How single parents can get started
Being a single parent is a tough job and can really stretch the budget, but that doesn’t mean you can’t buy a home of your own. Nearly 20% of HomeStart customers are single with dependants, showing that with hard work and careful budgeting
– plus the right home loan – it is possible to have your own four walls to house your tribe.
Here are three tips to help single parents get started on the path to home ownership.
Know what counts as income
How much you can borrow is usually based on your total income and total debt commitments. Depending on which lender you speak to, this might include Newstart allowance or Austudy.
At HomeStart, you may also be able to use parenting related payments such as:
Family tax benefit parts A & B
Large family and multiple birth allowance
You may not be able to include the full amount of these payments as part of your total income and there could be conditions associated, such as how many children you have.
Maintenance and child support may also be included as income, but there are requirements around providing evidence that you receive these payments regularly and on a long term basis.
The best way to find out exactly what counts as income in your situation is to contact a loan consultant. They’ll be able to explain the ins and outs of how each type of payment is treated.
Decide on your priorities
Renting can be hard on families – kids and house inspections don’t always mix well, and knowing you might have to move when a rental agreement expires can erode your sense of security.
However, buying a home is a big financial commitment and finding the right place at the right price can be a serious challenge.
Many people on a single income looking to buy simply can’t afford a home that ticks every box at once, so you might still find yourself needing to decide what’s important. For example;
Is it more important to have a home in a suburb close to the kids’ schools or extended family, or a house big enough for everyone to have their own bedroom?
Is it more important to have a backyard and space to play or for you to be close to your work to cut down on commute time?
Is it more important to have a newer home that needs little maintenance, or a house that needs more work but has greater potential for you to increase its value?
Deciding on your priorities gives you a more realistic idea of what’s achievable right now.
Learn from people who’ve done it
Do you know of other single parents who’ve become home owners? Maybe there’s someone at your mother’s group or footy team who has been through it all before. There’s nothing like insider knowledge to help give you insight into how it can be done.
Ask around, many people will be happy to share their story for you and might even have a few tips of their own.
How to get started with HomeStart
To be eligible for a HomeStart home loan, you will need:
to be buying a home in South Australia, for residential use only
to be an Australian citizen or hold Permanent Residency or skilled migrant status in Australia
to be over 18 years of age
$3,000 of savings held for at least three months, or twelve months of good rental history.
Other criteria may apply, depending on which loan you choose.
The type of things we will ask you about when you call to get a quote will be:
details of your income (e.g. salary and/or Centrelink income)
if you’re employed, your employment type (e.g. full-time, part-time, casual, contract)
details of your debt commitments (e.g. personal loans, car loans, credit and store cards).
You can find out more about some of the costs involved with buying a home here or just give us a call on 1300 636 878.
Want to see how someone else started over on a single income? Watch Moira’s story to see how she achieved her home ownership aspirations.