For many, achieving the great Australian dream of home ownership is filled with a number of hurdles - the most significant being handing over a hefty deposit. As a result of the time it now takes to achieve that goal, many aspiring homeowners are searching far and wide for alternatives. Rent-to-own schemes are just one of a number of options available to help you break through the property glass ceiling.

Live-to-own: same concept, different name

Typically, rent-to-own schemes - or in the case of OwnHome, live-to-own - allows renters the option of purchasing the property they’re renting after a certain number of years, at a pre-agreed price.

OwnHome Co-Founder James Bowe said once OwnHome customers have been assessed and approved, OwnHome will help them to find, negotiate and purchase their property.

“Customers then take the keys and move in immediately while building their deposit through fortnightly payments,” Mr Bowe told Savings.com.au.

Mr Bowe said to get their foot in the door to achieve the great Australian dream, customers pay 3% of the value of their home, with 1% going back into their security deposit for their home.

“Compared to a mortgage, this is 85% less money required upfront,” he said.

“For a home valued at $1,000,000, this means customers pay just $30,000 upfront, compared to a traditional 20% deposit for a mortgage on the same home which would be closer to $250,000.

“When ready in the next two to seven years, our customers can obtain a mortgage from a mortgage provider, and once pre-approved, buy the home at the pre-agreed price with their deposit to become a homeowner.”

OwnHome covers legal fees, stamp duty, pest inspections, building reports and all other additional fees and taxes.

OwnHomeJamesBowe.jpg

OwnHome Co-Founder James Bowe - Image Supplied.

What homes can you purchase using OwnHome?

At the time of writing, OwnHome is currently available in Greater Metropolitan Sydney, Wollongong, Newcastle, Brisbane and the Gold Coast. 

OwnHome notes most move-in ready homes on the market are eligible for OwnHome, however there are some specific eligibility criteria regarding value, size and home conditions:

  • Free-standing houses, terraces, apartments, townhouses are eligible.

  • Studios, one-bedroom apartments, off-plan purchases and land-only purchases are not eligible.

  • Homes must be a minimum of 50 square metres.

  • Homes must not exceed up to two acres of land.

OwnHome repayments

At move-in

As mentioned previously, to ‘purchase’ the home under OwnHome terms, you are required to make a one-time upfront payment of 3% of your home’s value.

From there, 1% of your home’s value goes directly to your security deposit, which you can use to buy back your home in the future at the pre-set price.

Each fortnight

Once moved in, OwnHome customers make fortnightly repayments toward the home. OwnHome notes every time you make a payment, about a third goes towards your security deposit. This means each year you will save the equivalent of 2.5% of your home’s value. So, after 5 years, you will have roughly 13.5% of security deposit, equal to:

  • 12.5% of security deposit contributions via fortnightly payments

  • The 1% you contributed before you moved in.

For those wanting to save more, Mr Bowe says OwnHome customers can, of course, save towards their home outside of OwnHome and many choose to do so.

“We encourage all of our customers to make great financial choices while with OwnHome and this can speed up their journey to becoming a homeowner,” he said.

What happens if you cannot make your OwnHome repayments?

Circumstances change, so under OwnHome’s hardship policy, you can:

  1. Walk away from the home, and find a new rental, with no impact to your credit score. Typically in this scenario, your security deposit contributions up to that point are forfeited. 

  2. Activate OwnHome’s hardship process. Under this process, OwnHome will assess your financial circumstances to understand what has changed and identify means to help you chart a path out of your situation. If you are only unable to pay rent temporarily, then there are options such as extending your option agreement, or reducing your rate of security deposit contributions for a period of time.

Qualifying for OwnHome

Given each individual and their financial position is different, OwnHome notes each application is reviewed on a case by case basis. However, there are requirements to meet in order to qualify for OwnHome. These include:

  • A credit score of at least 600. All applicants need to pass a soft credit check—this won’t affect your credit score.

  • Banking statements. OwnHome notes 12 months of your banking transaction data will be assessed using XAI Validate, which safely and securely allows you to share your income and expenditure information.

  • Household income thresholds depending on the areas you are looking to purchase a home in, as well as whether you have dependents living with you.

    • OwnHome notes In QLD this is roughly $150,000 and in NSW roughly $180,000. You can add a co-applicant during the application process.

  • OwnHome will look for proof of three months of steady income.

  • Proof of identification.

  • OwnHome notes you don't need to be a citizen of Australia, but you do need to be on a path to permanent residency.

Why should you consider OwnHome to break into the property market?

Mr Bowe says despite recent falls, the prices for homes in cities including Sydney still remain well above pre-COVID levels.

“This means that the initial deposit needed to purchase a home will still be out of reach and require years of saving,” he said.

“While the current property market is volatile, our model means customers leverage the current house prices as their entry point while working with OwnHome to build up their security deposit without being as affected by external factors, such as rising interest rates.

“On average, OwnHome has bought all homes to date for at least 4% below the market guide - this is our special sauce.

“Using experienced negotiation skills and a rigorous valuation process powered by data and research, OwnHome does not make emotional purchases or overpay for properties, we typically bid on a couple of properties for each customer before finding the one that ticks all the boxes.”

Mr Bowe notes that in the unlikely event a customer decided not to continue with the purchase with OwnHome, bank-grade policies are in place to offer support through instances of hardship and life changes.

“From applying to choosing and purchasing a dream home, OwnHome acts with the utmost diligence and focus on helping customers make the right decision, rather than just getting them into homes at any cost,” Mr Bowe said.

“OwnHome provides a real chance for aspiring homeowners to own their own home.”

For more on OwnHome, check here

Article published August 28. Updated September 5, 2022.


Advertisement 

Buying a home or looking to refinance? The table below features home loans with some of the lowest interest rates on the market for owner occupiers.

Update resultsUpdate
LenderHome LoanInterest Rate Comparison Rate* Monthly Repayment Repayment type Rate Type Offset Redraw Ongoing Fees Upfront Fees LVR Lump Sum Repayment Additional Repayments Split Loan Option TagsFeaturesLinkCompare
6.04% p.a.
6.06% p.a.
$2,408
Principal & Interest
Variable
$0
$530
70%
Featured Online ExclusiveUp To $4K Cashback
  • Immediate cashback upon settlement
  • $2,000 for loans up to $700,000
  • $4,000 for loans over $700,000
5.99% p.a.
5.90% p.a.
$2,396
Principal & Interest
Variable
$0
$0
80%
Featured Apply In Minutes
  • No application or ongoing fees. Annual rate discount
  • Unlimited redraws & additional repayments. LVR <80%
  • A low-rate variable home loan from a 100% online lender. Backed by the Commonwealth Bank.
6.14% p.a.
6.16% p.a.
$2,434
Principal & Interest
Variable
$0
$250
60%
Featured Unlimited Redraws
  • No annual fees - None!
  • Get fast pre-approval
  • Unlimited additional repayments free of charge
  • Redraw freely - Access your additional payments when you need them
  • Home loan specialists available today
Important Information and Comparison Rate Warning

Base criteria of: a $400,000 loan amount, variable, fixed, principal and interest (P&I) home loans with an LVR (loan-to-value) ratio of at least 80%. However, the ‘Compare Home Loans’ table allows for calculations to be made on variables as selected and input by the user. Some products will be marked as promoted, featured or sponsored and may appear prominently in the tables regardless of their attributes. All products will list the LVR with the product and rate which are clearly published on the product provider’s website. Monthly repayments, once the base criteria are altered by the user, will be based on the selected products’ advertised rates and determined by the loan amount, repayment type, loan term and LVR as input by the user/you. *The Comparison rate is based on a $150,000 loan over 25 years. Warning: this comparison rate is true only for this example and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate. Rates correct as of . View disclaimer.

Image by Sidekix Media via Unsplash





Ready, Set, Buy!


Learn everything you need to know about buying property – from choosing the right property and home loan, to the purchasing process, tips to save money and more!

With bonus Q&A sheet and Crossword!

By subscribing you agree to our privacy policy