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 pot luck 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, 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.”5 Tips for saving a deposit for your first home

There’s something thrilling about building your very own, brand spanking new home!

Perhaps it’s the knowledge that everything will be fresh and new, or the freedom that comes with being able to design the property to suit your own tastes and lifestyle needs. Always dreamed of having a lap pool? Why not! Like the idea of a home studio? Let’s make it happen!

When building your own home, there’s a new chapter to begin, new adventures to be had and new memories to make. So, whether you’re planning on doing the building yourself, or you’re purchasing off-the-plan, talk with us now about securing the right finance!

Building your own home

When you build a new home, the right loan could potentially help you save a lot of money on interest. For example, a construction loan allows you to borrow in stages, while your home is being built. Rather than providing the full loan amount at once, the lender breaks the loan down into “progress draws”, and pays these to the builder in stages throughout the construction process. This arrangement means you only have to pay interest on the loan amount you have actually used.

Your lender will usually require council-approved plans and a fixed-price building contract before they will approve a construction loan. The lender’s valuation expert will use these to help estimate the on-completion value of the property, and the lender will then assess the final loan application on whatever is less – the land price and cost of construction, or the on-completion value.

The advantages of construction loans

With construction loans, you only pay interest on what you’ve actually drawn down, not the maximum loan amount you’ve signed up for. What’s more, loan repayments are usually interest-only during construction.

As each phase of construction is completed, the lender’s valuation expert usually inspects the building progress on behalf of the lender and then authorises the next draw down on your loan to pay to the builder. Then at the end of the construction process, you can choose the type of loan you’d like to use moving forward – this could be a fixed rate loan, a variable rate loan, or another type of loan, depending on your circumstances and objectives. (So do talk to us about your options before you decide.)

Perhaps the biggest benefit of a construction loan is the way your builder is paid. Construction loans help to give you a level of protection, because cash is not paid to the builder until the work is completed and inspected at each stage. This can often help to prevent construction falling behind schedule, or potentially aid in early detection if there are any issues with the build or the quality of work.

Some lenders charge a slightly higher interest rate for construction loans, so it pays to ask us to shop around amongst lenders. Talk to us and we’ll ensure you have the right kind of construction loan for your particular needs and are fully aware of exactly how much it will cost. If necessary, we may advise you to use another loan alternative, like setting up a line of credit facility, for example.

Buying off-the-plan

Buying off-the-plan is a term used to describe buying a home from a developer before it has been built. If you’re buying property off-the-plan, you’ll only have to pay the deposit up front. However, organising your finances may not be quite as straight forward as with purchasing an established home, as there is usually a considerable period of time between paying your deposit and final loan settlement. You will also need to get advice from a solicitor regarding the details in the contract for your off-the-plan home purchase, to make sure you and the developer are on the same page regarding what the price includes before you sign the contract.

As your mortgage broker, we are here to explain the process of buying off-the-plan, help you line up your professional team, and help you find the most suitable loan for your needs and objectives. We can also help you arrange your deposit, whether it’s in the form of a bank guarantee, deposit bond or cash, and oversee the payment process for you. It’s also very important to organise conditional loan approval (finance in principle) with your chosen lender before construction of your off-the-plan property begins, so do give us a call before you sign on the dotted line.

Talk with us about finance before you get started!

There are many important things to consider when buying off-the-plan, or building your own home. For example, once the property is built, most lenders will require a valuation on the finished product before approving your final loan and proceeding to settlement. If a problem arises, such as the value of the completed home is less than you anticipated, construction is delayed, or the build costs more than you expected, having a finance professional on your team could make all the difference to the outcome.

If you’re a first-time buyer, you may also be eligible for the First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) when building your own home or buying off-the-plan. You may qualify for stamp duty concessions or exemptions in some circumstances, even if it’s not your first home. Speak to us and we’ll help you check what concessions you may be eligible to receive.

It pays to get professional advice about your finances when building your own home, and planning ahead is the key to success. Construction loans can be complicated and the timing can be tight with off-the-plan mortgages, which is why it’s a good idea to call us for help. We’re here to give you support throughout the process and help you secure a suitable finance solution for your needs and goals, so if you’re ready to stop dreaming and make building your own home a reality, please call us today.Building a new home? How to finance it

You’ve budgeted hard, given up loads of smashed avocado brekkies, saved your deposit and are ready to buy your first home. High five!

There’s nothing quite like finally getting a foothold on the property ladder and moving into your very own pad, but it does require planning and research. With our help, you’ll soon be doing a victory dance and posting that exciting Facebook post of you in front of a shiny ‘SOLD’ sign. Here are our quick tips for buying your first home.

1) Talk to us about how much you can borrow

Your home ownership journey begins with a chat with your mortgage broker! There’s no point wasting your life inspecting properties that are outside your price range. We’ll help you determine your borrowing capacity, set your buying budget and explain about applying for the First Home Owner Grant and making the most of any other exemptions and savings you may be able to obtain to help you get started.

The amount you can borrow will depend on the size of your deposit, your savings history, income, expenses and credit history. It’s a good idea to save 20 per cent of the purchase price, plus the other costs associated with buying property like stamp duty, legal fees and building and pest inspections.

You may still be able to buy now even if you don’t have a 20% deposit, so talk to us about your plans. If you don’t have a 20% deposit, you may still be able to get a home loan, but you will have to pay Lender’s Mortgage Insurance (LMI) which protects the lender against any shortfall if you default on your loan and it has to be sold to repay your debt. Sometimes it’s worth paying LMI if it means you can get on the property ladder sooner, so talk to us and we’ll help you decide if its best to buy now or wait until you’ve saved more.

2) Get on the property ladder sooner rather than later

In most cases, it’s a good thing is to jump aboard the real estate train pronto! The sooner you stop wasting money on rent and start making capital gains on your property, the better. But getting into the market sooner rather than later might mean compromising. You might not be able to afford your dream home immediately, but the property you buy may be a stepping stone to greater things. If your desired location is too costly, you may have to consider buying in another suburb, purchasing an apartment or a more modest home, or finding a “renovator’s dream”. Remember, from little things big things grow and you can always trade up in future.

3) Learn how to research the right property to buy

Once you know your price range, you can use it to find prospective properties to inspect and identify areas that you can afford. Location is key, but you also have to factor in affordability. Research the areas and properties you are interested in very thoroughly. Consider the capital growth potential, rental yields and proximity to schools, transport and other amenities – this can be confusing, so if you need help just ask us.

When you find a home you like, research it by arranging building and pest inspections to ensure the property is structurally sound and free of unwanted guests. If the property is going to auction, you will need to do this beforehand.

Buying your first home is exciting, but it’s important to seek professional advice. As your mortgage and finance specialist, our services are free and we’re happy to help you in any way we can, even if you’re not quite ready to buy right now. We’ll help you with your budget and deposit saving plan, guide you through the buying process, ensure your financial goals are taken into consideration, and provide ongoing support in the future. Save yourself time, money and stress by getting in touch with us today!3 Top Tips for Buying Your First Home


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