Traditionally, saving for a house deposit used to mean setting a budget, eating two-minute noodles and not going on holidays. That’s what the majority of articles out there offer you.
This ‘two-minute’ noodle method is not only ineffective, but it will make you (and everyone around you) miserable.
While I agree that managing expenses is important, it is more important to have some balance in your life and not miss out on all the fun.
In this post, In this post, I am going to share with you the deposit kickstart method which I used to buy my first home. I am going to go through it step-by-step.
Now, the Deposit Kickstart method isn’t going to be for everyone, but I can say it has helped me and over 1000 other Hunter Galloway clients get into their first home.
How to Save for a House Deposit 💸
- Step 1: Decide a Purchase Price
- Step 2: Choose a Deposit %
- Step 3: Set a Deposit Goal
- Step 4: Calculate Stamp Duty
- Step 5: Work out your Savings Goal
- Step 6: Set a Monthly Target
- Step 7: Pay Yourself First
- Step 8: Keep your accounts separate
- Step 9: Save on the 1%’ers
- Step 10: Cut back on your rental expenses
- Step 11: Celebrate the milestones
- Bonus #1: Tips to Reduce Your House Deposit Amount
- Bonus #2: Fast Tips to Increase your income
- Bonus #3: Suburbs where you can buy a home with just a 5% deposit
Step 1: Decide a Purchase Price
This may sound too obvious but stay with me…
If you want to buy a home, you need a deposit and for you to know how much deposit you need, you need to know what you are going to spend on that home.
In other words, deciding your purchase price is the first step in determining how much you need in savings.
Like Tony Robbins says, setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.
When deciding your purchase price, it is a good idea to decide on a lower price and work your way up from there. This will allow you to have a smaller deposit and get into the market much faster.
Step 2: Choose a Deposit %
You might not know this but, when you buy a home you don’t need a 20% deposit. Times have changed and you can now buy a place with as little as 8-10% deposit.
On the other hand, if you do have a 20% deposit you can avoid paying Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI). LMI can add up to thousands of dollars.
In my case, I bought my first home with the minimum deposit necessary so I could get into the market faster than waiting to save up a 20% deposit. That’s why I decided to raise an 8-10% deposit.
Step 3: Set a Deposit Goal
Like anything in life, having a dream is good, but making it a reality through goal setting is key. In fact, your Deposit Goal is 10 times more important than anything else. To put it another way, you really need to set a deposit goal and work back from there.
Here’s the approach that worked best for me:
I wanted to buy a first home for $330,000 and needed to save an 8% deposit. My deposit goal would be $330,000 x 0.08 = $26,400.
On the other hand, if you wanted to buy a $550,000 house and save a 20% deposit.
Your deposit goal would be $550,000 x 0.20 = $110,000.
x % Deposit
= Deposit Goal
Read More: How I bought my first home when I was single
Step 4: Calculate Stamp Duty & Other Costs
Here there is good news and bad news.
The good news is that if you are a first home buyer, in most states you do not need to pay Stamp Duty…
The bad news is that you do still need to pay transfer fees and other government charges. You can quickly calculate what these look like by talking to your Mortgage Broker or using this calculator. Since I was looking at buying a home for $330,000 I would need to factor in $872 in government fees.
Realistically, as a first home buyer, I should factor in an additional 1% in other expenses, which is $3,300. This $3,300 would cover things like: government fees, solicitor fees, bank fees, building and pest and other costs.
Read More: 11 Hidden Costs of Buying a Home
Step 5: Work out your Savings Goal
Now it’s time to put it all together.
Add the deposit goal to the stamp duty and other fees to determine your total saving goal!
In my case it would be $26,400 plus $3,300 to make a total savings goal of $29,700!
|Deposit Goal||+ Stamp Duty & Other Fees||= Total Saving Goal|
Now I have a total savings goal of $29,700 to get me into my first home!
Step 6: Set a Monthly Target
A goal of $29,700 seems like a mammoth task.
But, as the saying goes—How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time
How do you save for a home? One dollar at a time.
Take your total Saving Goal and set a monthly Saving Target to make it much more achievable. Determine the number of months you want to have achieved your goal and then divide your saving goal by those months.
For example, if you want to have raised $29,500 in 12 months (1 year), then your saving goal would be $29,500 divided by 12 to give you a monthly saving goal of $2,475.
|Saving Goal||/ Months Remaining||= Monthly Saving Goal|
|$29,700||12 Months (1 year)||$2,475|
|$29,700||24 Months (2 years)||$1,238|
|$29,700||36 Months (3 years)||$825|
If this Monthly Saving Goal seems too high, think about giving yourself more time. So, rather than 12 months, you can make it 24 months.
Another alternative is to jump back to Step 1 and look at a cheaper property to reduce the deposit required.
If you prefer to set weekly savings targets just divide by the number of weeks instead of using months.
|Saving Goal||/ Weeks Remaining||= Weekly Saving Goal|
|$29,700||52 Weeks (1 year)||$572|
|$29,700||102 Weeks (2 years)||$292|
|$29,700||156 Weeks (3 years)||$191|
I find matching how you are paid to your savings goal works best. So if you are paid weekly, use the weekly savings goal. If you are paid monthly, use the monthly savings goal.
Step 7: Pay yourself first
This involves having your employer pay you directly to an account which is separate from your day-to-day account. So, before you even get paid, your money goes straight away into your savings.
It’s really easy to do. With a lot of online banks now you can literally jump online and have a new account in minutes. If not, there are other banks that actually let you split your account.
What I did this couple of years ago was to set up a House Savings account which was separate from my day-to-day account. I got my money paid straight from my pay into that account. In effect, I was quarantining my Monthly Savings Goal.
If you do that, you won’t even realise it’s gone and you keep living your life and spending (the remaining) money as you wish.
Step 8: Keep your accounts separate
This might sound redundant, considering Step 7, but it is extremely important that you remember this.
Keep your savings in a separate account from your spending account. This is because it is extremely difficult to keep spending and savings separate. I made that mistake when I was trying to buy a place. I put it all in one account and began to feel a little rich, forgetting that it is money I cannot touch.
There are a few banks out there that have reward savings accounts. You put the money in there every month and they actually penalize you with interest if you take it out. So, it gives you a bit of a disincentive to take the money out and, as you continue to deposit, it grows.
Do whatever it takes to stop yourself from spending your savings.
Step 9: Save on the 1%’ers
100% is actually a total of 1%’s. If you look at it that way, you will see the importance of saving up on the 1%’ers.
What does that look like?
I can definitely tell you it doesn’t look like eating two-minute noodles. But, instead of buying the super fancy $10 cheese from Woolies, you buy the $5 one from ALDI.
If you cut down like that a little bit you might be able to save up to $50 each week, which can add up to $200 every month and up to $2400 per year! You see how quickly it adds up?
There are so many things you can cut back on—the type of tomato sauce or jam or toilet paper.
Remember It’s the 1%’ers that can really add up and snowball and help you save with that deposit really fast.
Step 10: Cut back on your rental expenses
What we have found is that for a lot of our clients, rent is their biggest expense. Rent can be 30% to 40% of your total income so you need to find a way to cut down on this.
It’s pretty simple. If you have a spare bedroom, you can try to rent it out to friends or family or anyone you know. Or Airbnb it. It makes good money.
If not, then you can downsize to a one-bedroom or even a studio.
Step 11: Celebrate the milestones.
Saving can be very daunting especially if you are sitting there with a goal of $50,000. But the fact is, if you want to buy a house, you have to save the deposit. You can’t run away from it.
So how do you make the journey a little more bearable? Once you hit a milestone, celebrate It! If your ultimate goal is $50,000, break it up into 10 bite-sized pieces of $5,000 and every time you get to $5,000 — go out and celebrate.
Celebrating doesn’t need to cost you money. For example, in Brisbane, you can take the family out to South Bank and have a swim – it doesn’t cost anything. You might go to Mount Nebo, Mount Coot-tha, any of those places for a picnic. That’s all very cost-effective.
Do it. It’s Awesome.
Bonus: Tips to Reduce Your House Deposit Amount 🏡
Short of begging, borrowing or stealing there are a few other ways you can approach buying a home by getting some help from the people around you.
- ✅ Look at your brothers, sisters, relatives or friends: If you can’t get in yourself, look at partnering with friends or family.
- ✅ Enquire at the Bank of Mum and Dad: Parents are usually always keen to help their children and they can help you by being guarantors. Guarantor loans are on the rise, and according to figures from ANZ the number of parents guaranteeing their kids home loans has increased from 5% to 20% since 2013. Guarantor loans may also help you borrow more than 100% of the purchase price without having to pay LMI.
- ✅ Think about Rentvesting: Rentvesting is about living where you want and investing where you can afford. If you can’t afford the dream house or suburb you want then continue to rent or live there and invest the difference in a property further out. Once you have built equity with that property you can then use it to buy the property you want.
Bonus: Fast Tips to Increase your income 💰
- ✅ Get a side hustle: We all know it costs lots to buy a home. If you’re finding it hard to save with your current income, or you are living from hand to mouth in your daytime job, then think about getting a side hustle like Uber or work at a cafe during the night. When I was saving for my first home I did some website work on the weekends to help bolster my cash savings faster.
- ✅ Make some fast money on Gumtree or eBay: Have a look around the house and sell any old computer gear, phones, or junk you have laying around. You could make a few hundred dollars quite easily!
- ✅ Sell your car. Cars are a depreciating asset and sometimes one of the biggest expenses most first home buyers have. Do an audit to see if you are really using it that much and if you can consider downgrading to a scooter, or look at public transport or Uber to get around.
Bonus: Suburbs where you can get a home with just a 5 per cent deposit
The federal government’s budget which was delivered in late March has delivered some good news for aspiring homeowners. The government is expanding its First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, now rebranded as the Home Guarantee Scheme, to allow first home buyers to buy a home with just a 5 per cent deposit.
There are some limitations, however:
- Single applicants can only have earned a taxable income of up to $125,000 per annum for the previous financial year.
- Couples can only have earned up to a combined $200,000 for the previous financial year
- You have to be buying a home to live in, not an investment property
- The price is capped, depending on which city or region you’re buying in.
In Brisbane, the Home Guarantee Scheme is capped at $600,000. The median price for Brisbane overall is nearly $800,000, so this price cap limits your options to some degree. But there are still a few suburbs within 20km of the city where you can buy a home for less than $600,000.
Domain.com has published a list of suburbs where you can live close to the city and still take advantage of the Home Guarantee Scheme:
Distance to CBD
|Acacia Ridge||4110||Brisbane West||$505,253||12km|
|Forest Lake||4078||Brisbane West||$547,000||17km|
Talk with an experienced broker to see what you can afford
Our team here at Hunter Galloway is here to help you buy a home in Brisbane.
Unlike other mortgage brokers who are just one person operations, we have an entire team of experts to help make your home loan journey as simple as possible.
If you want to get started, please get in touch here and we can book a phone call information session or a face-to-face meeting at no cost to you.
Further reading for Home Buyers…
- For our comprehensive guide for First Home Buyers, check out our Complete First Home Buyers guide.
- Looking at getting a loan? Check out our Complete First Home Buyers guide.
- Looking for more saving strategies? Check out our Strategies for First Home Buyers.
- Have less than a 20% deposit? Find out about Lenders Mortgage Insurance.
- And don’t forget the hidden costs of buying which we cover in detail here.