Staking claim to your very own slice of real estate is a very Aussie dream. And it’s a dream that many will have you believe is slipping further and further out of reach for first home buyers. We’re here to tell you that it’s not as hard as you think, and with a few cunning tips, tricks, and a bit of advice, you’ll be climbing the ladder to your dream home in no time. There’s no time like the present! Here’s what you need to know:
Treat your first home as a stepping stone
Unless your savings have benefited from a little outside help, it’s unrealistic to expect your new home will tick all the boxes. You may need to compromise on things like the house’s location, condition, or size. It’s all about positive progress when it comes to taking the first step on the property ladder, so park any grand aspirations, for now, knowing that you’re heading in the direction of your dream home.
Pro Tip – you don’t need to live in your first home. It can make financial sense to continue renting somewhere else and look at your first home purchase purely as an investment. This will open up your first home search to more affordable properties.
Make the most of the financial benefits available
While interest rates have seen some correction recently, they remain very low. If you’re planning on buying a home in the near future, it’s worth acting soon and capitalising on the favourable rates. Buying sooner really does mean you’re more likely to be debt-free sooner. In addition, as a first home buyer, there are a few government grants and schemes you can access to help you on your way. The main three are:
- First Home Owner Grant – introduced to offset the effect of GST on homeownership, the First Home Owner Grant provides eligible Australians with a one-off payment towards the purchase or building of a residential property to live in. The grant varies by state and territory and applies exclusively to new builds in many instances. For state-specific advice, visit firsthome.gov.au
- First Home Super Saver Scheme – put your super to work before you hit retirement age by investing your super savings into your first home. The Super Saver Scheme allows you to save while benefiting from the concessional tax treatment for superannuation. Only your voluntary contributions can be accessed as part of the First Home Super Saver Scheme. Find out here if you’re eligible and how to apply.
- First Home Loan Deposit Scheme – skip the 20% deposit requirements and buy a first home with as little as 5% deposit – minus any Lenders Mortgage Insurance requirements. Under this scheme, the Australian Government partially guarantees thousands of low-deposit loans each year to help low and middle-income earners get on the property ladder. Find out more at First Home Loan Deposit Scheme.
Understand the process
From loan pre-approval to due diligence and everything in between, purchasing your first home can be a steep learning curve. A large part of it comes down to doing your homework before diving right in and getting clued up on how the process works. Fortunately, there’s no need to trawl Google for all the information; we’ve already done the hard work for you. Here’s where to find:
- Our Home Buyers Guide – bursting with tips on finding a home that meets your needs, how to finance it and negotiate the purchase, and how to prepare for move-in day.
- How to Save Towards Your First Home – everything from tackling your debts to practical advice on getting to the magic 20% deposit.
- A Guide for First Time Investors – if you’re thinking about an investment property for your first home purchase, this guide has got you covered with tips on choosing the right investment property, setting goals and everything in between.
- 7 Things to Know Before Buying your First Home – a short helpful guide to make sure you avoid some common mistakes.
A home to call your own has big benefits
Aside from the satisfaction that comes with owning a piece of real estate, by purchasing your first home, you’ll benefit from:
- Building equity – the sooner you purchase your first home, the quicker you’ll build equity, which helps establish your credit and secure other loans. Building equity can mean you may be able to borrow against your first home and hold onto it as an investment property when you take the next step on the property ladder.
- You’ll no longer be paying someone else’s mortgage – when you’re renting, nine times out of ten, you’re paying down someone else’s mortgage. When you live in your own home, this money goes into your mortgage and acts as forced savings that positively impact your future.
- You’re in the driver’s seat – as your own home, you can paint over that 90s maroon feature wall or finally get that furry friend that landlords have forbidden. You’ll also never need to worry about being given four weeks’ notice to move out by the landlord (unless you have trouble paying your mortgage).
Smart investments in affordable suburbs
While Sydney’s glitzy city-fringe suburbs might be where you’d love to live, the multi-million-dollar price tag is usually a barrier for first home buyers. Our advice is to cast your net a little wider and capitalise on some up and coming, affordable suburbs. And remember, apartments and units are also worth considering as an even more affordable option than stand-alone homes. Here are some of the more affordable suburbs across Australia:
- Melton – with a median house price of just over $400k, Melton is easily accessible (with its own railway station) and is just 35 kilometres west of the city. Close to the airport and with good schooling options, Melton’s desirability is on the rise.
- Dallas – just 16 kilometres north of the CBD, Dallas has a median house price of just under $500k. It’s popular with young people, families, and retirees – with transport and amenities on the doorstep.
- Emerton – situated in the City of Blacktown, Emerton has a median house price of just over $550k. It’s about 46 kilometres west of the Sydney CBD and is a family-friendly suburb with plenty of excellent schooling and shopping precincts.
- Tregear – also with a median house price of just over $550k, and west of the CBD, Tregear has a village feel with lots of amenities within walking distance.
- Armadale – Perth’s cheapest suburb with a median house price of just $250k, prices are on the rise with double-digit annual growth. Located 25 kilometres east of the CBD, there are plenty of amenities on offer and no shortage of houses available to purchase.
- Medina – a well-established suburb 37 kilometres south of the city, Medina is a family-friendly suburb making it attractive to first home buyers. House prices are in growth mode with a current median of $260k.
- West Taperoo – with a median house price of $420k, West Taperoo is located on the LeFevre Peninsula just 18 kilometres from the CBD. House prices are climbing, with a 1-year growth of just under 11%, making its potential strong.
- Surrey Downs – a leafy green suburb dotted with parks; Surrey Downs appeals to first home buyers looking for a family-friendly suburb. With easy access to public transport, facilities, and amenities and just 20 kilometres north-east of the city, Surrey Downs has a median house price of $440k.
- Pittsworth – with its picturesque country feel, Pittsworth has a strong sense of community and a family-friendly vibe. With a current median sale price of just over $340k, it’s an affordable option for first home buyers.
- Redbank Plains – with a current median sale price of just under $400k, Redbank Plains is a favourite with first home buyers looking to raise a family. With plenty of amenities close by and plenty of development underway, the area is experiencing steady growth.
- Banks – the most southern suburb of Canberra, Banks has a median house price of $520k and is approximately 20 kilometres from the city. With plenty of open green space, walking tracks, cycle paths and big backyards, it’s a favourite with families.
- Macgregor – with a median house price of $545k, Macgregor has a wide range of properties ranging from affordable do-ups to high end renovated homes. It’s dotted with parks and has a friendly and safe vibe.
- Mowbray – as the home of the Australian Maritime College and the University of Tasmania, Mowbray has a solid rental market making it an excellent option for investors. With a median house price of $315k, the suburb is located approximately 5 minutes from the Launceston CBD with plenty of amenities on hand.
- Newnham – with a median house price of $350k, Newnham neighbours Mowbray in Launceston’s northern suburbs. It’s a quiet and suburban neighbourhood close to the university and shops.
Get on the property ladder now – your future self will thank you!
We understand that making the leap to homeownership can be daunting, but it really is a case of getting educated and feeling confident in taking the first step in securing your future. Remember, everyone starts somewhere, and it’s not as impossible as it might seem. With over 300 offices across Australia, First National Real Estate can help you every step of the way. We’re experts in finding a property that fits the bill, no matter where in the country you’re looking – so get in touch today and let’s get started on your property journey!