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The ultimate Australian home buying guide

Woman and man relaxing on the couch of their new home.From suburb research to finance, signing contracts and moving in, we can guide you through the entire home buying journey.

As life decisions go, buying a home is one of the biggest. It's a complex, nerve-wracking process requiring a thousand decisions big and small along the way. But you don't need to panic: we've broken down the whole experience into six clear steps to make it easy for you.

You can read the whole thing or skip to the section that you need. You can also get in touch with real estate agents or compare finance in the table below.

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Home buying 1

Lifestyle check


Home buying step 1 teaser

In this introductory section, we discuss how you can undertake a preliminary lifestyle check to see if you’re ready to buy.

home buying 2

Suburb research


Home buying step 2 teaser

Amenities, infrastructure, and suburb character are just some things to consider when it comes to selecting a postcode. In section two, it’s all about location.

home buying 3

Property type


Home buying step 3 teaser

From design to structural integrity to eco-friendliness, this section covers everything you need to know when choosing a property type.

home buying 4

Comparing finance


Home buying step 4 teaser

In section four, we outline the steps you need to take to get finance ready. We explain how home loans work and what you can expect to pay.

home buying 5

Purchase preparation


Home buying step 5 teaser

Learn about purchase methods, making an offer, how contracts of sale work and what your rights as a property owner are in section five.

home buying 6

Moving into your home


Home buying step 6 teaserBefore moving day, there are a few things to organise. Research the body corporate or local council, book a removalist and get your utility accounts sorted.

On the look out for a property?

Rates last updated June 22nd, 2018
Details Features
Domain
Domain
Domain is one of Australia's leading real estate listings site. You can find properties to buy and rent on Domain, or list your own properties to sell. Nationwide listings for buying or renting homes Go to site

What are the costs of buying a home?

Stamp duty, mortgage registration fees and legal fees are just some of the costs associated with buying a property. Use our calculator and drop-down menus below to learn more about the variety of costs needed to buy a home.

You will need to obtain a quote from a third party for the following fees.

  • Conveyancing - There are no set fees for this, which is why you need to obtain a quote in writing from your conveyancer. You will need to be able to provide the details of your transaction.

  • Building and pest inspections Pre-purchase inspections will reveal whether the property has had any structural or other issues which may cause problems further down the track.

  • Surveying fees - Surveying can help confirm the location of the buildings on the property and their boundaries. This is useful if you want to build fences and to confirm there are no encroachments onto the property by your neighbours.

  • Getting utilities connected - If you want to ensure that you have gas and electricity available and check the quality of it at your new property, then it may be worthwhile getting your utilities checked. Gas will need be reconnected in your name.

  • Removalists costs - This will vary depending on where you're moving to and the distance needed to travel. You also need to consider the quantity of the furniture and whether or not the removalists will be packing the furniture for you.

  • Home and contents insurance - Speak with your insurance agent so you understand what type of insurance you need. It is recommended that you take out cover before settlement and if you are borrowing money your lender will require a building insurance policy noting their name as mortgage. Learn more about home and contents insurance and how it might help you.

You will need to consult with your state/territory revenue office for certain fees.

  • Mortgage registration fee - This is in addition to land transfer fees and is a government charge. It also covers the charge to register for the mortgage documents and is paid on behalf by your lender.

  • Mortgage transfer fee - Whenever a property is transferred to another owner a document called 'Transfer of Land' needs to be lodged and registered with the State Titles Office according to your State. It is a record of the change of ownership and the cost will vary from state to state.

  • Land tax - You are liable to pay stamp duty to the government if you buy land, which includes the buildings. The amount varies from state to state and is based on the valuation or the property price, whichever is greater.

  • Application fee: This is charged by your lender to process a loan application.

  • Settlement fee: This covers the cost of transferring funds from your lender to you, and should include GST.

  • Valuation fee: Your lender will need to have your property inspected by a registered valuer to estimate its market value.

About tips for first home buyers in Australia

Lenders mortgage insurance (LMI)

Most lenders require you to pay LMI if you have less than 20% deposit for a full documentation home loan. Depending on the lender, you can pay LMI upfront or it can be capitalised into the loan.

LMI protects the lender in the event that you default on your home loan. Typically you will pay LMI on your home loan if you are borrowing more than 80% of the property value on a full documentation loan, or more than 60% of the property value on a low documentation loan.

To determine how much the lenders mortgage insurance (LMI) premium is, you need to contact the lender who's providing you with the loan.

FAQs about buying a property

If you are in any doubt about the asking price of a property, look at the asking prices for similar properties in the area that are up for sale.
The amount you can borrow will depend on your income, assets and liabilities. To get an idea of your borrowing capacity, use this calculator.

A buyer's agent is an expert that acts solely for the buyer. Buyer's agents usually charge a fee, so affordability will be one of the deciding factors.

Learn more about buyer's agents

It is possible that you will do a title search and find that there is a caveat on the property, which means that another person or company has an interest in the property, such as a company that has issued a secured loan against the property. You need to look into this and make sure that it is removed before you make any commitment.
In most areas it is solicitors that will arrange this. However, specialist surveyors can do it in some areas and there are even DIY kits available in some states. However, most people prefer to use a professional for peace of mind rather than opting for DIY.
It is best to have cover begin when you exchange contracts, which means that in the run up to settlement you need to be looking at insurance providers, comparing costs and cover, and have an insurance plan and provider in place ready for the day you exchange your contracts.
You should look at a number of things such as the rate of interest charged, the amount you will be able to borrow, the choice of repayment terms on offer and any upfront costs associated with the mortgage.
This will depend on the lender you go through and the amount of money you borrow, but you will normally need a deposit of 20% of the value of the property you're buying.

This can be helpful, as it means that you will be approved in principle before you start looking so you know exactly where you stand.

It's also a good idea to check your credit score before applying. You can apply for a free credit check here.

Before you start looking at houses, you should work out whether you can afford all of the associated costs, particularly if it is your first home. This includes bills, food, insurance costs, living costs, travel/vehicle costs, mortgage, and any other financial commitments you may already have.

Start comparing home loans now

Rates last updated June 22nd, 2018
$
Loan purpose
Offset account
Loan type
Your filter criteria do not match any product
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp Rate^ (p.a.) Application Fee Ongoing Fees Max LVR Monthly Payment Short Description
3.69%
3.69%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Enjoy flexible repayments, a redraw facility and the ability to split your loan. Plus, pay no application or ongoing fees. Get $1,000 cash into a USaver account when you apply for a loan of $200,000 or more (new or refinance). Terms and conditions apply.
3.64%
3.66%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Pay no ongoing fees and enjoy a flexible repayment schedule, including the ability to make unlimited additional repayments without penalty.
3.69%
3.69%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
Pay no application or ongoing fees and get a flexible loan with the ability to split up to 6 times.
3.69%
4.11%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
Save on interest with a 100% offset account and save on other ME products with this package loan.
3.49%
4.49%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
Loans over $150k get a discount off an already low fixed rate. Available for NSW, Qld and ACT residents only.
3.52%
3.53%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Go from application to approval in as little as 20 minutes with a variable rate loan from this innovative online lender. Add a 100% offset account for $10 a month.
3.89%
4.88%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
Low deposit package loan with a range of discounts. Earn up to 500,000 Velocity Points to spend on flights, hotels and more.
3.69%
3.70%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Package your loan and get an interest rate discount, a 100% offset account and help from an HSBC relationship manager.
3.72%
3.74%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Save on interest by taking advantage of a 100% offset account along with no ongoing fees or application fees.
3.64%
3.67%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
This loan offers a competitive variable rate and a 100% offset account to help save you on interest repayments.
3.73%
3.76%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
This basic loan offers discounts for higher borrowing amounts and carries no ongoing fees.
3.64%
3.67%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A mortgage with a competitive variable rate, limited fees and plenty of flexibility.
3.79%
3.79%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Pay no application and ongoing fees with Macquarie Bank Basic Home Loan.
3.54%
3.58%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Eligible borrowers can get $900 cashback on this loan with a 100% offset account and a redraw facility.
3.84%
3.87%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Save on interest with a free 100% offset account and buy your property with just a 10% deposit.
3.49%
3.52%
$500
$0 p.a.
95%
This mortgage combines a very sharp interest rate with a 100% offset account and it's available with a 5% deposit.
3.99%
4.85%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
Competitive fixed rate package loan. For a limited time you can earn Velocity Points to spend on hotels and flights.
3.65%
3.66%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
This special rate mortgage has no ongoing fees and offers flexible repayments. Save $595 in establishment fees before 30 June.
3.68%
3.83%
$0
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
80%
Get a 100% offset account to save on interest charges, and pay no application fee.
3.68%
4.00%
$0
$299 p.a.
80%
Get a 100% offset account and rate discounts for higher borrowing amounts.
3.69%
3.74%
$600
$0 p.a.
80%
Family guarantee option available. Enjoy flexible repayments and a low minimum loan amount.
3.62%
3.62%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
A low deposit mortgage with a competitive rate and plenty of flexibility. QLD residents only.
3.62%
3.62%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Pay no application or ongoing fees and get access to a redraw facility and flexible repayment schedule. Get $1,000 cash into a USaver account when you apply for a loan of $200,000 or more. Terms and conditions apply.
3.64%
3.69%
$600
$0 p.a.
80%
A competitive variable rate for borrowers with a 20% deposit or more. Guarantor option available.
3.64%
3.64%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
Get a discount for keeping your LVR at 70% or below with this innovative online lender.
3.70%
4.13%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
Package your loan with an eligible credit card for discounts on rates and fees, and get a 100% offset account.
3.74%
3.74%
$0
$0 p.a.
110%
Pay no deposit or LMI and get a discounted rate with this family pledge loan. Requires a family member to act as guarantor. NSW, Qld and ACT only.
3.64%
4.02%
$0
$349 p.a.
90%
Package your loan with other AMP products and save on rates and fees.
3.68%
4.00%
$0
$299 p.a.
80%
Get a 100% offset account and rate discounts for higher borrowing amounts.
3.78%
3.78%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Pay no application or ongoing fees and get access to a free redraw facility with this innovative online lender.
3.96%
3.98%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
For a limited time, pay no application or settlement fees. You can also take advantage of a free redraw facility.
3.79%
3.83%
$600
$0 p.a.
80%
A low interest rate loan with limited fees and a redraw facility. Principal and interest repayments only.
3.59%
4.14%
$395
$0 p.a.
80%
A one year fixed rate offer with no ongoing bank fees.
3.64%
3.96%
$0
$299 p.a.
80%
Get a fully-featured loan with a 100% offset account and discounts for higher borrowing amounts.
3.69%
4.47%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
A fixed rate loan with a 100% offset account and the option to make additional repayments. Loans over $150k receive a discounted rate. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
3.69%
4.13%
$500
$0 p.a.
95%
Competitive 3-year rate for homeowners. Comes with a low deposit option and 100% offset account.
3.99%
3.74%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Borrow up to 90% of the value of the property you're buying, and pay no application fee.
3.83%
4.49%
$0
$299 p.a.
95%
Owner-occupiers can enjoy a discounted fixed rate, a rate lock feature and the ability to make additional repayments.
3.68%
3.69%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
This variable rate loan offers flexible repayments and a redraw facility. Available with a 5% deposit.
3.74%
3.74%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
New customers can get a discounted variable rate and a fee-free redraw facility. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
3.64%
3.84%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
Enjoy all the benefits of the Basic Home Loan and take advantage of an offset account.
3.68%
3.69%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Get one free online redraw per month and pay no ongoing fees. Application fees are waived for loans above $150,000.
3.77%
3.81%
$200
$0 p.a.
95%
A simplified mortgage with a low interest rate and a redraw facility.
3.79%
3.79%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Get a 100% offset account and pay no application or ongoing fees on this special variable rate for owner-occupiers.
4.09%
4.12%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Access a fee-free offset account and a special interest rate for investors.
3.69%
4.09%
$600
$395 p.a.
95%
A package loan that offers discounts and a 100% offset account.
3.87%
3.87%
$0
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
90%
Get Virgin Velocity Points at settlement, monthly and every three years, plus the option to make up to $10,000 a year in extra repayments.
3.69%
3.94%
$0
$248 p.a.
70%
Get a sharp rate and a 100% offset account. Borrowers must have a 30% deposit.
3.79%
3.80%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Investors can go from application to approval in as little as 20 minutes with this innovative online lender.
3.89%
3.89%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
Investors with a 30% deposit can get this low rate loan to fund their property portfolio.
3.99%
5.17%
$600
$0 p.a.
90%
Competitive rates for fixed for 3 years with redraw facility.
4.14%
4.17%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Investors can easily access their equity using BPAY, a debit Master Card or cheque book with this interest-only line of credit.
3.59%
3.99%
$600
$395 p.a.
95%
Get interest rate discounts and waived fees on this package loan with a 100% offset account.
4.15%
4.76%
$600
$0 p.a.
90%
A competitive rate with no ongoing fee and borrow up to 90% LVR.
3.85%
4.05%
$0
$350 p.a.
95%
This high LVR fixed rate loan allows you to borrow up to 95% of the value of the property you're buying.
4.50%
4.82%
$600
$0 p.a.
90%
A variable interest-only loan to grow your property portfolio. Get this loan with a 10% deposit.
3.74%
4.01%
$395
$0 p.a.
80%
A competitive 3 year fixed rate with no ongoing bank fees.
4.29%
4.31%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Investors will pay no application or ongoing fees for this interest-only loan.
3.74%
3.74%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Pay no application or ongoing fees and get access to a redraw facility and flexible repayment schedule.
3.94%
3.71%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Apply online for this fixed rate, low-fee loan with redraw facilities and an optional offset account.
4.14%
4.14%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Investors get a 100% offset account and pay no application or ongoing fees on this loan from an innovative online lender.
3.99%
4.86%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Access a fee-free 100% offset account and pay no application or ongoing fees.
3.99%
3.99%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Get a discounted, low-fee investor loan from a convenient online lender. 20% deposit required. Get $1,000 cash into a USaver account when you apply for a loan of $200,000 or more (new or refinance). Terms and conditions apply.
4.29%
3.88%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Investors can go from application to full approval in as little as 20 minutes with this innovative online lender.
4.09%
4.79%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
Buy your investment property and set your repayments for the first year. Available with a 10% deposit. Available in QLD, NSW and ACT only.
4.11%
3.83%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Enjoy a fast application process and flexible repayment options with this fixed rate mortgage for investing.
4.14%
4.81%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Pay no application fees and access a fee-free redraw facility with this fixed rate loan.
4.24%
4.60%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Fix your investment repayments for 1 year. You can get this loan with a 10% deposit. Available in QLD, NSW and ACT only.
3.99%
4.02%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Investors can enjoy flexible repayment options and pay no application or ongoing fees.
3.85%
4.82%
$600
$35 monthly ($420 p.a.)
90%
Make up to $10,000 in extra repayments per year and take advantage of a flexible repayment schedule.
4.09%
4.12%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
Buy a home with just a 5% deposit and get flexible repayment options and a redraw facility.
3.64%
3.78%
$0
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
80%
Earn Velocity Points on your mortgage (for a limited time, subject to eligibility requirements). Plus, access a 100% offset account to save on interest.
3.69%
3.70%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
Keep your LVR at 70% or below and enjoy a special discounted rate. Also, pay no application or ongoing fees.
3.89%
4.96%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
Switch to this loan and can get $1,500 cashback. Conditions apply. Package your home loan with a Qantas rewards earning Amplify credit card.
3.99%
4.03%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
Buy a home with just a 5% deposit and pay no application or ongoing fees.
3.89%
4.97%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
Get discounts on a range of Commonwealth Bank products and enjoy the option of fee-free extra repayments during the fixed term.
4.39%
5.42%
$300
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
95%
Borrow up to 95% and lock in a 3 year fixed rate. Access your account via internet and phone banking.
5.29%
5.64%
$995
$15 monthly ($180 p.a.)
65%
Available for former bad credit borrowers who have had a clean credit file for the last 24 months. Available for purchase or refinance.
3.59%
4.42%
$600
$0 p.a.
95%
Get a 1% discount for the first two years of your loan and pay no application or ongoing fees.
3.64%
3.65%
$500
$0 p.a.
95%
Family pledge option available. Get a special discount off Bank of Melbourne's basic variable rate.

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Credit services for Aussie Select, Aussie IQ and Aussie Optimizer products are provided by AHL Investments Pty Ltd ACN 105 265 861 Australian Credit Licence 246786 ("Aussie"), and its appointed credit representatives. Credit for Aussie Select products is provided by Residential Mortgage Group Pty Ltd ACN 152 378 133 Australian Credit Licence 414133 (“RMG”). RMG is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 234945. Credit for Aussie Optimizer products is provided by Perpetual Limited ABN 86 000 431 827 (Lender). Credit for Aussie IQ is provided by Macquarie Bank Limited ABN 46 008 583 542 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 237502. Home loans issued by the Lender are serviced by Macquarie Securitisation Limited ABN 16 003 297 336, Australian Credit Licence 237863 (MSL).

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6 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    JasonJune 18, 2017

    My wife and I want to purchase a house. We currently have a mortgage in our current place. Ideally we only wanted to be in it for 2 years then buy a house. We currently have 7 investment properties. I was told due to APRA and it will be hard for us to get a house loan to purchase a house. Are there people that could help in our situation?

    • Default Gravatar
      JonathanJune 18, 2017

      Hi Jason!

      Thanks for the comment.

      You can reach our to mortgage brokers for a personalized advice on this matter.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Jonathan

  2. Default Gravatar
    peterDecember 1, 2014

    Just an enquiry just sold my flat for $337,500 and have already
    placed a deposit of $30,500 towards a property @ $467,000 which leaves $437,000, total fees upfront just on $30,000, I have $130,000 which will cover the costs and the difference between both places, i am waiting on my solicitor to finalize all paper work and settlement day, in this respect do i guess have to organize a bridging loan? uncertain as to how much?

    • finder Customer Care
      ShirleyDecember 2, 2014Staff

      Hi Peter,

      Thanks for your question.

      It doesn’t sound like you need bridging finance as you have enough funds to cover the costs of moving from one property to the other.

      A bridging finance is useful if you have a cash flow problem during this period. However, it’s advisable that you speak to your current lender or agent to confirm if you’d need a bridging loan.

      All the best,
      Shirley

  3. Default Gravatar
    NikkiJune 26, 2014

    Do you have the trail commission percentages from the different banks when they pay the broker?

    • finder Customer Care
      ShirleyJune 27, 2014Staff

      Hi Nikki,

      Thanks for your question.

      Unfortunately we don’t at this current point in time. However, you can find this information in the Credit Guides of the respective Mortgage Brokers.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

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