property ladder

Five tips that Helped us Climb the Property Ladder

This post has been written in collaboration with Templeton Property

Jacob and I were blessed to have a bought our first house in our early 20’s. We were engaged at the time and we had spent a good year and a half saving for our first house deposit. Often I would have friends and even my brother ask me how we were able to buy our first home so young, so I’m going to share with you 5 tips that helped us climb the property ladder.

1. We saved as much as we could for a deposit. Jacob was renting at the time with 2 other guys and I was living at home with my parents, rent free. I was earning a full time wage and I saved half of that wage each week into a high savings account. When Jacob and I got engaged we pooled our savings together and that became the deposit for our first home.

This photo was of Jacob and I in our first house after we had sold it.

This photo was of Jacob and I in our first house after we had sold it.

2. We did a lot of research. Jacob and I worked out suburbs that would fit with our current lifestyle. We based our chosen locations on availability of public transport as we had the one car and Jacob needed to get to the city for work. I worked at Salisbury at the time so needed to find an area that wasn’t too far for me to drive to work. We also didn’t want to be too far from our church, but we were happy to have a 20 minute drive as we were used to a 30 minute drive from my parents place. For us 20 minutes from church was closer and felt like a time luxury. After we chose a few suburbs that worked for our needs, we then looked at prices for houses in those areas. Some suburbs were immediately scratched off the list because they flooded in 1974. They flooded in 2011 too so I’m glad I listened to my parents advice regarding that.

3. We bought what we needed.  Being a couple, with no kids, we just needed a three bedroom, 1 bathroom and 1 garage house. It was what we could afford to buy and it was a mortgage we could afford to manage on our small full time wages at the time.

I found this flyer of our first home

I found this flyer of our first home

4. We visited a number of homes in the area we chose to live. For some reason I saw real estate agents as more for the seller, rather than the buyer, but a good real estate agent will work for the good of both. Working with a reputable real estate agent like Templeton Property ensures they can show you a range of properties they have listed within range of your budget.

dream house

This was our dream family house

5. We weren’t too picky. Sometimes your first home is a leap pad home. It’s a home you stay in for a while that has a mortgage you can manage so you can leap to your dream property. Jacob and I stayed in our first home for 3 years and made over $100,000 profit, which then became our deposit for our current family home. Some homes have the potential to be extended so look for those opportunities too. Unfortunately I’ve seen too many friends wait to find the right sized home in their preferred suburb, only to find they can’t afford it and have left it too late to afford the cheaper priced properties. Realising your first property won’t necessarily be your last is a good mindset when looking to climb the property ladder.

How old were you when you purchased your first home? Are you living in your dream home? Or do you prefer to rent?

This post has been written in collaboration with my Disclosure Policy.

  • We built our dream home and have been living in it ever since… and yes that happened in our mid twenties. Great story to share Bec, sometimes people get in a slump and think dream homes are simply unattainable – but they are not – you just need to be a little be clever and a little savvy with your money xx

    • I love your story too Josefa. Yes to being clever and a little savvy – it’s amazing where you can buy or build. x

  • My now husband and I both moved out of home at 17 and studied for 4 years and got stuck in the rental cycle. Rents rising rapidly meant less and less savings to put towards a deposit. Then we paid for our wedding. Then we travelled. Now, we finally have a home of our own. 😀

    • Love that Malinda. I think it’s important to remember it can take time to save for a house and there is no right time to buy… but sooner can always be better than later. x

  • It’s the deposit that holds us back. With rent and all we need to spend- groceries and bills and living life, there’s nothing left to save! One day…

    • It’s so hard to save when there are so many expenses. I hope you can get a house one day – providing it is your dream. Some people have no desire to own a home and that’s ok too. x

  • I didn’t buy my first place until I was in my early – mid 30s and it was after living o/s rent free and being able to save for my deposit!

    • Living rent free definitely helps with the deposit saving. But I also think that buying property isn’t the be all and end all. It’s great to get into the market earlier (if you can) but life happens and some dreams like travelling are more important to people than owning a house. For me though, I wanted the security of always staying in the one place with my family and to build memories in the one house. x

  • Being on one (currently part time) income means that saving for a deposit isn’t even remotely on my list of things, unfortunately. Having said that, when we were on two incomes we were excellent savers and we do live pretty frugally so I think if we had normal lives we’d be able to save and purchase fairly easily (as easy as it is for anyone, which doesn’t feel easy at all some times).
    Location though…I’m not willing to leave the beach! I know up the road from me in the housing development there would be much cheaper houses to buy but I have been in walking distance of the beach for most of a decade now and never want that to change. It’s good for the soul.

    • It’s true that there are deal breakers for some areas to live in – especially if you’ve grown up near the beach. I’ve always seen the temporary as a lily pad to gain where you really want to go. If you get what I mean? And as for living on one part-time wage – that must be super stressful Ness. xx

  • Geez you made a great profit on your first home. We’re getting ready to sell our first home but we’re going back to renting, inner. I want our kids to grow up in the burbs with all the fun we had as kids. Sadly my old suburb is one of Melbourne’s most prestigious suburbs now and we cannot afford to buy there! The irony! Still, home is where the heart is and I am going back.

    • I hope your house sells well Jody. And I love your reasons for wanting to go back. And the irony that it’s now a prestigious and I bet expensive area to live in now. xx

  • I can’t wait until we can upsize or rent this out and buy another property. It’ll happen within 5 years hopefully but only because we haven’t over-extended ourselves with this house we are in and built. And even if we don’t move I’ll live. x

    • I hope you can upsize or get the house you want Emily. So much can happen in 5 years too. You make a good point about not over-extending… although we over-extended ourselves a bit with our current home but we’ve paid a bit off the loan since living in it for 6 years. You can always downsize, but it’s always harder to build up. x Well that’s what my dad has always told me. Everyone’s story is different. x

  • So true, the sooner you can get on that property ladder, the better. I’m kicking myself for not working harder at saving. Or more to the point, not buying earlier, because I did save quite a bit and then lost a lot in the GFC as it was in shares. Ah well, live and learn…

    • The GFC hit a lot of people. Can’t live with regrets though. And I kick myself for not saving more.. but life needs to be lived too. xx

  • I cannot believe we were practically neighbours and never knew it!! Scott was super clever and bought his first property (an investment) when he was 19 and it’s now got less than $4,000 owing on it. It’s been a great help to us buying our first home together a few years before we got married and we luckily made a profit of around $140,000 when we sold it five years later.

    • We probably were!! I love your story. And you now live in a mansion! xx

  • You did things very smart Bec.
    We bought a unit a few years ago, but then it got too small and we had to move. Darwin property being what it was, we couldn’t’ get a house. Hopefully we will get to do that sometime in the not too distant future.

  • I was blessed to marry a young man who was very savvy financially (and had great encouragement from his parents). He had already bought a house (which was rented) while he lived at home; I didn’t even know about it until we were practically engaged! Like you it was a simple 3 bed, 1 bath. We both worked very hard early in our marriage, budgetted carefully and paid triple mortgage payments to get as far ahead as we could. As a result I was able to be a SAHM for 9 years once our kids came along. We are trying to encourage our kids to think about investing in a unit together, as we think it’s important to get started on the property ladder as early as possible … not having much luck though!

    • I love your story Janet. I wish we had thought to work hard to pay off the mortgage to our little house when we could… but sometimes when you’re young you want to be able to have fun too – so we saved to do some mini overseas trips. Hopefully your kids will understand soon.. but even if they don’t, they have to want to do it because no point committing to paying a mortgage if they aren’t committed to paying it off and have their loyalty else where – like saving to go overseas or whatever. xx

  • Templeton property!! I wonder if they are a long lost relative. I don’t know of many of us around. That’s some great advice you have there. I was 22 when I bought my house after saving very hard living with my folks just as you did. I love the home I’m in now, but don’t know if it’s my dream home 🙂

    • I thought of you when I was writing this post actually and wondered the same thing!! I love your current house – except the fact that it’s two storeys. I much prefer a house with no stairs. x