Times are tough out there. And not to get all heavy on you but if you’re trying to save for a house deposit right now, then you might be considering if it’s time to move back in with your folks to help scrounge together that cash.
These days it’s not just 20-somethings trying to get into the housing market --- those of us in our 30s and even 40s can be struggling to get in there.
But with some sensible planning and strategies from the experts, saving for your first down payment without resorting to your childhood single bed is possible. Honest.
First, have an audit of your spending
Yes, we know everyone says you should do up a budget. It’s the way to know what you’re spending. These days most of the big banks have apps that allow you to track your spending, automatically categorising it over the course of a week or a month. Having a look at where your money goes can give you some ideas about how to reign in the spending. Spending a lot on apps you don’t use? Nix them. Too many takeaways? Cooking more at home, and in bulk is cheaper. Look at everything you spend and how you can cut down – including transport costs, grocery bills, entertainment and clothing. Living alone? Could be time to get a flatmate to halve those bills.
Know what you need to save
According to the government’s Moneysmart website, it takes 4.6 years for the average first home buyer couple to save for a 20 percent house deposit -- except in Sydney, where it can take twice as long. So you need a proper plan. That means you need to do the calculations and work out exactly what you will need to put away each and every month. Mortgage calculators are available on banking apps – use them to plug in the numbers and then get going -- the more structured you are about it, the easier it will be.
Then actually start saving…
Get a portion of your salary whisked away each month to a dedicated home deposit account and act as if you never had it. And it’s a good idea to think about the best account too. Some savings accounts are better than others, offering better interest rates and fewer fees. Shopping around for the best savings account can make a significant impact, especially if you plan on building your deposit over an extended period. Also look at accounts that let you round up -- for example if you buy a coffee that costs $4.30, they can round that up to $5 and pop the extra 70c directly into your savings.
Check your earning potential…
A second job may be too hard to manage right now but is there a way you can get any more money coming in? Think about selling off old phones, electronics and good quality clothing, perhaps. Picking up one extra shift a week or jobs through sites like AirTasker could help you add to the deposit fund faster.
Get some advice
Not everyone understands money and finance, so reaching out to the pros may help. Mortgage brokers can tell you how much you can afford, help put you onto a savings plan and assist you in becoming pre-approved. You can always talk to experts in the field -- like Metricon, who specialise in new builds and know a thing or two about getting people into homes. Oh, and there is also lots of sensible advice on the government’s Moneysmart website.
Look into any schemes that are available to you
Metricon’s HomeSolution is perfect for first time home owners. There are ways the government can help you with the money you’ll need. The First Home Owner Grant scheme is a national scheme where a one-off grant is payable to first home owners that satisfy all the eligibility criteria. There’s also the First Home Super Saver Scheme which lets first home buyers save a deposit through their super. And the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme helps eligible first home buyers buy a house with a deposit as small as 5 percent of the purchase price and save around $10,000 in lender's mortgage insurance fees. All are pretty useful, right?
Feature image: supplied