Before you start trawling the property listings, take a moment to jot down your motivations. Being clear and specific on the essentials will give you a strong starting point when it comes to finding the home of your dreams.
What makes you want to buy a property?
What areas are you interested in?
What are your non-negotiables for a home?
Try making a ‘must-have/nice-to-have’ list to get clarity on exactly what it is you’re looking for. If you can, taking the next step to rank those items will help you save even more time and zero in on the best homes for you.
Now is also a good time to have a look online and figure out the ballpark budget you’ll need for properties that match your criteria in the areas you want to live.
Now that you’re clear on what you want from your first home, it’s time to figure out how much you can afford to borrow and repay.
It can be easy for first home buyers to put all their focus into the deposit. While this is definitely important, you also need to make sure your budget takes into account the ongoing cost of a loan.
As a general guide, repayments on your new home shouldn’t be more than 30% of your take-home salary. And to avoid financial pressure, your home should cost no more than 3 to 5 times your household income.
Here are some questions to think about:
What is your salary now and is it likely to change in the future?
Do you have any other debts to repay on a regular basis?
How will your credit score affect your borrowing options?
What are your expenses outside of home ownership?
How would increasing or decreasing repayments impact you?
Remember, as a first home buyer, you can also access a range of government initiatives to help get you into your first place.
By now you should know what you want, and have an idea of what you can afford. The next step is aligning the two: figuring out how much you need to have saved in order to buy and maintain a property that meets your needs.
This can feel like an impossible balancing act, and you will have to make some compromises. But remember – your first home doesn’t have to be your final home. And there are a range of ways to bring you closer to your home ownership dreams.
Tackle your debt first
Set a realistic budget and stick to it
Build a savings habit with automatic transfers
Boost your savings with a high interest savings account
Once you’ve got your finances sorted, the real work begins. The first step in this next phase of your home buying journey is getting pre-approval.
So, what is pre-approval? It’s a written letter from a bank that states they are willing, in principle, to lend you a certain amount of money towards buying a home. Getting pre-approval is a good way to double check your budget, and will give you the confidence to act quickly when you find the home of your dreams.
To start, do some research into the kind of home loan and features you want, then approach a lender who you think could meet your needs. Then you’ll need to get a bit of information together so they can assess your application:
What type of properties you’re looking at
Where you’re looking to buy
The amount you’re looking to borrow
Your salary and income
Your general expenses (food, bills, rent, etc.)
Your assets (cars, shares, etc.)
Your debit (personal loans, credit cards, etc.)
Talk it through with our team
We’re honest, transparent and fair. Get in touch for some no-nonsense information.
You’ve found a home you like. It ticks all your boxes (or most of them) and it’s in your price range. If you’re confident that this is the home for you, and all the inspections check out, it’s time to get down to business.
The process will be a little different depending on whether you’re buying at auction or making a private offer.
Buying at auction While auctions can be intense and stressful, they’re an open and competitive way of determining a property’s value.
Buying under offer Making a private offer gives you more time to consider your options as you negotiate the terms and price with the seller.
Whatever way you go, with any luck you’ll be signing a contract for your very first home very soon!
After you’ve paid the deposit and purchased your home, it’s time to sort out your home loan.
You’ll likely have pre-approval from a bank already, but that doesn’t mean you’re locked in. Depending on your situation, chances are you still have some flexibility to discuss the features of your loan, and potentially shop around.
Here are some things to think about when deciding on what home loan would work for you:
Do you want a fixed or variable rate? A fixed loan can give you confidence about repayment amounts, while variable rate loans can have more flexible features – or consider a split loan, which can be the best of both.
Do you want offset or redraw facilities? Keeping money in a linked offset account can help you save on interest. Meanwhile, a loan with redraw facilities can give you access to any extra repayments you’ve made.
Will you make principal and/or interest payments? It’s generally better to repay both your interest and the principal. But if you’re buying an investment or need a little more short-term flexibility, you can choose interest-only repayments.
How often do you want to repay? The ability to make weekly or fortnightly repayments can help you save on interest long-term. But be careful, some loans will charge an extra fee for this flexibility.
What about extra repayments? Making additional repayments is one way to reduce the interest you pay and the life of your loan – however some home loans limit the amount of extra repayments you can make.
Now that the money stuff is mostly taken care of, it’s time to focus on settlement logistics. While you’re sorting out your loan, you’ll also be working with your conveyancer to make sure everything is ready for the official handover.
As you near your settlement date, you’ll need to do a pre-settlement inspection. This is your chance to do a walkthrough of the property and make sure everything is as agreed in your contact. You should also organise for your utilities to be connected in time for when you move in.
And that leads us, finally, to settlement day. Your conveyancer and lender will meet with the seller’s team to sort out the financials and legal documents. Then you’ll meet up with the agent for the keys for your very own home!
^ Interest rate is only available to owner-occupied loans on liteBlue and myBlue principal and interest repayments with less than or equal to 60% Loan to Value Ratio (LVR). Interest rates for investment loan purposes, interest only loans and other applicable LVR tiers will differ.
^^ Comparison rate based on a secured loan of $150,000 over 25 years. WARNING: This comparison rate is true only for the examples given and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees and other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate. Costs such as redraw fees or early repayment fees, and cost savings such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan.