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Extra ways to get help with a deposit

This article is part of a fictional case study series following "Sarah", a typical first home buyer in Victoria. Read each article to follow "Sarah" through a variety of articles exploring issues related to buying a home.

Finally, Sarah got to the point where she started looking around for homes. But she was a little crestfallen - it seemed like it would take a little longer to save up.

But then again, Sarah didn't think about some of the ways she could get some assistance. There’s no doubt about it -saving up for a deposit in Victoria can be tough. Really tough. So there’s no shame in getting some extra help to get your foot in the door.

Take a look at some of the things Sarah did to save more money:

  • She decided to save a 10% deposit. Saving up for a 20% deposit in the Melbourne market is really tough, so many first home buyers only put down 10%. There’s nothing wrong with that at all – just be aware it means you’ll have to pay Lender's Mortgage Insurance (LMI).
  • Before starting to look for a house, Sarah made sure to live with roommates. Living with others or subletting a room – or even living with parents – can be a great way to save a lot of cash. It really adds up after a while, and remember – it’s only temporary.
  • Sarah asked to see if anyone would be willing to buy together. This isn’t for everyone, but plenty of people buy homes together. You could always see if a friend or relative is able to help put half the deposit up, in return for a proportional share in the equity of the house. 
  • Family gifts can be an option. These gifts are non-refundable, along with family security guarantees. Another option for Sarah and her parents is Bank First’s First Start Shared Equity Agreement (SEA). First Start is an ideal way for parents to help their child into the property market while protecting the interests of all parties.

Of course, not everyone has help with their deposit. But if you do have friends or family willing to pitch in, these ideas might be of interest.


Sarah doesn't love living with roommates, but it's just temporary until she gets her house. Putting up with a little pain now for bigger gain later is worth it.

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