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While buying a home is exciting, knowing where to start can be a setback for many first-time buyers, which led state-owned lender HomeStart Finance to create a new online tool to ease some stress.
The South Australian government-backed online program, Home Buyer Ready, provides a series of 15-minute “bite-sized learning modules” to help potential home buyers gain knowledge on the home-buying process.
It comes following HomeStart’s research that found “lack of understanding” of the home-buying process was rated as one of the “top three barriers” when taking the next step towards home ownership.
The survey revealed 73 per cent of participants rated applying for a home loan as the “most stressful aspect” of buying, while the most important information sought after related to “fees and charges”, knowing what they could afford and understanding repayments.
Chief executive Andrew Mills said its research showed people find the steps to buying a home can be “onerous and difficult” to navigate, leading potential buyers to start and stop the journey several times.
“In a rising market, these delays might ultimately cost them more or lead to missing out on the home they really want,” Mr Mills said.
“People drop out for reasons including being unsure of their budget or price range, they’re not sure what to do next, or the words are confusing, and all this can make the whole process feel too difficult.”
Mr Mills said many people often wonder whether they have saved enough money for a deposit, which loans are available and whether they qualify, or whether they can access any concessions, grants or other assistance.
“Home Buyer Ready is a way people can gain the knowledge to navigate all those steps and have the confidence to move forward with home ownership sooner,” Mr Mills said.
“Our Home Buyer Ready program takes them through those steps to ensure they are just that – ready to buy a home.”
The program provides a series of blogs and videos with comprehensive sets of information, from budgeting and saving for a deposit to affordability requirements, types of loans, pre-approvals, house hunting and building inspections.
Uptick in SA state-backed home loan scheme
The South Australian government had previously reported “significant demand” in government-backed loans covering upfront property costs in South Australia for the 2022 financial year, with low-moderate income earners seeking HomeStart Finance’s Starter Loan scheme.
The Starter Loan provides interest-free and repayment-free loans of up to $10,000 for five years to borrowers, to cover the upfront costs associated with buying or building a home, such as stamp duty, fees, and charges.
The scheme operates in addition to the state government’s $15,000 First Home Owner Grant, for buyers who build new homes.