First thing's first. Do your research!
With a range of government incentives and a little help from us too, it may be time to look at how you can start turning those thoughts into reality.
A number of Australian State governments offer first home owner grants, while others offer rebates to reduce stamp duty, both of which can be very handy in making your house purchase more affordable.
Other useful sources of help are banks and financial institutions. Believe it or not, some of them (including us ) genuinely want to help their customers as much as they can.
Our lenders can help you calculate how much you can afford to borrow (so your repayments don’t put you under pressure), explain the different type of home loans and interest rates and generally guide you through the whole home loan process.
Understand what you can afford
A realistic understanding of where and what you can afford to buy is a great place to start.
Although you might not be able to buy your first home in your dream location, a starter home or apartment is a fantastic way to build equity in a property that you can then upgrade in future as your lifestyle needs change.
Another option is ‘rentvesting’, where you buy the investment property to get a foothold in the market, but keep renting yourself where you want to live (partially funded by the rent you are receiving from your investment).
Think outside the square
There are plenty of opportunities to enter the property market outside the big cities as regional areas continue to grow, develop and increasingly offer employment, activities and other experiences that can be found in Australia’s major capitals.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, after many years of plummeting numbers there has been a recent surge in first home buyer activity.
Combined with more stable house prices and historically low interest rates, this is leading more people to take the plunge and make the shift from renting to home ownership – and it’s not all happening in the capital cities.
First home buyers are looking and buying in cities like Bendigo, Ballarat, Geelong, Newcastle and Wollongong - which are all appealing for their lifestyle and proximity to Melbourne and Sydney.
Build your deposit
A budget will give you a good idea of money coming in and money going out, so you’ll then have a much better handle on the amount you can regularly set aside for your deposit.
The bigger your deposit, the less you’ll need to borrow and the lower your mortgage repayments will be… and that’s a good thing.
It’s also a good thing if you can minimise or even eliminate other debts, such as credit cards, car loans or personal loans.
These loans tend to have higher interest rates and the repayments will eat into funds you could otherwise be using for your home deposit.
And don’t underestimate how much cash you can save on the little everyday things.
It’s amazing how savings add up when you make even small changes to your regular spending patterns – without having to become a hermit! And you can then divert those savings into your deposit.
Work out what's really important to you
It’s easy to fall in love with a home at first sight. But doing some solid research about locations you prefer, house styles you like and prices you can afford will help ensure your head and your heart come up with the best decision together.
There’s also a lot to be said for doing extra homework on your loan calculations, and being aware of all possible costs.
Your lender will help you understand potential loan repayments, future interest savings and associated bank costs, but using a bank’s online calculator can help you confirm and become more familiar with these figures yourself.
And try to avoid any unexpected financial surprises – the best way to do this is to be aware of the ‘less obvious’ costs.
Charges such as loan application fees, legal fees, mortgage insurance, home and contents insurance and stamp duty can sneak up on you if you don’t factor them in from the start.
Buying your first home is an exciting time and there’s lots to look forward to.
If you keep in mind these tips, navigating your journey to officially becoming a home owner should be a whole lot easier.
At Bendigo Bank we have your best interests at heart. If you're looking to make a move in the property market find out how the better big bank can back you. Find out more.