It’s that time of year when – having had our fill of sunshine, beer and Christmas ham – we all get back to our usual routine, with a few grumbles about spending the fine weather at work and plenty of good intentions for how this year will pan out.

If you spent 2014 trying to get onto the property ladder, have you thought about what you’re going to do this year to make sure you’re in your first home (or a big step closer to it) by the time next January rolls around?

For many of our first home buyer clients, saving the deposit for their home loans is the largest obstacle they face. When a goal seems unattainable, it can be easy to let it slide… After all – what’s another year renting when saving that big fat deposit seems so damn hard?

If you’re serious about buying, it’s time to kick that attitude to touch. With a bit of forward planning, 2015 could be your year.

First home buyers – ready to get on with it? Here’s how:

If you’re truly serious about buying your first home in 2015, here’s what I reckon you should do:

1. Figure out exactly what you can afford to buy
Putting pen to back of envelope or running numbers through the banks’ online calculators will give you a general idea of what you can borrow but, if you’re serious about buying, you need more than a ballpark figure. Talk to a mortgage broker about what you can truly afford to borrow.

2. Work out what you can get out of KiwiSaver
How long will you need to save for to pull out a decent KiwiSaver home deposit? Just how much will you be able to pull out, bearing in mind you can’t touch the Government’s contribution? Is it worth waiting for the changes coming to KiwiSaver in 2015? All good questions that will affect both when you can afford to buy and what you can afford to buy, so it’s worth spending some time nutting out the answers.

3. Set a savings target
The amount you’ll need to save up for your deposit is the scariest prospect for many of the first home buyers I talk to. Get your head out of the sand, work out what the big hairy number is and figure out how you can save for it in a way that’s manageable.

4. Create a budget
I could tell you to stop buying shoes, give away the beersies and commit to a diet of baked beans, but that would be stupid. Stupid because that kind of budget is so restrictive that you’re highly unlikely to stick to it. The trick with budgeting is working out what you can afford to save while still having an enjoyable (albeit not extravagant) lifestyle.

5. Get creative
If you want to get into your first home sooner than you can save the deposit, it’s time to start thinking outside the square. Could you negotiate a pay rise at work, or find a weekend job for some extra cash? Do you have a sibling, partner or mate you could team up with to buy? Would the Bank of Mum & Dad be willing to spot you some money, or go Guarantor?

6. Don’t give up
When it’s the middle of winter and all your mates are planning a tropical getaway, stick with the plan… Check out your savings and savour how much you’ve accomplished (just don’t be tempted to blow it all on plane tickets).

Bottom line? 2015 could very well be the year that you buy your first home… Or not. It’s entirely up to you. If you’re serious about making it happen, give me a call – I’m still young enough to remember scrimping and saving for my first deposit, so I can help you figure out how to do the same.

You could also download my free e-book ‘The Bank Said Yes’ – it’s written with first home buyers in mind and its designed to give you all the info you need to get over the line.

About Campbell Hastie

Cam is one half of Auckland based mortgage brokers, The Go 2 Guys.

He makes a living by sharing what he knows about mortgages with people, arranging mortgages for people and then insuring people.

He doesn't claim to know everything about mortgages himself which is why he teamed up with David Mercer — hence the ‘2’ in Go 2 Guys.

He writes posts regularly on his blog and has been told he has an ability to share his knowledge in a simple and sometimes memorable way.

Feel free to comment and ask any questions. Contact Campbell Hastie m: 027 697 7789.

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