May 2024

Financial Planning for Doctors: 7 Tips When Preparing to Buy Your First Home

Published in Tips on May 30, 2024

Being a registered healthcare worker as a doctor can be a challenging and mentally taxing job. So, the last thing you will want to deal with is added stresses in your life such as buying your first home.

For this reason, it is within your interests to make sure you are fully prepared when the time is right for you to enter the property market.

But how do you do that?

Here are seven tips you should bear in mind when undertaking the process of becoming a homeowner.

1. Save Money for a Deposit

The first thing you will need to do if you want to buy your own home is to start saving for a deposit. And there is no better time to begin than now – even if you are not looking to buy just yet.

Doctors are quite fortunate because, unlike most other people, there are several companies that offer mortgages of up to 95% of the overall property value without the requirement of paying Lenders Mortgage Insurance.

This means that if you are looking to buy a house that costs $500k, you will only need to save up a deposit of $25,000.

By contrast, most other people who want to buy a home for the same amount will need to save up $100k as their deposit. Financial institutions tend to only offer them mortgages of up to 80% of the property value (without LMI).

Although they will need to save up the deposit, doctors wanting to buy their first home do have a distinct advantage over everyone else.

2. Develop a Budget

Once you’ve started saving, the next step is to establish how much you need to accrue before you would be ready to buy.

This will be dependent on several factors, but one of the main ones is how much of a deposit you will need for the property you want to buy. The best way to find this out is to research the housing market in the areas where you are interested in living. Doing this will give you a feel of how much, for instance, a two-bedroom duplex will cost you in your preferred suburb. From this you can work out what the 5% deposit for it would be.

On top of this, you should save an additional amount for any refurbishments you might want to do, as well as moving costs, legal fees and sundries like cleaning. It is also advisable to have a contingency fund squared away that can be used in case of unforeseen circumstances.

3. Get Rid of Any Debts

At the same time as saving money, you should also make a point of getting rid of any debts you have, such as a credit card, car or student loan.

If you have little or no debt, it will significantly improve your credit score, which will, in turn, improve your chances of having a mortgage application approved. 

4. Check Eligibility for Government Grants & Schemes

As an incentive to help people get onto the property ladder for the first time, the Australian government has made a number of grants and schemes available to those who meet certain eligibility requirements.

One of the main incentives is the First Home Owner Grant, which currently stands at $30,000 for those buying or building their first home.

If you are eligible to receive this or any other government grant, it could give you a significant push in your bid to become a homeowner.

5. Get Mortgage Pre-Approval

It is always a good idea to get pre-approved for a mortgage before submitting a bid for the property you want to buy. If you do this, it should make you a much more attractive candidate to the sellers and should also ensure the sales process goes through more smoothly.

There are hundreds of mortgage brokers out there you can choose from. However, as a medical professional, you should consider using a mortgage broker for doctors as doing this could help you to secure a much better rate.

6. Finding a Suitable Property

Once you have received pre-approval for your mortgage application, you can start looking for a new home.

You will probably have an idea of where you want to live and what type of property. Therefore, it is a good idea to browse realestate.com.au or talk to a few agents in the suburb you are interested in, to see what is available.

7. Putting in an Offer

Once you have found a place you like, you can make an offer for it. This offer should fall within your budget, as determined by the mortgage amount you have been pre-approved for.

Before you put in an offer, it is worth visiting inside the property two or three times at least. You should also drive past it at various times of the day and night and during different weather conditions to get a feel of what it would be like living there during these moments.