4 finance tips every first-home buyer should know

Ready to make that commitment of buying your very first home? It’s an exciting and overwhelming decision to make - especially for a first-home buyer. As you enter the property market for the first time, there’s a few things you should know before diving in head first.

With the help of Home Legal, here are 4 finance tips you should know as a first-home buyer.

1. Determine your budget by knowing what money you have available to you

Before you begin house hunting, it’s important to understand what your budget is. You don’t want to get ahead of yourself before knowing what kind of house can actually afford. While you may have money in the bank, many first-home buyers can also receive funds from KiwiSaver, HomeStart grants, and mortgage loans to help secure the purchase of a home.

Once you’ve set a realistic budget based on what money you have available, you can start hunting for the right home that suits both your budget and your needs.

2. Figure out how much you can borrow

Talk to your bank or independent mortgage broker to figure out how much you can actually borrow. You’ll need to hand over personal information that identifies your assets, liabilities, income, expenditure and any other related information. They will look over all of this material to figure out how much they can lend you, and ensure that you can meet any loan repayments.

3. Talk to your KiwiSaver provider

If you’re a Kiwisaver member, you may have the opportunity to access your savings to help fund the deposit for your first home. If you’ve been a member for at least 3 years, talk to your KiwiSaver provider to see whether you’re eligible for the KiwiSaver first-home withdrawal.

4. Find out if you’re eligible for a grant

Another option for KiwiSaver members is the HomeStart grant. If you’ve been making regular contributions over a 3 year period, you may be entitled for the grant.

There are two HomeStart grants:


  • For purchasing an existing home, the grant is between $3,000 and $5,000 based on $1,000 each year of KiwiSaver membership.

  • For building or purchasing a new home, or for purchasing land to build a new home on, the grant is, in effect doubled to, $2,000 per year of membership in the scheme, up to a maximum of $10,000 for five years for each member.

Learn more about the HomeStart grant and whether you’re eligible for it here.

4 finance tips every first-home buyer should know