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Is my first home in reach?

By Mike Henderson / September 3, 2018 / Share:

Is my first home in reach?

Climbing house prices, a growing population and increased demand for affordable properties — it's no surprise many young Kiwis are worried they won't be able to afford their first home. Buying a property was once considered a rite of passage for all New Zealanders, but many feel it's become an almost unachievable dream. Or has it?

We understand the thought of buying your first home can be stressful, particularly in the current property climate. However, while it will take some work, owning your first home may be more within reach than you think. You just need the right strategies to get there. 

In this blog, we look at some ways first home buyers can get a foothold on the property ladder. 

Ready to take your next step towards property ownership? Download our free guide to buying a home.

Use your KiwiSaver

If you're a first home buyer you can use your KiwiSaver funds to get into the property market. To be eligible for the HomeStart grant, you need to have been contributing to the KiwiSaver scheme for at least three years.

If you do qualify, the government could give you up to $5000 towards an older, existing home or up to $10,000 for a new build or land to build a home on. Even better, if you're planning to buy a first home with someone else, you can combine your grants, which could total up to $20,000. There are other eligibility criteria you'll also need to meet so do your research first.  

Another option under KiwiSaver is a savings withdrawal. If you're eligible, this means you could withdraw almost all of your funds to help pay for a first home. 

Join with someone else

Another way to get ahead in the property market is to buy with friends or family. This is an increasingly common approach and it makes great sense. Joining with other like-minded people boosts your financial resources and can open up a world of opportunities that wouldn't otherwise be available to you. 

Before going ahead, however, there are a few things to be wary of. Like any business arrangement, if it's not handled properly there's a risk your home dream could turn into a nightmare. Here are some points to consider:

  • Choose your partner wisely: They should be someone you trust and can rely on to pay their share of the mortgage payments, rates, maintenance costs and all the other issues associated with owning a house.
  • Research your mortgage options: Buying a property with a friend or family member is not always straightforward when it comes to getting lending so carefully explore your options. Remember, everyone is equally and jointly responsible for the loan in its entirety.
  • Talk to your lawyer: Tenants-in-common means buying a house with another person, or people, without being in a stable relationship with them. Under this agreement, each person has separately transferable interests. Ensure this status is specified on the title.

Tap into your 'extra savings'

Saving for a deposit takes hard work and commitment. You need a clear plan for how much you want to save and how you'll achieve this. Work out how much you can afford to save each payday and transfer this into a separate account.

Once you've cut your spending as much as possible, consider ways to boost your income. Are you due a pay rise at work? Could you take on an extra job or start a part-time business? Gaining new skills or qualifications may also boost your earning potential.

Buying that elusive first home doesn't need to be out of your reach. Armed with the right information and proven strategies to help you get ahead, you can turn your home ownership dream into a reality. 

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Topics: Buying

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