The comments in the news are enough to make you think saving a deposit for your first home is mission impossible. Not true!
So, rather than just encouraging you to stop buying #SmashedAvo breakfasts to save your deposit, we’ve put together some practical tips to get your savings account over the finish line. We may even be able to tell you about some recent changes to the first home owner grant and stamp duty that could help, depending on where you are looking to buy. With a solid budget, a few lifestyle tweaks and some help from us to determine how much of a deposit you’ll actually need, you could soon be attending open home inspections looking for a fantastic new pad!
Tip #1: Create a budget
Our first tip is to have a savings plan and stick to it. Create a budget, separating your ‘needs’ from your ‘wants’, and work out how much you can put aside every week to reach your goal. Remember, lenders will want to see a solid savings history and depending on the type of property you intend to buy, this could be just as important as the size of your deposit.
It’s important to include ‘fun’ money in your budget, but if you’re serious about saving up a deposit you may have to consider cutting back on extras. There are plenty of great tools to help you get started, such as the TrackMySPEND app, whereby you can nominate a spending limit and track your progress, or the Pocketbook app, which connects to your bank and automatically tracks your income and expenses. Once you get going, you’ll find it very satisfying to watch your nest egg grow. Chat to us and we’ll help you set up an effective budget.
Tip #2: Change your spending habits
Try to be proactive about saving. For example, take lunch to work rather than eating out, or challenge yourself to stay fit by running or exercising at home rather than spending money on a gym membership. Need entertainment? Borrow books or DVDs from your local library or have friends over for a potluck dinner. Need clothes? Organise a clothes swap party or find a bargain at the nearest op shop. Need tools? Ask your parents if you can borrow theirs. Shopping around can also help you save, so whether you’re buying groceries or electricity, compare prices and make a point of finding the cheapest option – it can be fun!
Tip #3: Become a “super” saver
As of July 1, aspiring first-home buyers will be able to make up to $15,000 of voluntary contributions into super each year, or $30,000 in total, to put towards a deposit and benefit from the tax breaks. Talk to us and we’ll explain the changes.
If this is not the option for you, there are other ways to maximise your savings. You could open a term deposit or a high-interest savings account that rewards you for depositing money and not taking it out. You may even consider investing in shares to grow your savings. It’s a good idea to talk to a financial planner about how you can make your money work harder for you. Chat to us and we can refer you to a reliable professional.
Tip #4: Speak to us now, even if you don’t think you’re ready to buy
We can help you to create a budget and explain any financial assistance that’s available. Recently, there have been changes to stamp duty concessions and exemptions for first-home owners in some states, as well as to the First Home Owner Grant (FHOG), so check in with us to see what you’re entitled to. Maybe you won’t need the 20% deposit – ask us about other options like paying Lenders’ Mortgage Insurance to secure a home loan with a smaller deposit, or asking a family member to use their equity as security for your loan and go guarantor. We can also explain how to check and tidy up your credit report, which lenders will want to see when assessing your home loan application.
Tip #5: Consider property options that may require a smaller deposit
Your first home may not necessarily be like your mum and dad’s place – most people have to start small and work their way up the property ladder and that’s OK. To break into the market, you may have to consider less expensive properties such as apartments or renovators’ dreams. How much deposit you’ll need will depend on what you want to buy and your financial circumstances, so talk to us and we’ll help you review all of your options.
As your mortgage broker, we can help you with everything from saving the deposit, to finding a suitable loan, given your personal financial circumstances and goals. We may even be able to help you find the right area and property. Please give us a call today – we’d love to hear from you. And if you do find yourself feeling disheartened, remember the words of the great Nelson Mandela, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”