finance

"Understand your situation." How to buy your first home, while looking out for your future self.

While the prospect of buying your first home is unbelievably exciting, it's one of the biggest commitments of your life.

You need to make sure you're choosing the best option for your situation now and in the future.

Watch: 5 money lessons your parents told you, that you should probably forget. Post continues after video.


Video via Mamamia.

Before you commit to a mortgage, you need to consider whether you might have a career change, stop working to start a family or want to travel when we can again. You will need to make sure future-you can handle the repayments.

During our housing episode of Mamamia's money podcast, What The Finance, Kelly Dalton-Moon, State Manager for Home Lending Westpac NSW and ACT, shares her top tips to secure your first home, while also taking care of your future self. And we've noted them down.

1. Understand your situation.

Before you get all excited and start short-listing properties to inspect, have a long, hard think about your financial and personal situation. 

As Kelly explained, consider what you're spending and what you have left over, using a budget planner. By punching in the numbers, you can see where your money is going and if you’re spending more or less than you can afford.

"Really do some research," Kelly said.

After you've assessed your finances, look at the property market in the areas you want to purchase, so you can get an idea of what homes are selling for.

Then look at an online borrowing power calculator and mortgage repayment calculator

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An online borrowing power or affordability calculator allows you to pop in how much you're willing to repay and your deposit amount, to see what kind of loan size you might be looking at.

You can also play with a mortgage repayment calculator, and toggle with options like fixed or variable interest, or interest-only, to see what your repayments might look like over the long term.

But remember, they won't be your only costs. 

"Take into consideration the other upfront costs: stamp duty, building and pest inspections, solicitor and conveyancing costs, etc," Kelly said.

"All up these can be 5-7 per cent on top of your other upfront costs."

Listen to the whole housing episode of What The Finance here. Post continues after audio. 

2. Speak to the experts.

If there's a chance your future might change (you want kids, to travel or change careers), Kelly suggests you speak to a home finance manager about your home loan options.

"They can help you with strategies to save for a deposit but they can also take into consideration if you might be looking to start a family or make a change in your career," she said.

Future-you will thank current-you for looking into home loans with options. For example, there are home loans that offer a “parental leave” mortgage repayment reduction which can help free up cash to cover some of the costs of starting a family.

The priority is to decide on a manageable home loan, so the repayments aren't overwhelming if your situation changes.

"Don't over-commit," Kelly said.

"A lot of people will look at the loan but not take into consideration, you know, if they're purchasing an apartment, strata, council costs, ongoing maintenance."

Once you've considered all these elements, you'll have a greater understanding of what option is best for you. And therefore, future-proof yourself ahead of buying a house.

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Feature image: Getty.