When purchasing your first property, don't let yourself be overwhelmed by the experience.
The process can be seamless and enjoyable when you tackle it in individual stages.
From making the decision to purchase and saving for your deposit, to finding the right loan and finding and securing the perfect home, each step brings you closer to your ultimate goal.
Saving for a home loan or mortgage isn't glamorous but it has to be done.
One of the first rules of saving is to set a goal.
But what should that goal be?
Different people have different needs, but a rough guide is that you should be saving 10 per cent of your pre-tax income.
To help with saving, you need to know what you're currently spending.
And not just on the big items like rent, utilities and groceries.
Get yourself a notebook and every time you spend money, write it down.
Keep this list for at least a month, but preferably longer to build up a clearer picture.
You'll be surprised where your money goes.
If you're a typical first home buyer, you probably haven't been exercising a lot of financial restraint to this point.
Invited out to dinner?
See shoes you like?
Take lunch to work?
Are you kidding?
There's nothing wrong with that, but if you really want a home, you're probably going to have to start making some sacrifices.
Look through your spending record and decide what you're willing to give up.
You might decide, for example, that life would still go on if you didn't spend $1500 a year on coffee...
Hmmm, maybe that's not a good example!
For those who don't have any genuine savings but still want to obtain finance, there are options.
A strong rental record may see a lender allow you to forgo the genuine savings route.
Some lenders will waive the requirements if a rental ledger can be produced from a licensed real estate agent confirming that rent has been paid on time and in full for the preceding 12 months.
This is because the ledger highlights your ability to make repayments on time and on an ongoing basis.
Other significant assets include shares and managed funds - depending on the lender, cash isn't the only thing accepted as genuine savings.
There are even situations where the sale of a vehicle can be considered as genuine savings if proved that it was owned for three months or more.
Once you have your savings/deposit sorted, arranging finance before finding the perfect property will put you in a good position when it comes time to make an offer.
When you do find the house you have always wanted, you can present to the seller and estate agent as a prepared applicant who is serious and reliable by letting them know you have conditional loan approval in place.
While the process can be challenging, and at times, seem unachievable, the decision to purchase your first home is one that will set you up for the future.
The important thing to remember is that you don't have to navigate the uncharted territory on your own.
Olympia Andronicos is a credit representative (507463) of BLSSA Pty Ltd ACN 117 651 760 (Australian Credit Licence 391237). Choice Finance Specialists 0418 690 628.