Alex and Prue got a first home owner concession to buy property

“Oftentimes our conveyancer was atrocious with her availability and guiding us as first home owners through the process, so UNO would act in that role.”

With his own parents struggling to make ends meet when he was growing up, Brisbane-based marketing manager, Alex, says owning a home has been a goal of his since he was 16.

He toyed with starting his own business but hit a wall with the banks. “I found nobody was really interested in helping me come up with the cash to do that without any kind of collateral, without any kind of security,” he says. “So it dawned on me, that first goal I had when I was 16 is still the right way to start: it’s a cornerstone. Nobody really takes you seriously until you have that property to back you.”

About 18 months ago, Alex met his partner, Prue, who was also on the same trajectory. Her parents are long-time property investors and have owned a number of properties across South-East Queensland. “Their advice was, ‘get a feel for the market first. Go find out what your money can buy’,” says Alex.

“It’s absolutely about making sacrifices. If buying property is one of your goals, it needs to come first.”

Saving for a deposit

Alex, 24, says he really only started saving for a home in early 2016, once he started working full time. He was studying at the same time. “It was a massive, massive stress but it was also one of the biggest learnings of my life: managing my time,” he says.

In order to save for a deposit, he knew he had to be frugal with his money. He budgeted heavily, putting away the money he wanted to save first, then putting aside enough to cover rent and groceries. Anything left over, he allowed himself to spend.

“It’s absolutely about making sacrifices,” he says. “Everybody wants a nice car and to go out for dinner multiple times a week or a night out every weekend, but if buying property is one of your goals, it needs to come first.

“By no means do I mean lock yourself in a room to save money. You’ve got to find the balance. It’s like an elastic band effect, right? When you push or pull too hard, you will snap back … put the savings away first; spend after.”

He also looked at other ways he could make some cash, such as casual work on the weekend. “You can’t be too proud – especially as house prices keep on going up and up and getting further out of reach. If you want to get in and soon, all those little bits and pieces count.”

Alex was able to save 60% of his wage each week to finally came up with enough cash for a deposit.

Read: Tips to help you save for a home

The couple factor

While Alex and Prue were pushing each other to save as a couple, because they hadn’t been together that long, their plan was actually to buy separately.

But when Alex approached his bank, he hit a roadblock. Despite having taken out a couple of personal loans with them in the past, “they weren’t really coming to the party,” says Alex. “They were pretty strict on the LVR part.

Read: Explaining Loan to Value Ratios (LVR)

“On top of that, and I was pretty blown away by this, but basically because I’ve been with my partner for a year and a half, they just said, ‘unfortunately, having a partner is a liability. If your partner isn’t going on the loan, you don’t have enough money.”

Because Alex and Prue were living together, if Alex was to take out a loan on his own, Prue would be counted as a dependent. Every dependent you add on is going to reduce your borrowing power as dependents come with their own set of expenses. (Children are treated as dependents as they come with living expenses and school costs, for example).

Each lender has a slightly different way of working out living expenses and factoring dependents into one’s loan amount, but Alex’s bank said they would factor in an extra 30% to the cost of his living expenses and decrease his borrowing ability, “‘because if your partner ever went without work, you’d be expected to take care of her’,” explains Alex.

Rather than delay getting into the market any longer, Alex and Prue decided to take out a loan together. Combining their savings meant their deposit was much larger and they had two salaries with which to apply for a loan.

UNO versus the traditional broker

By this stage, Alex was talking to a broker. “I looked into the way brokers operate and, at the end of the day, they only have a couple of products that they really want to push – whether it’s because it gives them a better commission or that’s all they have access to.”

They had been property hunting for about six months and had found something worth putting an offer on.

“We were trying to get a pre-approval and the loan that [our broker] had selected to apply for – the bank really took their sweet, sweet time,” says Alex. “The broker had told us how much she was trying to push it through, but nothing was really happening.”

Alex decided they needed a backup plan. He was reading The Courier-Mail one day when he came across a reference to UNO Home Loans and decided to get in touch.

“I came to UNO quite late in the piece and said, ‘Listen, we’ve already got a broker and we’ve already got something in the works but we just want to find out our options’.” Alex spoke to Jessicaanne and Paul, then Remonda who handled the settlement process.

“And across that time we felt that having a dedicated rep for each step was the right approach. It was very quick, very efficient,” he says.

Alex and Prue ended up getting conditional approval for both loans. “Because UNO and ING had shown they were very efficient, very customer service-oriented, and we believe had the better offer, it was an easy decision,” says Alex. “We’re big fans of ING so that swayed our vote as well.”

Alex says he can’t speak highly enough of Remonda’s service. “Oftentimes our conveyancer was actually atrocious with her availability and guiding us as first home owners through the process, so Remonda would often act in that role. And she probably didn’t have to.”

Get in touch

Being first home buyers

While Alex and Prue were hoping they might be able to squeeze into the inner ring of Brisbane to buy, they would have been really stretching themselves, in addition to paying Lenders Mortgage Insurance.

Read: What is Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI)?

“LMI is somewhat of a fact of life for young people now.”

“LMI is somewhat of a fact of life for young people now,” says Alex. “But a 5% deposit is not exactly what you think it is. Say if you buy a $700,000 property, you might think you’ve got to have a minimum deposit of $35,000. But in reality, it’s $35,000 plus the LMI, plus legal costs, plus this and that, so you’re probably looking at something closer to the original 10% that you would have thought you needed for a deposit.

“You probably need to add $20,000 or $30,000 extra on top of a 5% deposit to actually acquire a house,” he offers by way of advice to others.

Alex and Prue dropped their limit back to under $550,000, which also made them eligible for a stamp duty concession. That changed the game a little bit.

“Everyone focuses on the First Home Owner Grant and a new property is great and all, but it’s often in areas that are developing – 20, 30 kilometres or more outside the CBD. Not a lot of people know that the first home owners concession still makes about a $15,000 difference.”

(Queenslanders can claim a first home concession for stamp duty when buying their first home if the home is valued under $550,000.)

Read: Stamp duty concessions for first home buyers

Living the dream

From the initial application to unconditional approval, Alex says the process took less than two weeks with UNO. “We just said, ‘Hey, how quickly can we make it happen?’ We had seven-day terms on our contract. The property was supposed to go to auction but we actually went private treaty on it, which was great as we weren’t feeling very confident about the auction process being first home buyers.”

Alex and Prue ended up buying a place about 20 minutes from the city in Wynnum, a short 15 minutes drive to the airport and with the potential to become a major hub. “And you’ve got the Bayside breezes. It’s the one of the only coastal towns in Metropolitan Brisbane,” Alex says.

Alex and Prue are living in their new home for now, but are thinking it could become the cornerstone of a portfolio, or their own business. “We’re both marketers and we would love to own our own agency or whatever it may be,” says Alex. “It’s something that not only can house a future family if we want, we could also make it into a great investment. It just ticks all the boxes.”

Book Call Now

UNO home loans

Need help with your home loan?

UNO Brokers are available night and day for a quick review or your situation and bring expertise that will support better decision making that will save you time and money. Book in a quick call when it suits your busy schedule

Get Started

Related Articles


What our customers are saying

Sally Mackenzie
February 19, 2024
We chose Uno Home Loans from their impressive web site knowing we were going to find it hard, on many fronts, to qualify for a home loan. We were incredibly fortunate to be assigned Mike Parsons as right from the get-go, despite the complexities, he hit the ground running for us. He was incredibly knowledgeable, with years of experience but what was immediately apparent and impressive was that he was totally invested in getting us over the line, doing absolutely everything possible, including working around the clock. Despite it being a relatively small loan in the order of things, Mike never missed a beat, getting docs ready, following up and answering every request from the proposed funder immediately. He kept us informed on progress the minute anything happened, and again if anything needed to be done, he was right on it. In short, we highly recommend Uno, and Mike, knowing what a remarkable job he did, over many weeks, to get us our loan. He got us a great deal, with far better rates than we expected, so we couldn't be happier. In fact, without doubt, you'd be hard pressed to find a more personable, sharp, hard working, dedicated professional who clearly prides himself on getting his customers standout results.
Read more
February 13, 2024
Scott and his team were just A-mazing. We felt supported through the whole process with the greatest quality and care. Every question answered right in time, or even before we asked. The process was smooth and we got the best outcomes we could have wished for.
Read more
Angela Biddle
February 6, 2024
Our mortgage recently came up for renewal, and with interest rates skyrocketing we were looking for ways to minimise the impact. Michael and his team were proactive and attentive. Michael spent time with us to understand our circumstances. He found mortgage options that worked with our current financial situation and longer investment plans. He presented clear options, providing guidance where needed. He and his team were helpful and responsive - streamlining the process and keeping us updated through the negotiations. In the end, Uno did the heavy lifting and secured a significantly better rate than our current bank offered, all with friendly, personal service. We would highly recommend UNO Home Loans.
Read more
Fotis Bikas
January 15, 2024
I cannot help but congratulate Scott Wilkinson of UNO Home Loans for being an absolute credit to both his company and the entire loans industry. Scott is a truly rare gem of a broker in that he will not only go the extra mile to achieve for each customer the very best deal, but his knowledge of all and sundry within the industry is unsurpassed (you will see what I mean if you speak to him). Additionally, Scott has a clear passion for imparting his wealth of information with each customer, whereas the conversation with most other brokers would simply be over if they could not get you the best deal. For me, Scott Wilkinson of UNO Home Loans stands head and shoulders above the competition and I feel privileged to benefit both from his expertise and professionalism whenever it is time for a refinance or new loan.
Read more
Tomoharu Matsui
January 11, 2024
Michael Parsons helped me a lot when it's difficult to establish my capabilities in loan.
Read more
Gillian Kearon
January 9, 2024
I highly recommend Mike Parsons as a mortgage broker. I couldn't fault the service provided by UNO. Thanks Mike!
Read more
Taner T
December 20, 2023
Thank you Eren Tan for the amazing service and support. Our Loan was a little tricky and complex for other lenders but Eren managed to get it over the line in record time. His professionalism and dedication to our needs was exceptional. If you need a Loan no matter how complex your situation, make sure you contact Eren at UNO Home Loans.
Read more
Karaipu Brown
December 20, 2023
Buying & selling a house at the same time is very stressful but Scott Wilkinson from UNO home loans made sure we knew what was happening & took most of the stress away. He always kept us up to date and if we had a concern or wanted clarification on something we were able to call him, if he didn’t know the answer straight away he will find out and contact us back.. now we are enjoying our new house and turning it into a home :)
Read more
Chris Anderson
December 18, 2023
Just completed my first loan with UNO which was so much easier than with other other brokers I have used in the past. Our broker MIKE PARSONS always had time for me and broke things down for me in the simplest of terms and was very patient with my silly questions and my constant changing of plans. I wish I had used them in the past as I wouldn't be in the situation I'm in now. Can't recommend them highly enough. Thanks UNO and Thanks MIKE 😊
Read more
Stephen Broomfield
December 11, 2023
To be able to recommend Scott Wilkinson for your mortgage broker was a privilege. We had deals fall through but Scott supported, guided and stuck with us, proper partnership. The whole team at UNO helped us and supported us right through to after settlement. Made sure everything was correct and how we are progressing. Communication was amazing and straightforward and easy to understand. Transparent. We can not Recommend Scott and the team as Uno high enough. Use UNO with confidence.
Read more
Tarek Hussain
December 6, 2023
Can't thank Amy enough for her hard work, dedication and determination on getting multiple loans completed for me. I wouldn't hesitate in recommending Amy and the Uno team to any of my associates. Will definitely be back in the near future!
Read more
November 3, 2023
If you’re looking for a trustworthy, thorough, reliable & knowledgeable Mortgage Broker then you must call Anita Callaghan! I can’t even imagine how stressful this process would’ve been without her. Anita went above and beyond to make sure she answered every question, responded to every text (even on weekends/after hours), and followed up on every detail to ensure we had all the info we needed. Anita is a true people person who is warm, empathetic, kind and supportive. You can tell she loves helping people and loves what she does, which is probably why she’s so good at it! Can’t thank you enough Anita, or recommend you more highly! You’re the best!
Read more