If you're a single parent buying a home, you may be able to use Centrelink payments to supplement your income.
Saving to buy a home is a difficult task for two people, especially when the couple has a dependent child. For single parents the task can be even more difficult.
Fortunately, a lender is interested in your capacity to repay the loan, not whether or not you are a single parent. If you have sufficient income and meet the lender's credit criteria, then there’s no reason why you can’t get a home loan. The question is how much you can borrow on a single income.
You will need to meet the usual home loan eligibility criteria. You will need a deposit, a history of savings and an income. As a single parent, though, you may have access to some alternative income sources that could help support your application.
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Using Centrelink payments as income
As a single parent, you may be eligible to receive the Parenting Payment from Centrelink, and most lenders will accept it as part of your income. In addition to this, you may be eligible for the Childcare Benefit, which is also an acceptable form of income.
The federal government also offers the Family Tax Benefit, depending on your income. Once again, most lenders will accept this as a form of income, depending on the age of your children.
If you're receiving child support payments from a former partner, these are also taken into account when assessing your income.
For a full list of the Centrelink benefits lenders accept as income, read our guide.
Tips for saving a deposit on a single income
Trying to put together a deposit for a home while raising a child on a single income can be difficult, especially as the costs of both are increasing. Take note of the following if you're looking for ways to save for a home and you're the provider for a dependent child.
- Government assistance. Single income parents may be eligible for the federal government’s Family Tax Benefit A & B, Parenting Payment and the Child Care Benefit. Government assistance can help cover the incidental day-to-day expenses and larger expenses like rent and child care, which can give you a little more room in the budget to save.
- How much do you earn? When it comes time to apply for your home loan, you will want to know how much you can borrow. A higher income means you can borrow more, and pre-approval will give you a ballpark figure. Once you’ve done a comparison of home loans, speak to the lender directly to find out whether parenting-related payments can be included on your home loan application.
- Budgeting. A budget is essential to any financial plan. List all the money you get, your income, and look at ways to cut down on the money going out. You can find out how to make a successful budget in our 12 Week Financial Fitness Challenge.
- Get a savings account. High-interest savings accounts are great if you’re saving for a goal, such as a mortgage deposit. Not only do the accounts let you earn interest, they also come with features to help you save. Automatic savings plans are a great way to save for a goal.
- Get the right home loan. Spend some time comparing home loans and find the loan that’s the right fit for you. The right loan charges less in fees and gives you the flexibility to change the features as your situation changes in the future. A comparison of fees versus features now will save you time and money later.
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You may want to look into getting a mortgage broker to help you. Mortgage brokers have an intimate knowledge of which lenders to approach to obtain a home loan for a single parent. They'll know which lenders will accept government assistance as a source of income, and will help you work out how much you'll realistically be able to borrow to avoid being rejected for a loan. Best of all, mortgage brokers generally obtain a commission from the lender, so it's a free service to consumers.
You can compare brokers below and if you're interested, you can click "Inquire" to lodge an obligation-free enquiry.