How to save for your first home

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Saving for your first home can seem like an enormous task. However, there are a number of services, tools and grants that are designed to make it easier to enter the property market. Of course, the most important thing is to make sure your finances are in order and to get started on a savings plan so that you can make the initial deposit.

How much can I borrow?

Figuring out how much you can borrow requires an honest assessment of what you can safely manage to repay over the length of your mortgage. Use our calculator to help you determine how much you can borrow. The calculator takes into account your income, your living expenses, your credit card limits and any dependants or debt you may have.

Put money towards your home deposit first

Do I need a 20% deposit to buy a home?

If you are going to borrow more than 80% of the property’s value, you will likely be charged Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI). This cost varies depending on your loan amount and percentage of the property value you borrow.

Saving tips for first home buyers

  • Prepare a budget and stick to it. Avoid spending on non-essential items and impulse purchases, as this type of spending delays your dream of owning your own home
  • Put money towards your home deposit first. Open a separate bank account, ideally a high-earning savings account, and set-up an automatic transfer for every pay day, and make top-ups whenever possible
  • Pay off your credit cards and any personal loans or hire purchase agreements. Reducing or eliminating these debts will help you increase your borrowing power
  • Record and analyse your expenditure over a month to reveal opportunities for savings. Write down everything, including miscellaneous items, such as coffees, taxis, presents and meals out. These everyday extras can add up over time. For instance, two takeaway coffees a day can cost up to $200 a month; money that could be put towards saving for a deposit for your first home
  • Look around for deals. These can be available from many service providers, from switching supermarkets to bundling all your insurance with just one insurer.

The extra costs everyone forgets about

When it comes time to making an offer on a property and moving, there are a number of additional costs that frequently get forgotten about. Some of the fees to look out for are building inspection fees, pest inspections, solicitor/conveyance fees, loan application and property valuation fees, as well as stamp duty.

Moving costs can also add up, such as furniture removal, cleaning, insurance for building and contents, electricity, telephone and internet, etc. See our breakdown of the most overlooked costs so that you don’t get caught out.