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.

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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 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 April 24th, 2018
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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 April 23rd, 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
3.64%
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.
3.59%
3.60%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Borrow up to 90% of the value of your property and pay no ongoing fees with this loan from a leading international bank.
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.
3.69%
3.73%
$600
$0 p.a.
95%
Variable rate home loan from one of the big 4 banks. Available with just a 5% deposit.
3.49%
3.49%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Get a competitive variable rate with low fees. Add a 100% offset account for $10 a month. Available with a 10% deposit.
3.69%
3.69%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Get a special discount for a limited time when you open an IMB Transaction Account. Face-to-face consultations available in NSW and ACT.
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. Refinance to a UBank loan and you could get $1,000 in your USaver account (offer conditions apply).
3.65%
3.66%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Offset up to $50,000 of the combined balances of your CUA Everyday Accounts and save on interest.
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.
3.58%
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 mortgage with a competitive variable rate, limited fees and plenty of flexibility.
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.
3.87%
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.
3.68%
3.83%
$0
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
80%
Get a 100% offset account to save on interest charges, and pay no application fee.
3.49%
3.52%
$500
$0 p.a.
95%
A loan that combines a competitive rate with a 100% offset account.
3.64%
4.03%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
New borrowers or refinancers from another lender get a discounted rate with this package loan.
3.54%
3.58%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Eligible borrowers can get $1,200 cashback on this loan with a 100% offset account and a redraw facility.
3.62%
3.62%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
Free home and contents insurance for 1 year. Terms and conditions apply. QLD residents only.
3.65%
3.66%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
This special rate loan comes with no application or ongoing fees, and offers a flexible repayment schedule.
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.
3.77%
3.81%
$200
$0 p.a.
95%
A simplified mortgage with a low interest rate and a redraw facility.
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.
3.73%
3.73%
$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.
3.59%
3.99%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
A high maximum LVR home loan with redraw facility and additional payments.
3.69%
4.86%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
Start your home buying journey with 2 years of fixed repayments and a reasonable rate from a big 4 bank. Available with a 10% deposit.
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.
3.62%
3.62%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Pay no application or ongoing fees and get access to a redraw facility and flexible repayment schedule. Refinance to a UBank loan and you could get $1,000 in your USaver account (offer conditions apply).
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.
3.59%
4.14%
$395
$0 p.a.
80%
A one year fixed rate offer with no ongoing bank fees.
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.
3.69%
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.
3.59%
3.99%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
Get interest rate discounts and waived fees on this package loan with a 100% offset account.
3.74%
4.01%
$395
$0 p.a.
80%
A competitive 3 year fixed rate with no ongoing bank fees.
3.99%
5.17%
$600
$0 p.a.
90%
Competitive rates for fixed for 3 years with redraw facility.
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.
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.
3.74%
3.74%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Pay no application or ongoing fees and get access to a redraw facility and flexible repayment schedule.
4.15%
4.76%
$600
$0 p.a.
90%
A competitive rate with no ongoing fee and borrow up to 90% LVR.
3.85%
5.05%
$600
$0 p.a.
95%
This fixed rate loan offers a 100% offset account and the flexibility to make extra repayments.
4.50%
4.82%
$600
$0 p.a.
90%
A variable interest-only loan to fund your investment. Get this loan with a 10% deposit.
4.19%
4.21%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Investors will pay no application or ongoing fees for this interest-only loan.
3.99%
4.99%
$600
$0 p.a.
95%
Get a 100% offset account and the option to make extra repayments with this fixed rate loan.
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.
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%
Pay no application fee for this package loan, and get access to a redraw facility. Face-to-face consultations available for NSW and ACT customers.
4.14%
4.14%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Investors pay no application or ongoing fees on this loan from an innovative online lender.
4.09%
4.49%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
Enjoy all the benefits of a full-featured package investment loan, including a 100% offset account.
3.97%
3.97%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
A variable rate loan with a 100% offset account. Available with a 10% deposit.Face-to-face consultations available for NSW and ACT customers.
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.
3.89%
4.87%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Borrow up to 90% of the value of the property you're buying and pay no application or ongoing fees.
3.97%
4.02%
$445
$0 p.a.
90%
Buy a home with just a 10% deposit with this variable rate loan. Face-to-face consultations available for NSW and ACT customers.
3.99%
4.86%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Access a fee-free 100% offset account and pay no application or ongoing fees.
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.
4.29%
4.34%
$445
$0 p.a.
80%
Variable investment loan with 100% offset account. Face-to-face consultations available for NSW and ACT customers.
3.69%
4.06%
$0
$349 p.a.
90%
Package your loan with other AMP products and save on rates and fees.
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.
3.69%
3.71%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Family guarantee option available. Enjoy flexible repayments and a low minimum loan amount.
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.
3.96%
3.98%
$350
$0 p.a.
90%
For a limited time, pay no application or settlement fees. You can also take advantage of a free redraw facility.
4.09%
3.79%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
A competitive 3-year fixed rate loan with a high max insured LVR.
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.
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.
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.
3.79%
3.80%
$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%
Refinancers can get $1,500 cashback. Conditions apply. Package your home loan with a Qantas rewards earning Amplify credit card.
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.
3.99%
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%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
Family pledge option available. Get a special discount off Bank of Melbourne's basic variable rate.
3.89%
4.88%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
Refinance from your existing loan and get a $1,250 rebate. Terms and conditions apply. Plus get discounts on a range of Westpac products.

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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?

    • 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

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