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3 everyday Aussies on how they bought a home

Financial Wellbeing Coach

2023-10-18 00:00

Estimated reading time
5 min

In this article

  • Inspiration for your own home buying journey
  • 5 helpful government schemes
  • Start bulding your deposit

Ever spent so long scrolling through real estate listings on your phone that your sense of time and reality melt into a small floorplan-shaped puddle? We think you’ll find that many Australians can relate.

Buying your first home – especially in today’s rollercoaster economy – can be an engulfing, exciting and discombobulating experience. But luckily, you don’t have to go it alone.

Some people live with their parents to save, others use a guarantor, buy with a mate or partner, or take advantage of government incentives. For the vast majority of Australians, saving for a home requires just that little bit of outside assistance.

In case you need a bit of inspiration on your own home-buying journey, we spoke to three Aussies on how they saved up. Plus, we explored some government schemes available – including the recent changes to the Home Guarantee Scheme.

Jason and Claire, 38 – Popped out to the country

Jason and his wife, Claire, are about to move into their first home, which they’ve been building for more than two years. Before the pandemic, the couple had saved a decent deposit. But when they sat down to do the sums (fun!) they realised they couldn’t afford anything bigger than a two-bedroom apartment in the city. With a second baby on the way, that just wasn’t going to cut it.

Cue Covid’s work from home policies.  Jason and Claire suddenly realised they could move to a regional area, keep their existing jobs and afford a four-bedroom, two-living room, two-bathroom home — enough room for two kids and a dog!

“We took advantage of the regional first home buyer guarantee (which requires only a 5% deposit from eligible first-home buyers in regional areas who have been living there for 12 months prior), and bought land in Kyneton, a regional town about 100 kilometres west of Melbourne’s CBD,” Jason said.

The couple and their two sons are now renting a house near their first home (to qualify and keep an eye on the build), and can’t wait to move in. “We’re counting down the days until we can finally sleep in our new home”, Jason said.

Tim, 29 – Had a parent help out

29-year-old musician Tim and his partner, Piper, 26, a midwife and florist, have just moved into their first home: a beautiful townhouse in an arty suburb.

The first home buyers, who both lost their jobs in the lockdowns, decided to travel while they were commitment-free, before deciding to knuckle down and save for an entire year. “Both our businesses came back and we actually experienced a growth period, so we set a goal of saving a 10% deposit in a year,” Tim says.

After 12 months of saving every penny they could and meticulous budgeting, the couple knuckled down and managed to save $80,000, and signed off their settlement. Sound tough? This type of saving is not for everyone and takes serious commitment, but the result is well worth it. Tim’s partner’s mum also signed as guarantor (thanks mum). “We are lucky and thankful that ANZ supported us in our homebuying journey,” he says.

The pair don’t have a dog yet, but our fingers remain crossed.

Giorgia, 32 – Got a leg up from the gov

Italian expat and graphic designer Giorgia, 32, has been putting money away “just because” for more than a decade. “I don’t really have any crippling vices – I don’t even buy lunch or many clothes, and I don’t really drink,” she said.

So, when a one-bedroom apartment came up for urgent sale, she jumped at the opportunity. “The owners were in a huge rush to sell, and I ended up getting the apartment for $60,000 less than advertised,” she said.

Giorgia also received a discount on her stamp duty, while a small inheritance, received in the last few years, bolstered her deposit to 25%. And while she could have sprung for a bigger mortgage, she wanted to keep things manageable. “I didn’t want to be stretched financially, so I got something smaller,” she said. More suitable for… a cat?

5 helpful home buying schemes

If like the above folks, you need a little more help figuring out how to buy your first home, look no further. Below are just some of the schemes that might be available in your state – but you’ll need to check your local state government site to be sure:

  • First home guarantee

    Only got a 5% deposit? You might be in luck. Eligible first-home buyers for new and existing homes can get a dose of support from the government via this scheme, which has recently been expanded to include friends, siblings and couples not in a romantic relationship and people who haven’t previously owned a home in the past 10 years (from July 1).
  • Regional first home buyer guarantee

    Craving a quieter nest? Take that 5% deposit and head out to Australia’s regional areas, where eligible home buyers who have lived in a regional area for 12-months can make a new or existing house their home.
  • Family home guarantee

    This one requires only a 2% deposit from eligible single parents with at least one dependent child. It’s recently been expanded to include people who have previously owned a home (from July 1) and is available for both new and existing homes.
  • Bank incentives

    Often, banks will offer buyers specific incentives to lock in a home loan. If you want to make your homebuying journey seamless, keep an eye on ANZ’s home loan offers.
  • State-specific home-buying schemes

    Most states and territories will have their own schemes and incentives available. However, it’s important to note these can change from year-to-year. Check out your state or territory government website for more information.

As all these stories illustrate, there are so many different ways to get to the end of the rainbow. Each path may be different, but the goal remains the same – finding a place to call home and building a secure future.

And we repeat - hopefully with a dog.


3 everyday Aussies on how they bought a home
Financial Wellbeing Coach

Start building your deposit

If you’re starting to feel that first home owner itch, then it is never too early to start saving for a deposit. Set a SMART goal and you’re more likely to get there!

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The information set out above is general in nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on the information, you should consider whether the information is appropriate for you having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. By providing this information ANZ does not intend to provide any financial advice or other advice or recommendations. You should seek independent financial, legal, tax and other relevant advice having regard to your particular circumstances.

This information is current as at the date of publication and subject to change.