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How to use KiwiSaver for your first home

KiwiSaver can really give you a boost into your first whare. It’s a great way to help you save up a deposit. Here's what you need to know.

Did you know, you can use your KiwiSaver for your first whare? You can use it for your whole deposit, or as part of it. You might even be able to get a First Home Grant. Yeah, KiwiSaver is a great way to help you save money for your first home.

The first thing you'll need to make sure of is that you're eligible to use your KiwiSaver as a first home deposit. You'll need to have been a member for over three years to use it, you have to live in the whare you're buying, and you'll need to leave $1,000 in your KiwiSaver. Through KiwiSaver, you could even get a First Home Grant. That's up to $5,000 towards an existing home, or up to $10,000 for a newly built home.

So that's even more reason to use your KiwiSaver to help you get into your own place. And if you're buying a whare with someone else, you could both get the grant. So that's up to $20,000. That is great for whanau investing together. 
You'll want to know how much money you're on track to have for your first home. Check out the Sorted KiwiSaver calculator. Plus, it'll show you what a difference it might make if you increase your contributions. 
You can also get your KiwiSaver working harder for you and help you save even more by making sure your KiwiSaver settings are right for your house-buying goal.

Look at your contributions. You can increase your deposit by making the most out of your employer, government, and your own contributions. If you put in 3% of your pay, your employer matches that with another 3%, before tax. The government will also contribute up to $521 each year. You can decide to put in more, like 4, 6, 8, or even 10% of your salary. Or you can also make voluntary contributions as much as you want. The more you can contribute, the larger your first home deposit will be.

Check that the type of fund you're in is aligned to your goals. If you're planning to use your KiwiSaver balance in the next three years for your first home, it may be worth sticking to a more conservative fund. As you don't have time to ride the ups and downs of the market, you can change it to a growth fund after you've bought your whare.

Check out Sorted's KiwiSaver fund finder if you need help. As soon as you've made the decision to withdraw your KiwiSaver, change to a defensive fund to protect your deposit. This will make sure there are no losses to your deposit so the money is there to buy your whare. 

And on that note, you'll need to give your provider plenty of notice as this process can take a while. That's how to use KiwiSaver for a first home deposit. Check if you're eligible, find out how much your deposit could be, make the most out of your contributions, and protect your savings when you've made the decision to go for it.

Good luck.