Our five-step guide to owning your own home

Hey, what do you want? Like, really, really want? If you’re similar to a lot of young Australians, you might want to own your own home (psst – this could be a great wealth-building idea as well as a lifestyle decision). But where do you start? What do you do first? We’ve got you covered. So take five – steps, that is – along your new path towards your first home.

Step 1: Dreams come in all shapes and sizes

Think about the type of home you want and where you’d like to live. Go on, dream a lot, not just a little. Without this important ‘thinking step’, it can be harder to reach your goal. After all, if you don’t know what you want, how will you ever get it? Of course, we don’t mean the street or the apartment number (or maybe some of you already have these in mind). But picture the property type and location of your first home, one that’s going to suit your lifestyle and values. Relax, nothing is being locked in! You’re just planning at this stage.

Step 2: Gather your intel. Be a step ahead of the rest

Scan the real estate advertisements and sales results for the neighbourhoods you like (and keep a watch on adjacent areas). This’ll give you more insight about prices for the various types of homes and locations. Introduce yourself to a couple of local real estate agents to get an even deeper understanding of prices, trends and little quirks of the ‘hoods’ you’re considering. Local agents are a great way to learn what you can get for your money. Work out how much you may be able to borrow based on your income and expenses with our online borrowing power calculator.

Step 3: Ready, set, goal! Set your savings target

Now that you’ve got a price range, it’s time to set your savings goal. Now is a good time to learn more about LMI and how much your loan repayments might be depending on your deposit amount.

Speak to a lender and understand how much LMI you might have to pay and decide if you’re comfortable paying for this. If you are, it could mean your savings target for a deposit is 5% or 10%. If you decide LMI isn’t for you, you’ll most likely need a deposit of 20%.

Use our online repayment calculator to estimate how much your repayments might differ if you have a smaller or larger deposit amount.

Doing both of these things will help you decide on your savings goal

Step 4: Budget – your way. Find out your savings ability

Great, you’re on a roll. Now let’s plan to reach that savings target. Warning! This step is a lot less exciting than browsing real estate ads, swanning through home inspections and visualising your new lifestyle. It’s about finding out how much you earn and how much you spend – and we mean really spend, not just what you think you spend. Yep, you guessed it: it’s budget time. Get out the spreadsheets, notebooks, bank statements or online budgeting tools (like our budget calculator) and make a list of all your expenses and all your income.

Now is also a good time to set up a dedicated savings account for your deposit. If you’re an ING customer, you can open a Savings Maximiser and call it something like ‘My first home’ or ‘#HouseGoals’. Don’t be shy – get personal with it! A strong nickname will help your goal stay at the front of your mind every time you make a deposit.

Step 5: Mind the gap. Estimate your savings journey

Congratulations! You really are on the home straight (pun intended). The gap between your income and what you spend is your savings ability – and it’s going to be the backbone of your savings plan. Let’s say you have $200 left over each week, or perhaps $1,000 a month. Divide your estimated deposit by your savings ability and, hey presto! This gives you the number of weeks or months it’ll take to achieve your deposit. (Psst: if online tools are your thing, you could also try plugging the numbers into our savings goal calculator.) Fist bump! You’ve successfully identified and planned your home deposit savings goal.

But, hang about, just a last word. Don’t be disappointed if you find your savings ability is smaller than expected or that it may take longer than hoped to reach your goal. This knowledge is power! These first five steps not only give you a goal and a plan but can also help you set your values and priorities. Can you reduce your expenses? Can you increase your income? Or can you look in a different price range? Being prepared for these choices puts you a step ahead of most savers. And don’t worry, we can help with that, too. We have plenty of tips and suggestions to help boost your savings and fast-track your first home deposit goal.

For now, however, sit back and relax. You’re on your way. By following these five steps, you’ve laid the floorplan, the foundations and the building blocks (okay, too many home-related puns) for your journey towards your first home.

The information is current as at publication. Any advice on this website does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs and you should consider whether it is appropriate for you. Deposit products, savings products, credit card and home loan products are issued by ING, a business name of ING Bank (Australia) Limited ABN 24 000 893 292, AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 229823. ING Living Super (which is part of the ING Superannuation Fund ABN 13 355 603 448) is issued by Diversa Trustees Limited ABN 49 006 421 638, AFSL 235153 RSE L0000635. The insurance cover offered by ING Living Super is provided by Metlife Insurance Limited ABN 75 004 274 882, AFSL 238096. ING Insurance is issued by Auto & General Insurance Company Limited (AGIC) ABN 42 111 586 353 AFSL Licence No 285571 as insurer. It is distributed by Auto & General Services Pty Ltd (AGS) ABN 61 003 617 909 AFSL 241411 and by ING as an Authorised Representative AR 1247634 of AGS. All applications for credit are subject to ING’s credit approval criteria, and fees and charges apply. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement, Terms and Conditions, Fees and Limits Schedule, Financial Services Guide, Key Facts Sheet and Credit Guide available at when deciding whether to acquire, or to continue to hold, a product. Before interacting with us via our social media platforms, please take a minute to familiarise yourself with our Social Media User Terms.

In relation to our credit products, you should consider our Terms and Conditions booklet, Fees and Limits Schedule, Credit Guide and Key Facts Sheet available at when deciding whether to acquire, or to continue to hold, a credit product.

Did you find this page helpful?