The ultimate Australian home buying guide

The ultimate home buying guide feature image 2

From reviewing your lifestyle needs to researching different postcodes and comparing your finance options, the Home Buying Guide takes you through the steps required to purchase a home in Australia.

Purchasing a home can be a complex and time-intensive process that demands research, due diligence and patience.

To help you navigate the home buying process, we've created a six-step guide that explains the process and key considerations associated with buying a new castle.

Whether you're in the market for your first home or you're an adept homeowner returning to the market, there is always something new to learn. With innovative technologies and a dynamic property market, there is a wealth of information available to you.

Read the Home Buying Guide as an entity or skip ahead to the section that tickles your fancy; it's up to you.

Find a real estate agent

Open Agent

Find a real estate agent

Buying and selling property? Find the top real estate agents in your area with OpenAgent. OpenAgent will connect you with recommended agents who are best placed to meet your needs. OpenAgent helps 60,000 Australians a month and it's free to use.

Go to site
Promoted

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 own your castle.

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 the eco-friendly factor, this section covers everything you need to know when choosing 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 in


Home buying step 6 teaserBefore moving day, there’s 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 February 24th, 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, such as the value of the property.

  • 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 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 valued by a registered valuer to estimate the market value of the property.

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 Lender's Mortgage Insurance (LMI) premium is, you need to contact the lender who's providing you with the loan.

FAQs about buying a property

Some people are worried that the seller is asking more than the property is really worth or that the real estate agent may have put too high a value on the property. If you are in any doubt you might want to look at the asking prices on other similar properties in the area that are up for sale.
This will depend on what sort of mortgage you can get, and this will be dependent upon your earnings and financial status. Before you start hunting around for a property you should make sure you talk to a bank or broker and work out how much you will be able to borrow, as you can then target your search towards properties that are within your budget.

A buyer's agent is an expert that acts solely for the buyer. There are many people who like to use a buyer's agent but many others who prefer not to, so this is a matter of personal preference. You will usually be charged a fee for this, so affordability will be one of the deciding factors. However, you may find that you are fine using just a real estate agent.

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 completion you need to be looking at insurance providers, comparing costs and cover, and pretty much have an insurance plan and provider in place ready for the day you exchange your contracts.
When you compare mortgage providers and loans, 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. You will normally need to put down 20% of the amount you borrow so you should compare deposit requirements from different lenders to get the best deal.

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, as will the seller, who is more likely to want to sell to someone who has been pre-approved.

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 February 24th, 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
3.59%
3.60%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Enjoy a low variable rate with no ongoing fees and borrow up to 90% of the value of the property.
3.52%
3.54%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A basic home loan with a competitive rate and low fees.
3.49%
4.49%
$0
$375 p.a.
90%
Discount off an already competitive interest rate for loans over $150k. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
3.52%
3.53%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A competitive variable rate product with no application or valuation fees offered by a 100% online lender.
3.64%
3.67%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A home loan with a competitive variable rate, limited fees and plenty of flexibility.
3.69%
4.86%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
A special rate for first home buyers buying residential property and borrowing over $150K. 350K NAB Rewards Points offer available. Terms and conditions apply.
3.54%
3.58%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A variable rate home loan with competitive rate, redraw facility and offset account.
3.74%
3.74%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Pay no application fee or ongoing fees with this loan.
3.58%
3.58%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
A low interest rate home loan with no application or ongoing fees.
3.64%
3.67%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A low rate home loan with no ongoing fees.
3.69%
3.69%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
A special limited time offer for owner occupiers. An IMB Transaction Account must be opened with this loan.
3.77%
3.81%
$200
$0 p.a.
95%
A basic home loan with a low interest rate and a redraw facility available.
3.65%
3.66%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
A competitive variable rate home loan with no application fee.
3.59%
3.96%
$0
$349 p.a.
90%
A variable package loan for a larger loan size with no monthly fees.
3.74%
3.75%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A special variable rate home loan with no application or ongoing fees.
3.62%
3.62%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A discounted, competitive variable rate loan with limited fees.
3.99%
4.00%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A low-fee variable rate investor loan with a fast online application process.
3.74%
3.77%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
A home loan with a special rate for owner occupiers. Free offset account.
3.69%
3.69%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Enjoy a low variable interest rate and no application or ongoing fees.
3.99%
4.41%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
A discounted home loan variable rate that comes with a competitive package, an eligible credit card and an offset transaction account.
3.68%
3.83%
$0
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
80%
A low interest rate home loan that allows borrowers to borrow up to 80% of the property value.
3.99%
3.74%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
Fix your rate for two years with this competitive, low-fee loan. No offset account available.
3.68%
3.69%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
A no frills loan with a competitive rate and a maximum LVR of 95%.
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.
3.69%
4.00%
$0
$350 p.a.
95%
Fix your rate for 3 years and borrow up to 95% LVR.
3.89%
5.40%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
A package investment loan with a competitive, discounted interest rate and 0 application fees.
3.74%
3.74%
$0
$0 p.a.
110%
Requires a family member to act as guarantor. Discounted rate available with family pledge loans. Family pledge loans
require no LMI and no deposit. NSW, Qld and ACT only.
3.64%
4.03%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
Apply for a new owner occupier loan or refinance from another lender and receive this discounted rate.
4.19%
4.21%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Loans.com.au offer a low interest variable home loan with no application fee.
3.69%
3.71%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
A discounted interest rate home loan with no monthly fees.
4.09%
4.12%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
This loan has a high max insured LVR, making it an option for low deposit borrowers.
3.78%
3.78%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A basic low-rate home loan that still offers some useful features.
3.74%
3.74%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
A competitive variable rate with a redraw facility. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
4.09%
4.12%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Access a fee-free offset account and a special interest rate for investors.
3.65%
4.84%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
A 2 years fixed platinum package that has $0 application and a loan redraw facility.
3.99%
4.02%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
An investment loan with a competitive interest rate and no ongoing fees.
4.14%
4.14%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
An investment home loan with competitive rate and 100% offset account.
3.85%
4.82%
$600
$35 monthly ($420 p.a.)
90%
Low fixed rate offer from HSBC. Reverts to a discounted variable rate after the initial term.
4.29%
4.32%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
An interest-only loan for investors. Access equity to further your investment opportunities.
4.19%
4.59%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
Enjoy all the benefits of a full-featured package investment loan, including a 100% offset account.
3.74%
4.15%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
Enjoy a discount of a competitive interest rate and 100% offset account.
3.89%
4.87%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Enjoy a low interest rate and borrow up to 90% (with LMI) of your property's value.
3.97%
4.02%
$445
$0 p.a.
90%
Get a competitive rate without features you may not use.
3.99%
3.99%
$395
$0 p.a.
80%
A flexible low-rate variable home loan that lets you combine your loan with other financial products.
3.97%
3.97%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
A competitive variable rate home loan with no ongoing fees.
4.09%
3.79%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
A competitive 3-year fixed rate loan with a high max insured LVR.
3.88%
4.88%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
Refinance from your existing loan and get a $1,250 rebate. Lock in a discounted fixed rate with a low service fee.
4.34%
4.87%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Lock in a low 2-year fixed rate with this interest-only investment loan.
3.69%
4.47%
$0
$375 p.a.
90%
Discount off an already competitive 2 year fixed rate for loans over $150k. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
3.84%
4.83%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Get a competitive 2-year fixed rate with no application or ongoing fees.
3.59%
4.42%
$600
$0 p.a.
95%
This competitive introductory rate is a limited time offer for new owner-occupiers
3.68%
3.69%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Get a low variable rate along with some important basic features.
3.64%
3.78%
$0
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
80%
A competitive variable rate home loan with flexible features. You can earn 30,000 Velocity Points for every $100k you borrow (for a limited time, subject to eligibility requirements).
3.99%
4.77%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A competitive 3 year fixed rate with a redraw facility and split loan options, plus no application fee.
3.64%
3.65%
$500
$0 p.a.
95%
A basic home loan with a promotional variable interest rate.
4.11%
4.01%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Enjoy a fast application process and flexible repayment options with this fixed rate investment loan.
3.79%
3.80%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A competitive rate with no ongoing monthly fees or application fees.
3.87%
3.87%
$0
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
90%
Get a competitive interest rate for 3 years and a discounted variable rate when the fixed period ends.
3.85%
4.95%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
A discounted package rate for owner occupiers with the ability to package a Qantas rewards earning Amplify credit card. $1,500 cashback available for refinancers. Conditions apply.
3.69%
3.69%
$0
$398 p.a.
70%
Enjoy a low variable rate with no application and ongoing fees.
3.99%
4.03%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
Enjoy a basic home loan with a high LVR and no application or ongoing fees.
3.99%
4.99%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
A package home loan with fee free extra repayments available during the fixed term.
4.39%
5.42%
$300
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
95%
Borrow up to and fix in a 3 year home loan 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. Loan can be used to purchase a property or refinance.

Compare up to 4 providers

Aussie Home Loans Logo

Enter your details below to receive an obligation-free quote from an Aussie home loans expert today

finder.com.au guarantees the privacy and security of your details

Applications are subject to approval. Conditions, fees and charges apply. Please note that you need to be an Australian citizen or permanent resident to apply.

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).

Aussie is a trade mark of AHL Investments Pty Ltd. Aussie is a subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124. ©2018 AHL Investments Pty Ltd ABN 27 105 265 861 Australian Credit Licence 246786.

By submitting this form, you agree to the finder.com.au privacy policy and the Aussie privacy policy.

Aussie Home Loans is both a lender and a mortgage broker, and offers a range of services.

  • FREE Suburb and Property Report with every appointment.
  • Access 3,000+ loans from over 20 lenders.
  • Get expert help with your loan application, including paperwork and eligibility.
  • Over 1000 brokers who are able to help you in your local area.

Aussie Home Loans Lender Logos

The Adviser’s number 1 placed mortgage broker 5 years running (2013-2017)

Images: Shutterstock

Back to top

Read more on this topic

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, read the PDS or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

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?

    • Staff
      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?

    • Staff
      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

Ask a question
Go to site