Do you know exactly what your essential living expenses are each week or month?
When you have a good grasp of your budget, you can work out how much money you can afford to save regularly.
Set a realistic target, aim to hit it by a certain date and remember that regular saving is more effective than relying on irregular one-off sums.
If you need a deposit of €25,000 and hope to buy in three years' time, then you’ll need to save around €700 a month.
If you can only manage to comfortably save €350 a month, then you’ll need to either push out your purchase plans or look for a cheaper property.2: Reduce your outgoings
If you’ve already looked at your income and your essential spending each month – things like the rent, utility bills, transport, food and medical expenses – then it’s time to see if you can cut back on any non-essentials.
See where you can save money that can be put towards your deposit, but remember not to cut everything to zero! Everyone needs a few of life’s little luxuries from time to time.3: Review market trends
Read the property pages and talk to estate agents in neighbourhoods you like.
Make notes of new up-and-coming areas that offer better value for money.
Keep on top of auctioneer sites online, register your interest for new developments and investigate neighbourhoods on the weekends.
Be open to looking beyond what you think you know and like.
After all, that dream home could be just around the corner in a post code you never considered before.4: View property sites
Register with all the big property sites and set up daily email alerts highlighting any new properties that have come onto the market.
Keep your search broad at this stage – don’t rule out a house just because you think you’d prefer an apartment.
Don’t select to view only three-bedroom homes when there might be a great opportunity to buy a two-bedroom and extend it.5: Get mortgage approval
Once your deposit is saved and all your paperwork is in order you’re ready to apply for a mortgage.
Once your loan is approved and you have a fully underwritten Approval in Principle, you can start property shopping for real.
For more information on getting mortgage ready and top tips, signup to get your First Time Buyer e-book today.