Life

Navigating the costs of owning your first home

16 October 2017

If you’ve only ever rented, buying a home can open up a whole new world of costs and expenses. Fortunately, there are specialists who can help.


Owning a home comes with its own special costs. In addition to the mortgage repayments, and utilities like electricity and internet, you may also need to pay the following:

  • Council rates – generally paid quarterly to the local council, these rates pay for garbage collection and maintenance of street lights and public areas.
  • Strata levies – payable each quarter for people who live in an apartment or townhouse. The levy covers the cost for a strata agent to manage the up-keep and repairs of shared areas which can include building exteriors, laundry, gardens, elevators and entryways.
  • Water rates – pays for water supply to your property.
  • Home and Contents insurance – can cover any loss or damage to the furnishing and contents inside a property.
  • Maintenance – money for ongoing repairs and maintenance on normal ‘wear and tear’ to a property. The cost of maintaining a house can include building and structural repairs, as well as gardens and roof maintenance.

Your biggest cost will more than likely be your mortgage and choosing the right mortgage can be about more than just the cost of repayments.

Flexibility and Features.

When it comes to features, a mortgage is still just a financial services product, and different lenders will generally offer different features such as ‘interest only’. They may also charge ongoing fees or require you to take up associated bank products like credit cards, everyday banking and offset accounts.

Choosing the right mortgage for you and your financial situation is an important step when buying your first home, so speak to an experienced mortgage broker or a financial adviser to see what the best home loan solution is for your circumstances.

A mortgage broker can help you identify mortgage options to suit you. They can also help you apply for a mortgage and you generally don’t have to pay an up-front fee for their help because they’re paid by the lenders. When you’re looking at a loan of up to 30 years, a mortgage broker could save you a lot of money by finding a mortgage with the features and flexibility best suited to you.

Buying a property is a step into the future, and income protection is a way to protect that future. If you find yourself temporarily unable to make mortgage repayments or pay bills because of injury, illness or redundancy, income protection insurance could help relieve that pressure.

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