What to Look Out For As A First Home Buyer

Buying your first home is likely to be one of the biggest financial decisions you will ever make. The good news is that you may be eligible for government assistance, including the First Home Guarantee Scheme, the First Home Owner Grant, and the Victorian Homebuyer Fund Shared Equity Scheme as well as potential stamp duty concessions.

However, even if you are eligible for this upfront assistance, it is crucial to understand all the costs involved with buying a home, how to finance your purchase, and how to budget for your repayments. Here are some things to look out for as a first home buyer.

First Home Guarantee Scheme

The First Home Guarantee Scheme is a federal government program that allows eligible applicants to buy a home with a deposit of 5% without having to take out lenders’ mortgage insurance (LMI), which can cost well over $10,000 on an average home loan.

You can find out more about the First Home Guarantee  Scheme, including the eligibility requirements, here.

First Home Owner Grant

The First Home Owner Grant in Victoria is a payment of $10,000 available to eligible first home buyer applicants who are buying a brand new dwelling or building a home up to the value of $750,000.  The $10,000 can be used as part or all of your deposit for your first home loan.

The Victorian Homebuyer Fund Shared Equity Scheme

Under this scheme, the Victorian government contributes up to 25% of the value of a home for eligible applicants in exchange for equity in the property. It is a shared ownership arrangement.

The government’s purchase funds are interest-free and you can repay it over the term of your home loan to progressively increase your equity. If or when you sell the home, the government is entitled to their share of the sales proceeds based on their remaining equity percentage at the time of the sale.

You can find out more details about this shared ownership scheme and its eligibility requirements here.

The hidden costs of buying a home

It is important to understand that the purchase price of a home is not its total upfront cost. Additional costs can include:

  • Land transfer duty if your property is valued over $600,000 (though you are entitled to a concession if it is valued between $600,000 and $750,000).
  • Lender’s mortgage insurance (if you have a deposit less than 20% and don’t qualify for the First Home Guarantee Scheme or the Victorian Homebuyer Fund).
  • Conveyancing costs to legally transfer the title of the property to your name
  • Loan application fees
  • Property insurance
  • Moving costs
  • Furniture and other incidental costs to set up your home as your primary residence.

Setting a budget for your first home

Before you start searching for your first home, you should find out your budget (i.e., how much you can borrow so you know the price range of properties that you can afford). The best way to do this is to arrange a finance pre-approval. The maximum purchase price you will be eligible for will be determined by different factors including both income and the level of deposit that you are able to contribute. This will vary across lenders based on the  differences in their credit policies and how they relate to your specific application. It is important to understand this comparison when selecting a financier to partner with.

Getting finance pre-approval

Applying for a finance pre-approval will involve you providing your financial details for assessment by a lender. This will include details of your current income, expenses, assets and debts, so the lender can assess how much you can afford for your home loan repayments.

Using a mortgage broker

Mortgage brokers can help you to compare the range of home loan pre-approval options available from different lenders so you can decide on the one that is most suitable for your needs. This may be to maximise the loan amount and subsequent purchase price, or it may be to find the lowest interest rate. Whatever the priority is, our in house mortgage broker can assist you in comparing and understanding the different options available for first home buyers. If you would like to discuss your lending options when buying your first home, please contact our mortgage broker, Brett Elliot on 03 8419 9800 or book a meeting here.

This content has been prepared by Wilson Pateras to further our commitment to proactive services and advice for our clients, by providing current information and events. Any advice is of a general nature only and does not take into account your personal objectives or financial situation. Before making any decision, you should consider your particular circumstances and whether the information is suitable to your needs including by seeking professional advice. You should also read any relevant disclosure documents. Whilst every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of this information, Wilson Pateras, its officers, employees and agents disclaim all liability, to the extent permissible by law, for any error, inaccuracy in, or omission from, the information contained above including any loss or damage suffered by any person directly or indirectly through relying on this information. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation. 

Wilson Pateras Accounting Pty Ltd is a related entity of Wilson Pateras Lending and Finance (VIC) Pty Ltd and Wilson Pateras Financial Planning Pty Ltd (Wilson Pateras Group). Where you are referred to a related entity by your adviser and take up lending or financial services, your adviser and the directors and shareholders of the Wilson Pateras Group do not receive any direct remuneration or benefit as a result of these referrals but may be entitled to profits as part of their ownership in each entity. You are free to engage your own preferred professional service providers should you prefer. 

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