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.

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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.

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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.

Property buying cost estimates

Here's a simple breakdown of what buying a property could cost you. Keep in mind that this is just an estimate.

Government charges

  • Stamp duty: $10,000
  • Mortgage registration fee: $150
  • Transfer fee: $300

Lender fees

  • Loan application fees: $600
  • Legal fees: $330
  • Lenders mortgage insurance: $4,000

Other buying costs

  • Solicitor and conveyancing: $1,000
  • Strata search: $0
  • Home and contents insurance: $580
  • Pest inspection: $300
  • Moving costs: $700
  • Building/council inspection: $0
  • Connecting utilities: $50
  • Land tax/council rates: $25

Total property buying cost estimate = $17,935

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 the calculator below to work out 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 (LMI) 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.
  • Home and contents insurance. Before your lender will unconditionally approve your home loan, you'll need building insurance. It's also a good idea to insure the contents in your new home. Make sure you compare home and contents insurance policies to get a better deal.
  • 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.

Hidden costs of buying a property

Beyond your upfront costs there are plenty of extra costs you might never have considered until you're in the middle of the home buying journey.

These hidden costs can really add up:

  • Information costs. If you want to access suburb property reports from sources such as CoreLogic RP Data, you may need to pay a fee. Budget $150 per suburb report. If you accessed one property report per month, this would be a monthly cost of $150. If it took you a year to find the right property, your information cost would be $1,800. Some sources offer these reports for free, such as Residex, but the level of data offered may be lower.
  • Professional advice. A licensed accountant or financial planner may charge around $200 per hour. If you visited an accountant for three one-hour sessions over a year, this would be $600. To minimise this expense, you could consult a friend or family member who has an accounting or finance background.
  • Travel costs. You've really got to be there on the ground when searching for a property, but this will cost you in petrol, parking and tolls.

Start comparing mortgages right now

Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp. Rate (p.a.) Fees Monthly Payment

UBank UHomeLoan Fixed P&IHome 1Y Fixed≥ 20% Deposit

UBank UHomeLoan Fixed
  • App: $0
  • Ongoing: $0 p.a.
Fix your mortgage for 1 year with a very competitive rate and no ongoing fees.

HSBC Home Value Loan P&IHome≥ 30% Deposit

HSBC Home Value Loan
  • App: $0
  • Ongoing: $0 p.a.
$3,288 refinance cashback offer
This competitive variable rate loan is available for borrowers with 30% deposits. Eligible refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more can get a $3,288 cashback. Terms and conditions apply. Smart Booster Discount Variable Home Loan P&IHome≥ 20% Deposit Smart Booster Discount Variable Home Loan
  • App: $0
  • Ongoing: $0 p.a.
Get a low discounted variable rate loan. Requires a 20% deposit. Get your loan processed fast and settle within 30 days.

Macquarie Bank Basic Home Loan P&IHome≥ 40% Deposit

Macquarie Bank Basic Home Loan
  • App: $0
  • Ongoing: $0 p.a.
Apply for the Macquarie Bank Basic Home Loan - LVR ≤ 60% (Owner Occupier, P&I) and get a low variable interest rate, plus no application and ongoing fees. Requires a 40% deposit.

Athena Variable Home Loan P&IHome≥ 40% Deposit

Athena Variable Home  Loan
  • App: $0
  • Ongoing: $0 p.a.
Owner occupiers with 40% deposits or equity can get this competitive variable rate loan. No upfront or ongoing fees.

IMB Fixed Rate Home Loan P&IHome 2Y Fixed≥ 20% Deposit

IMB Fixed Rate Home Loan
  • App: $449
  • Ongoing: $6 per month
A 2 years fixed with the competitive features.

Nano Variable Home Loans P&IHome≥ 25% Deposit Refi Only

Nano Variable Home Loans
  • App: $0
  • Ongoing: $0 p.a.
Competitive rate with zero fees, fast approval and a 100% free offset account. Refinance only, 25% deposit required.

Well Home Loans Equity Plus P&IHome≥ 40% Deposit

Well Home Loans Equity Plus
  • App: $250
  • Ongoing: $0 p.a.
Borrowers with 40% deposits or equity can get this low variable rate loan. 100% offset account included.

Compare up to 4 providers

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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%?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaAugust 30, 2018Staff

      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

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaAugust 29, 2018Staff

      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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