First home buyers are finding it harder than ever to get onto the property ladder, with out-of-control property prices and wages not increasing at the same rate.

Most young people dream of owning your own house, yes it’s a challenge but the best time to start is now.

In this post, I’d love to share 6 tips and tricks to help you get on the property ladder.

Ready to jump in? Here we go…

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1. Create a budget and start saving

We all know how tempting it is to spend your pay check after a hard week at work. But learning how to save and making a plan will get you into your own home faster.

Do some research and work out where you want to buy, how much it’s going to cost and what your weekly outgoings might be. If you are currently paying rent, this can be contributed towards loan repayments and you’ll need to put a plan together on how save the rest. For this, Sorted has a great budgeting tool here (https://sorted.org.nz/tools/budgeting-tool/welcome). Look at areas where you can cut back on luxury’s such as entertainment, gym memberships and toys. Or moving back home with parents to reduce rent costs.

Once you have worked out how much you need to save each week, put this into a high interest savings account – you need to be totally committed and not tempted to withdraw any.

2. Government funding & KiwiSaver

There are 4 grants available for New Zealand residents:

  1. KiwiSaver HomeStart Grant
  2. KiwiSaver Withdrawal
  3. Welcome Home Loan
  4. FirstHome Grant

Each of them are quite different with various criteria, see if you are eligible.

3. Get parents to be guarantors or contribute to the deposit

If you are lucky enough to have parents that are able to lend a helping hand, there are a few ways they can help:

Receiving a cash gift as a deposit

This is probably the easiest way for parents to help out, but you still need to have good servicing, a good income to support the loan repayment and show the bank that you can save.

Buying in partnership

Partnerships are another way that parents could help you out. This will ease the load of repaying the loan. However, this does come with risks for your parents such as if you have a partner or if you want to leverage the equity in the property to buy another.

Being guarantors

Going guarantor is pretty straight forward and means that your parents will cover the mortgage payments if you can’t. This helps when you don’t have a 20% deposit, have a bad credit rating or the bank is concerned that you can’t repay the money.

4. Flatmates

Having a strategy to buy a house and rent out some of the rooms is a great way to get into the property market. Your flatmates will help pay your mortgage for you.

One thing to note is that if you have less than 20% deposit most banks won’t use your rental income towards your serviceability.

5. Buy in an affordable area & rent somewhere else

Another great way to get on the property ladder is to buy in an affordable area, that will generate good cash flow positive rent.

The first house I bought way back in 2001, was a 3 bedroom house in Hei Hei, Christchurch. It was under 5 power lines (yes you read that right) and was a complete dump. The strategy here was to rent it out while my partner & I headed to London for our O.E. We purchased the house for $75,000 and rented it out for $150 per week. By the time we returned home, the rent had repaid the $15,000 deposit that I borrowed from my parents. We decided to move into the house, renovated and sold it.

Although buying a house could be one of your biggest purchases in life, don’t think of your first house as your last.

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6. Buy in an affordable area and renovate

Lastly, this is one of my favourites. Buy in an affordable area and quickly increase the value of the property by renovating. This will give you more equity to eventually buy another or upgrade.

The most important aspect of renovating is understanding how much it will cost and not over capitalising, which means spending more than what the property will be worth after the renovation.

Cheap renovations range from updating the inside with a fresh coat of paint, new carpet or new kitchen/bathroom or even putting a wall up to create another bedroom. More extensive renovations range from re-cladding a house, re-roofing, new windows or an extension.

With any structural, plumbing or extension work, a consent is usually required, so you’ll need to factor in costs and time, not only for the building work, but also for the architect/draughtsman and council fees.

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It isn’t easy being a first home buyer in this market. But by understanding the options available, knowing what you can afford, a little planning and a lot of saving, you’ll get there.

I hope you find some of these strategies useful and would love to hear if you have any tips of your own?

Please feel free to share in the comments – I’d love to learn from you and join the conversation!

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. […] is pretty obvious, but the sooner you start saving the deposit, the easier it will be. Create a budget and start saving, even if it’s only $20 or $50 per week, you’ll be in a better position when you are ready to […]

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About Nicola Valentine

Nicola is the CEO & Founder of Lendr (making buying homes & investing in property easy). She has a strong background in technology, property investment and business. She's changing the way people buy & manage property through data insight and making the right property decisions.

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budgeting, First Home Buyers, grants, Strategies, Tips

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