You’ve spent hours pouring over house listings and scoped out your favourite suburbs, but there’s just one thing standing between you and your homeownership goals – a house deposit.
Buying a home can feel unachievable when you’re just getting started. A home is one of the biggest purchases most of us will make in our lifetime, and having to drop tens of thousands on a deposit feels, well, overwhelming.
So how can you save enough money to cover a deposit, without needing to rely on Mum and Dad to top you up? It’s not just weeks of skipped coffees, but we’ll take you through the steps to save enough for a house deposit.
STAGE 1 (BEFORE YOU EVEN THINK ABOUT SAVING)
- Build up an emergency fund: It’s not just the Barefoot Investor driving this home – it’s good sense. Buying a house doesn’t just mean ‘house deposit,’ you also want to cover yourself for potential financial emergencies. Save up a month of living expenses to cushion any blows.
- Get that debt under control: No one’s saying you need to pay it all off, but you should have any outstanding debts under control. To buy a home, you need a mortgage – and you need approval from a bank to get one of those. Lenders want to see that your monthly income isn’t being eaten up by debt. They’ll see you as less of a risk, and figure you’ll probably pay them back on time.
- Check out the market: Do your online research! This is a great opportunity to think about what you like, and kinda mange your expectations accordingly. Think about what you need in a house and then look for properties which meet those requirements.
Ticked off these pre-game tasks? Let’s talk saving for a deposit.
First and foremost, what is a deposit?
A deposit is money that’s transferred to a bank, a financial institution or another party for your later use, to earn interest, or as a way to show you can pay for something you want to buy.
A deposit is your first contribution to the purchase price of a property. A bigger home loan deposit means you may not have to borrow as much money, which can – in turn – mean you pay less interest over the life of your home loan.
Many lenders require a home deposit of 20% of the purchase price, excluding transaction costs. Others will accept lower deposits, but you may have to pay something called Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI). On top of that, you also need additional savings to cover property transaction costs such as conveyance fees, stamp duty and other charges.
10 ways to save for a deposit
(1) Assess your lifestyle and be smarter with your money.
We’re not talking about existing on a diet of beans, but we do advocate for being wise with your money. You want to strike a balance where you’re not living above the poverty line, but you’re also not making silly spending choices without thought. Cut down on the things you don’t need to buy. Little amounts add up, so be smarter with your money by saving on the things that don’t concern you, and putting the extra saving aside for your deposit.
It’s helpful to think about where you’re putting your savings because this influences how quickly they grow. Look for a savings account that can offer you a high interest rate with minimal (or no) fees. Look around for the best deal available. Consider setting up regular automated payments into a separate savings or term deposit account that’s purely there for your house deposit.
(3) Take the money straight out of your pay
Offer up the first part of your income before you even start spending. Save your money as soon as you get paid and then live off the rest, stretching it as far as possible.
(4) Lower the rent you’re paying and save the difference
Are you currently paying $500 a week in rent? If you could move to a place that only costs $450 a week for a period of time, you could save that extra $50 a week and put the extra towards your deposit. Living with your parents or some housemates could also be an option.
(5) Be thriftier with your transport options
Your car could make a pretty decent deposit for a home. Cars are a depreciating asset and they cost a bucket load to run. Things like insurance, maintenance, registration and petrol all cost money. If you’re partnered up and own two cars, think about selling one and putting the money towards your savings. If you own one car and could be happier with a cheaper model, sell it and buy a cheaper secondhand model.
(6) Sell the stuff you don’t need
Do you really need that second TV you rarely use? How about that lounge in the spare room that never gets sat on? You may also have some unused valuables lying around at home – consider selling them online for cash. Collectable and vintage items will be your best bet if you want a higher resell price. Check out online marketplaces like eBay, Gumtree, Facebook and Amazon Australia.
(7) Create a second source of income: Make no mistake, this can and will take up a lot of your time, but there’s almost nothing better than creating a second income to build a house deposit quickly. How could you use your current skills outside of your workplace? The internet is a gold mine for side gigs. Look at opportunities to freelance as a blogger, copywriter, website developer or photographer. The internet is also making it pretty simple to get involved in odd jobs around your community. Picking up a weekend job like working in a cafe could also be an option.
(8) Look for bargains
Take a break from your usual routine, you might be surprised at the number of bargains you can find. When you go grocery shopping, experiment with less expensive alternatives, buy specials and think twice before you add extra items to your list. If you need to buy replacement expensive items like whitegoods, find better prices with a little research and ask stores if they will price match.
(9) Review your finances for a better deal
A simple way to save money is to review your current expenses on things like insurance, electricity, phones and loans and see if they’re still providing you with the best value for your needs (and budget). If you find a better deal elsewhere, don’t be afraid to switch providers.
(10) See if you’re eligible for any government assistance
If you’re a first home buyer in Australia, you may be eligible for help from the government to reach your deposit sooner. Look out for first home owner grants that are paid to homeowners who satisfy eligibility criteria. Research your options and consider the pros and cons.
Setting goals and having a solid savings plan in place man you could be on your way to growing that house deposit and becoming a homeowner. When you’re ready to go and want to apply for a home loan, make sure you do your research and find a product that offers outstanding value across both features and price
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