Mozo guides

What kind of homebuyer are you? A home loan strategy for all

Collage of a woman walking into her new home.

Not everyone is the same, and not everyone is on the same home-buying journey. That’s okay! There’s a wonderful variety of home loans to suit different needs. If you’re having trouble finding options that suit you, it could help to first discover your ‘type’.

So without further ado: what kind of homebuyer are you?

(Hint: you could be more than one).

First-home buyer

Collage of a woman thinking about a piggy bank because she's a first home buyer.

Gotta start somewhere! The first home-buyer (FHB) is looking for a foot in the door, usually to their dream home or a starter property, like a unit. They tend to be young but that’s not always true. You’re a first home buyer if:

  • You’ve never owned property before;
  • You want to;
  • And you’d like to live there. 

That’s it!

Good news, too: as a first home buyer in Australia, you may be eligible for government home-ownership grants like the First Home Owners Grant (FHOG) or the First Home Owner Deposit Scheme (FHODS), which can help bring down the cost of financing a mortgage. 

There’s also a whole class of first home buyer home loans tailored to the needs of people who haven’t bought them before. Many of these loans focus on offering exciting features, good value, and low-interest rates to eligible applicants. Compare what’s out there to see what’s available to you – the variety may surprise you!

Single income buyer

Collage of a single woman with a laptop among a cityscape.

Going it alone? Amazing. Independent spirits who take charge of their destiny can absolutely buy property, whether it’s their first, second, or tenth. (If it is your tenth, please tell us your secret). 

Single income buyers face some unique hurdles, though. It may take longer to save up for a 20% housing deposit and your lender might give your application some side-eye – after all, from a lending perspective, it’s hard to argue with the borrowing power of two incomes.

However, single buyers are still a significant demographic among property purchases, especially single women. So what are some strategies that can help?

  • If you’re a single parent, consider using the Family Home Guarantee (FHG), a government-backed grant to help lower the cost of home ownership. Other government grants like the FHODS and FHOG are also good options – you don’t need to be a couple to apply!
  • Consider buying with a smaller deposit. You don’t need a 20% deposit to take out a loan, but small deposits have pros and cons. For instance, high LVR loans often cop higher interest rates and the added cost of Lender’s Mortgage Insurance (LMI). Weigh up your options and discuss your situation with a financial planner. 
  • Ask someone to be your guarantor. This is where the Bank of Mum and Dad can come in handy. If your parents, relatives, or friends are willing and able, talk to them about becoming a guarantor on your home loan. Doing this can give your application a little extra “oomph” with the lender.

Professional couple or family home buyers

Collage of a two people talking about their joint tenancy home loan.

Buying property with the love of your life? Congrats! You’re already committed to each other, why not create a place to live? Many young couples and families both new and established have gone on the hunt in recent years for the dream home, checking off big-ticket items like more space, great locations, and…more room for pets?

Most couples and families also tend to be first home buyers, too, which means they could be eligible for government grant assistance. Huzzah!

Buying with someone – even if it’s your friend – still comes with lots of things to discuss. Sharing a mortgage with a partner means putting your salaries, lifestyles, and credit histories on the application, and you’ll need to decide how you want to split the payments and legal responsibilities. 

Some terms to know include joint tenancy and tenancy in common. In the former, both of you are equal owners of the property. With the latter, your ownership is split unequally.

For example, a tenancy in common mortgage can be split 80:20, 60:20:20, or any other ratio that suits your relationship. For this reason, tenancy in common is popular among groups of friends who decide to go in on a place together, while joint tenancy works for most couples. 

Every situation is different, however: the only thing that matters is you and your partner(s) are on the same page.

Financing a home loan with multiple salaries also doesn’t mean you can easily afford one, especially if you have kids. If you need some low-budget inspiration, here are three strategies to get into the property market.

Late bloomer (or boomer) home buyer

Collage of a middle-aged woman thinking about her home loan costs.

Maybe you’re an empty nester or a retiree. Perhaps you’ve been too busy until now, or you’re looking to downsize. But for whatever reason, you’re looking to buy a property later in life. That’s totally okay! Boomer home loans may not be the most flattering name, but plenty of Australians buy later in life and face unique challenges because of it. 

Since most home loans are designed to last at least 20 years, lenders will be interested in hearing how long you plan to work and how much money you’ll have in savings. If this is your first home, you may be eligible for government housing assistance, but if it’s not, it could be an uphill battle.

If you’re looking to upgrade or downgrade, there’s also selling your current home to consider. Right now the property market has plateaued, so it may be tricky to sell in a falling market. If you don’t own your place outright, selling with a mortgage has some needles to thread as well. 

However, if you bought wisely in a neighbourhood with good capital growth, you could be sitting on a nice profit. It’ll just be important to reduce the capital gains tax when you sell. 

Don’t forget to budget for home selling costs, too, like agent, auction, and property valuation fees.

Investor

Collage of a house with coin stacks on multiple levels.

Not everyone is looking to live in the place they buy. Maybe they want to expand their portfolios, enjoy perks like landlord tax breaks and rental income, or build up equity by buying in a cheaper market while living elsewhere (called rentvesting). 

If this sounds like you, congratulations: you’re a property investor!

Investment home loans are in a different category from everything else. Because they’re considered financially risky by lenders, investors cop higher interest rates, which drives up the cost of servicing your mortgage long-term. Investors aren’t eligible for first homeownership grants, either, so the funding is on you. 

In fact, thanks to all the rate hikes, investor activity in the property market cooled massively throughout 2022, which unfortunately limits the places available for rent. 

Luckily, many of the same tips and tricks for buying apply to both owner-occupiers and investors. If you’re waging an uphill battle of affordability, consider:

  • Buying with a smaller deposit.
  • Looking in a cheaper suburb outside of where you live. 
  • Investing in a unit instead of a house. 
  • Paying attention to capital growth in promising markets.

Don’t forget to compare landlord insurance!

Compare home loans below. For award-winning picks, head over to our best home loans hub.

Compare home loans - last updated 1 March 2024

Search promoted home loans below or do a full Mozo database search. Advertiser disclosure
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* WARNING: This comparison rate applies only to the example or examples given. Different amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees or early repayment fees, and cost savings such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan. The comparison rate displayed is for a secured loan with monthly principal and interest repayments for $150,000 over 25 years.

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Evlin DuBose
Evlin DuBose
RG146
Senior Money Writer

Evlin is RG146 certified for Generic Knowledge and has become a leading voice in finance news since joining Mozo two years ago. She is regularly featured in Google's Top Stories alongside major publications like News.com.au and Yahoo Finance, and seasoned journalists. Despite being in the industry for just two years, she is Mozo's go-to writer for all things RBA and her research has been referenced by the Victorian Government. With a Bachelor of Communications degree from UTS, where she won the Dean's Merit Award and acted as the Director of Student Publications.