The way house prices are now it's hard, isn't it? We were lucky that we bought our house nearly 7 years ago, when house prices were significantly cheaper than they are now. I don't think we'd be able to afford to buy this house now, as our first house.
When we bought this house it looked hideous. The kitchen was pink cupboards with purple benchtop, walls were painted a myriad of bright colours, carpet was badly worn, landscaping was awful.. but I saw the potential in it. I could see past the imperfections and could see it was a bigger house than others in that price range, and it was still a fairly new house and the only things wrong with it were cosmetic, but that turned a lot of people off, so we got it for a good price. I loved fixing our house up - renos can be done quite cheaply if you shop around, and the work has paid off.
We also bought in the area we wanted to live in, but not one of the "better" suburbs in that area. We are still close to all the shops and schools etc that we want to be near, but our house is better than what we could have bought for the same money in the next suburb over.
I'm only working part time and am about to go on maternity leave at half pay (as in, half of my part-time wage - so my weekly income will be virtually non-existant!
). We are also building a new house, so will have repayments on our block of land (we're lucky we got the land cheap-ish for $270k), plus building repayments (we're estimating $300k to build), plus the close to $300k mortgage we still have remaining on our current house - so that's a total mortgage of nearly $900k to pay out of hubby's average salary and my very, very low income!! Needless to say we can't afford it all without a lot of help, so we are very, VERY lucky my parents want to help us out so we don't need to sell our house until we move in to the new one, and we are lucky that our current house has gone up quite a bit in value and we'll have a decent profit from selling it, which will lower our mortgage on the new house.
We're also making sacrifices on the non-essential items we spend our money on. We are having less takeaway dinners, very rarely eat out, and haven't had a holiday in gosh knows how long. That being said though, we've never had a lot of disposable income, so we're used to living without it. Living in a nice (but still very modest) house was more important to us than other luxuries, so we were happy to pour as much of our income as possible in to buying our house.
Shop around for your bank/lender as well - what may look like only a tiny difference in interest rates can save you lots of $$.
Also, whenever we could afford it we paid extra on our mortgage. Those extra repayments, plus any amount that had already been paid off our mortgage through our regular repayments, could be redrawn at any time we needed cash, which has come in handy on a few occasions when we have had a pile of bills all come at once, or unexpected large expenses.
So I think to answer the question, how we afforded a house/mortgage was:
- Look for a cheaper house that has potential, or even factors that may turn others off - it may not be perfect when you move in but with a little bit of work it can be made in to a beautiful home for a lot less $$ than you would otherwise spend on buying it if it already looked fabulous
- Compromise on suburb
- Cut back on spending in other areas and really save, save, save! The less you have to borrow the more affordable your repayments will be
- And of course we had a bit of luck buying before the house prices jumped to what they are now!