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Costs of buying a house or unit

Your guide to the costs and fees associated with buying a house or unit, plus a budgeting spreadsheet to help you calculate them.

The costs involved in buying a house can quickly add up. In fact, it can be a surprise to people who have saved an adequate deposit and think they're ready to buy a home, only to discover there's more to pay!

Recent research from Finder shows that property buyers are paying upwards of $6,000 in upfront costs. The deposit is only one of your upfront costs. Using an upfront cost calculator or spreadsheet, you can work out how much you'll need to pay, from government charges to lender fees, insurance to inspections.

How to estimate your property buying costs

Here's a simple breakdown of what buying a property could cost you. Keep in mind that these are just example figures, not a representation of anyone's actual costs.

Property costs

You buy a property for $600,000. This means your property value is $600,000, which you can divide into the deposit and loan amount.

  • Deposit: $60,000
  • Loan amount: $540,000

In this scenario, with a 10% deposit you also have to pay lenders mortgage insurance (LMI).

Government charges

  • Stamp duty: $20,000
  • Mortgage registration fee: $150
  • Transfer fee: $300

Lender fees and charges

  • Loan application fees: $600
  • Legal fees: $330
  • Lenders mortgage insurance: $11,700

Other buying costs

  • Conveyancing: $1,000
  • Pest and building inspection: $500
  • Moving costs: $1,000
  • Settlement adjustments*: $700

Total property buying cost estimate = $36,280

*Settlement adjustments refers to your share of council rates, water rates and strata fees for the current quarter. If you are taking ownership of the property in the middle of a quarter and these costs have already been paid by the previous owner, you'll have to pay an adjusted share of the costs based on settlement day. Your conveyancer will work out these costs.

Download our property buying cost calculator spreadsheet

What are the upfront fees and costs of buying a house?

Beyond the cost of your deposit and home loan, there are a number of costs associated with buying a home. To get a true idea of how much your property purchase will cost, you'll need to add these up:

Government charges

  • Stamp duty. Stamp duty varies from state to state, and most states offer exemptions and concessions for first home buyers.
  • Title transfer fees. This fee also varies from state to state, but usually runs between $100 and $140.
  • Registration fees. This fee registers your property as the physical security for your home loan. It typically costs between $115 and $140, though in some states it can be close to $200.

You can use our free stamp duty calculator to estimate how much you're likely to pay in stamp duty, title transfer and registration fees.

Fees and other upfront costs

  • Lender fees. Lenders also have their own fees, which might include application, legal and settlement fees. Mortgage fees can cost several hundred dollars, so make sure you check the fees when you're comparing mortgages. If you plan to borrow more than 80% of the property’s value, you’ll also have to pay for lenders mortgage insurance which can add thousands to your total cost.
  • Inspection fees. Before signing a contract for a home, it's wise to have building and pest inspections carried out. This will ensure the home you're buying is structurally sound and free from damaging pests. These inspections typically cost around $300-400.
  • Moving costs. Unless you have a large vehicle and some very understanding friends, you'll likely have to pay a removalist service to help you move home. Depending upon the size of your move, a removalist can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.

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Finder home loans expert Sarah Megginson speaks to The Daily Mail about the hidden costs of home buying – and why first-time home buyers are being blindsided by more than $6,300 in hidden costs as they try to get a foothold on the property ladder.

How much does it cost to buy a home in Australia?

The average house price in Australia as of early 2024 is $746,000. However, prices vary widely between different states, and also between cities and countries area.
As a general guide, these are the current median house values nationwide according to CoreLogic, which gives you an understanding of how much it could cost to buy a home:
  • Sydney $1,128,155
  • Melbourne $778,941
  • Brisbane $805,593
  • Adelaide $727,142
  • Perth $687,004
  • Hobart $652,645
  • Darwin $499,834
  • Canberra $840,103
  • Combined capitals $842,109
  • Combined regional $612,096
  • National $765,762

Don't forget about the ongoing costs of buying a property

We've listed the main upfront costs, but there are also ongoing costs that come with owning a home. We might not consider some of these to be upfront costs, because you have to pay them regularly. But some of these costs are payable shortly after you take possession of your home, if not before. So you need to factor them in.

  • Home and contents insurance. Lenders expect you to have a home insurance policy in place before settlement. You can usually pay this in instalments or upfront.
  • Strata fees. If you're buying a unit or townhouse that is part of a complex, you'll probably be on a strata title. This means paying strata or body corporate fees. These fees are typically charged quarterly, and cost you several thousand dollars a year.
  • Council rates. You pay a tax to your local council every quarter, which can run to around $2,000 a year.

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Richard Whitten is a money editor at Finder, and has been covering home loans, property and personal finance for 6+ years. He has written for Yahoo Finance, Money Magazine and Homely; and has appeared on various radio shows nationwide. He holds a Certificate IV in mortgage broking and finance (RG 206), a Tier 1 Generic Knowledge certification and a Tier 2 General Advice Deposit Products (RG 146) certification. See full bio

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Richard has written 526 Finder guides across topics including:
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6 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    KushAugust 30, 2018

    Hi, I wish to purchase or build our first home for around 700k. Could you please help me to calculate the total cost (stamps, gov fee and all) if the deposit is 5% and 10%?

      JoshuaAugust 30, 2018Finder

      Hi Kush,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      There are many things that need to be addressed when buying or building a house. There are also other factors that may affect your stamp duties, government fees, and other costs.

      To help you, first you need to know the cost of buying a property. Next is to speak to a professional mortgage broker to get a more personalised answer and discuss your different options.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!


    Default Gravatar
    AnneAugust 29, 2018

    Hi, My husband has recently passed away, I am looking at down sizing as I will not be able to manage the house on my own. I would like to build a house with a granny flat and my son & daughter-in-law would rent the house to provide me with income. I am 63 and on a disability pension. I own the house I live in and would be able to own the new property outright, I am needing help in knowing the right way to go about this next stage in my life. Thank you for your time, Anne

      JoshuaAugust 29, 2018Finder

      Hi Ann,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. Sorry to hear about your husband passing away. I hope all is well with you today.

      Regarding your question, there are different steps to buying a house and there are various considerations as well. For this reason, it would be a good idea to review our guide about home buying.

      Moreover, it would also be a good idea to speak to a real estate agent.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!


    Default Gravatar
    NatalieAugust 18, 2017

    I am buying a house for $30000 in a small rural town in Qld and I want to know how much my settlement and stamp duty are going to be so I can factor them into my budget
    Please answer asap

      Default Gravatar
      ArnoldAugust 18, 2017

      Hi Natalie,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      Based on our stamp duty calculators you will pay the following fees:

      Stamp duty on property $75.00
      Transfer fee $162.90
      Mortgage registration fee $168.60
      Total fees $406.50

      Hope this information helped.


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