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"It's scarily exciting." 3 people share the highs and lows of saving for their first home.

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Thanks to our brand partner, Lendlease

It’s the great Australian dream – owning a home.

But as anyone who has bought a house or apartment knows, it’s a journey that begins with hard work, research and advice-seeking, and ends in (hopefully) a happy first home-owner.

There’s a lot that happens in between, though.

Factors such as location, community, price, and long-term affordability must be considered – and can also be confusing. This is especially so when everyone from parents to mortgage brokers has an opinion.

So that’s why the experience of someone who’s recently been in the same position is invaluable.

We spoke to three people: one who has just bought their first home, and two who are considering buying theirs, to see what’s helped them get their finances in order.

Moira, 33: ‘Landscaping cost a lot, but I’ve never had to pay a utility bill.’

Moira Mecha
Image: Supplied.

Moira has recently purchased a new home in Lendlease's Alkimos Beach community, 40km north of Perth's CBD and a short 15km from Joondalup.

“I bought in December 2017 and have lived here for a year. The location was important to me, and the environment was a huge factor,” Moira says. “I wanted to live in a new ‘upmarket’ area close to the beach. I also like that Alkimos Beach is not close to public housing, but is within its own community. That means it has a very homely feel, my neighbours are all very friendly and I feel part of a community very much. It’s also quiet and peaceful.”

With the housing options in Australia, Moira admits she struggled with deciding what would best suit her needs.

“Choosing a location within Alkimos Beach was a long decision to make, plus knowing which builders to use to build my dream home was hard,” she explains. “But it was worth it.”

Moira shares that she wishes she had considered some other factors in her budget, but has learned from her experience.

“It’s definitely worth considering landscaping costs into your budget,” she says. “And any work you plan on having carried out after your house build such as paving and designing your backyard – these were costs I’d not factored in from the beginning.”

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But being part of the Alkimos Beach community has saved her money in other ways.

“I’ve never paid a utility bill as I have solar panels on my house and am able to use the community solar battery. Also, living close to the community fitness park is a huge benefit for me,” Moira shares.

Sherry, 25: 'We've saved a lot of money through meal delivery.'

Sherry Tang
Image: Supplied.

Sherry, 25, an engineer, tells us that while her sisters lived at home for the first year of their first job out of university to save for a mortgage, she had a different path.

“I moved out when I started my first job out of uni, but had savings from part-time jobs,” Sherry says. “My partner had done the same thing.

“We have both been saving for three years together, and are starting to speak to a mortgage broker now to see our options.”

Currently renting with her partner, Ben, 24, who is also an engineer, Sherry took a considered approach to her home ownership plan.

“We currently have a joint account set up for joint expenses including rent, food and going out. That way we limit the amount of spending we use together and only put in a set amount each month so we can't go over,” she shares.

“One of the biggest things that has helped us save this last year has been using a meal delivery service – the type where you prepare the meals. We used to grocery shop every night as we were not good at meal planning. When we got home from work we would regularly be tired and just order takeaway instead. 

“Having meals delivered to us with everything included has made it easier for us to be healthy and we have saved lots this way.”

Location of their new home was a factor that Sherry and Ben had to negotiate.

“We want to be close to the city. My family lives in the northern suburbs of Adelaide and my work is currently located there, but Ben’s family lives in the southern suburbs and he works in the city,” she explains.

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“We used to live down south but the commute was killing me. We have now moved north of the city and it has made things much easier for me. He doesn’t mind living in an area he isn't familiar with as much as I am, but we are still connected to these areas.”

Paige, 24: 'We'd deposit $500 a week and we stuck with it even when it was hard.'

Paige Foubister
Image: Supplied.

Paige, 24, a pharmacy student/assistant, and her partner Dean, 23, a hospitality manager, have just received their finance pre-approval. 

“It’s scarily exciting,” Paige shares. “We've been saving for about two years to get about a 10 per cent deposit. 

“We pretty much budgeted that we'd deposit $500 a week into the account (which we worked out would be roughly like our repayments) and stuck with it, even when it was hard.

“We did however have awesome parents who let us live for free to help us get a head start.”

In terms of location, Paige explains that convenience, not necessarily space, is paramount for them.

“At the moment, we're looking at places that will be close to work for us both, and central to other things. We're hoping to find something sort of mid-range with potential, so that we can afford to be so close to things, too,” Paige shares.

Paige adds that while they hadn’t planned to, they have applied for the government's new First Home Buyer Deposit Scheme.

“So, we've negotiated a smaller deposit so we can keep some money to pay off a car loan and buy some furniture, that sort of thing,” she concludes.

If you're currently looking to buy or build your first home and take advantage of the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, take a look at some of the growing communities Lendlease has on offer in NSW (Bingara Gorge and Calderwood Valley), Victoria (Atherstone, Aurora and Harpley), Queensland (Elliot Springs, Springfield Rise and Yarrabilba) and Western Australia (Alkimos Beach).

What's your best advice on saving or looking around for your first home?

Lendlease

Lendlease has been creating communities for over 50 years. We are committed to creating beautiful and sustainable environments where people can live and work safely while engaging with their community.

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