While WA remains the most affordable state in Australia for first homebuyers, prices are on the rise and many West Aussies are struggling to save the money needed to make owning a home a reality. It’s not just the deposit that’s needed, there’s also stamp duty, finance costs, conveyancing fees and moving costs to factor into the equation.
Although there are some incentives available for first homebuyers, many (like the First Home Owner Grant) only apply if you’re building. So where does that leave you if you’re buying an established home?
Here are a few tips to help you get into the market sooner.
Don’t aim too high – It doesn’t have to be your forever home. While your dream may be a house on a block of land, it may be more realistic to start off with a unit or townhouse. To give you an idea, Perth’s median house value is currently $495,000 while the median unit price is around $385,000. That’s an enormous difference!
Look further afield – Properties closer to the city and waterways are generally more expensive than those in the outer suburbs. Again, you need to remember that your first home doesn’t have to be your forever home (for most people today, it isn’t). If buying in a less desirable suburb that is further away from work and the beach etc. than you would like means you will be able to buy your first property sooner, then it would be in your interest to be open to that.
Find a guarantor – If you’re looking to buy your first home but need help getting there, enlisting the help of a guarantor may be just what you need. Your guarantor, which is usually an immediate family member like a parent, allows the equity in their own property to be used as additional security for your loan. The primary security for the loan will be your property, but the lender will also take a mortgage over your guarantor’s property. This mortgage will not support the loan directly but will be used to support a guarantee from your guarantor. Just be aware that if you default on your home loan, the guarantor becomes responsible for paying your debt, so this is not an arrangement to enter into lightly for either party.
Shared ownership – If you can’t imagine how you could ever afford to save up the deposit and buy on your own, perhaps you could consider buying with a close friend or family member, like a sibling. They would then become a co-borrower on the loan. This way you would split the deposit and share the equity and loan commitments between you. This option may be better suited for those looking to invest rather than live in the house themselves. If you are looking to go into co-ownership ensure you do it with someone you trust and always seek legal advice if you decide to go down this path to avoid problems in the future.