What do you need in a first home?

So you’ve made the decision to purchase your first home - well done! You might be thinking to yourself “Now, what’s next?”

It’s natural to get excited and jump into looking for properties, only to be disheartened by finding out that your dream home isn’t in your budget just yet, or you can’t afford your ideal suburb. To help you take control of your property-seeking journey, it’s important to establish what you need in a home, rather than what you want. Here are three things to consider.

What do you really need in a home?

You probably love the idea of a pool, underfloor heating and a large kitchen – most of us do. Unfortunately, these might not be the most realistic goals for a first home buyer. As you’re stepping onto the property ladder for the first time, certain luxuries can price a home out of your budget.

Think about the things that are ‘make or break’ here - consider the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need, whether you need a garage or off-street parking, and how important having a big backyard really is. Think about the ideal suburb you’d like to live in, or if you’d be willing to sacrifice a quick commute to work for a larger or nicer home further out of the city. Write these all down, so you have a comprehensive list of your needs in a home, to help narrow down your selection.

What kind of property are you looking for?

Houses, apartments or new builds - there are plenty of options, so what is right for you? Depending on what your list looks like, think about the pros and cons of each option. For example, if you’re looking for a place close to the city so you can walk to work and you want a home that doesn’t need much work, an apartment could be right for you. On the other hand, if you’re happy to live a little further away from work and want to invest time into renovating a property to make it your own, a house could be your perfect move. Make sure you think about the future too - will the property still be right for you in five years, or are you looking to use this as a stepping stone into your next home?

Are your finances in order?

With all your needs and wants in a home sorted, you’ll have a much clearer picture of what you’re searching for. The next step is figuring out how much of a deposit you need. Start by taking a look at average asking prices for homes in your desired area in our monthly NZ Property Report, and then read these tips for getting your deposit.
If you’re short on money for your deposit, make sure that you see what support schemes you could be eligible for. You could qualify for a First Home Grant which can provide up to $10,000 per person towards your deposit, or you might be eligible for the First Home Loan scheme, which could get you a loan with a deposit as low as 5% depending on your circumstances. If you’re lucky enough to qualify for both schemes, you’ll be that much closer to securing your first home.

Ready to start searching for your dream home? First, check out whether you meet the qualification criteria for the First Home Grant and First Home Loan at kaingaora.govt.nz/firsthome, and then begin your property hunt on realestate.co.nz.

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