan, it’s best to speak to your bank first. A good banking partner will guide you in terms of figuring how much you can afford on a monthly basis, while also pointing out other blind spots you may have missed.

Nedbank has developed a step-by-step Buyer’s Guide to help equip homeowners with all the necessary tools needed to make an informed decision. In addition, the ‘Instant Bond Indicator’, a new online offering provides clients with an instant indication of the home loan amount they could qualify for – in less than three minutes. This is another way Nedbank makes the things that really matter with clients happen.

Catch SA’s favourite décor and design show, Win A Home, every Friday at 19:30 on SABC3.