With house prices continuing the steady march upwards and the challenge to overcome upfront purchase costs as great as ever, buying a home isn’t likely to get any easier in 2015.


However, the good news is there are many parts of the home buying process that potential purchasers can directly control, and a new year provides the perfect opportunity to take command.


The first step in getting your home buying plan on track is to set yourself a very clear goal to work towards. In order to do this, you will need to consider factors such as the suburbs you would like to live in, whether you would like to buy an established home or build a new home, and then work out the likely costs involved.


Be realistic in your goal setting. Understand what you can afford in the area you want to live, as well as the features that are essential to your needs and those that are non-essential. You should also be willing to compromise, which may mean widening your suburb search area, or compromising on features you want in your home.


An important part of your goal setting will be to understand the financial aspects of the purchase. This will include how you are going to fund the purchase, how much you can borrow, how much you will need to contribute upfront for the costs such as the deposit and stamp duty and whether you are entitled to any financial assistance like grants or rebates.


Thorough research is essential when considering your finance options. This will not only keep you motivated towards your goal, but could also save a significant amount of money. There are thousands of different home loan options available, so shop around and get to know the different products. Low deposit options or those that increase your borrowing capacity could help you get into the house you want much sooner than expected.


Once you have a clear picture of what you want to achieve and how much it will cost, set a savings target and start working towards it. Have a regular amount automatically transferred into a savings account from your pay. This will put you on track to achieve your goal, but it will also instill the discipline required to meet regular mortgage repayments.


An important part of any savings plan is to take control of your spending. By documenting your spending, you’ll be able to see where your money is going and then work to minimise unnecessary expenditure. Understand that you may have to make some sacrifices to reach your goal, such as reducing the amount you spend on activities such as socialising and eating out.


As you work towards your goal it is important you remain active in the search for a property. Attend open inspections, compare house features, talk with real estate agents and use online tools to track trends in the market - this is the fun part!


It will ensure you remain motivated in your search, but also increase your knowledge and give you confidence when it comes time to buy.