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.) Application Fee Ongoing Fees Max LVR Monthly Payment
UBank UHomeLoan Fixed
2.31% p.a.
$0 p.a.
Limited time offer.
Fix your mortgage for 1 year with a very competitive rate and no ongoing fees. Apply by 30 June 2021 and settle within 90 days to get this low rate.
Westpac Fixed Option Home Loan Premier Advantage Package
3.48% p.a.
$395 p.a.
Up to $3,000 refinance cashback.
Lock in a low fixed rate for 2 years and buy your home with a 5% deposit. Eligible borrowers refinancing $250,000 or more can get up to $3,000 cashback. Other conditions apply.
St.George Fixed Rate Advantage Package
3.40% p.a.
$395 p.a.
Up to $4,000 refinance cashback
Borrowers with 20% deposits or equity can get this competitive fixed rate loan. Refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more can get up to $4,000 cashback (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply).
Athena Variable Home  Loan
1.99% p.a.
$0 p.a.
Owner occupiers with 40% deposits or equity can get this competitive variable rate loan. No upfront or ongoing fees.
HSBC Fixed Rate Home Loan Package
2.86% p.a.
$390 p.a.
$3,288 refinance cashback offer
Lock in a low fixed rate for 2 years and buy your home with a 20% deposit. Eligible refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more can get a $3,288 cashback. Terms and conditions apply.
Australian Unity Health, Wealth and Happiness Package Fixed Home Loan
2.77% p.a.
$399 p.a.
Up to $2,000 cashback.
With a 30% deposit or equity, get access to an 0.10% rate cut and big discounts on credit cards and health insurance. You may qualify for up to $2,000 cashback (Terms, conditions and exclusions apply). Smart Booster Discount Variable Home Loan
2.21% p.a.
$0 p.a.
Get a low discounted variable rate loan. Requires a 30% deposit. Get your loan processed fast and settle within 30 days.
Suncorp Home Package Plus Fixed
2.85% p.a.
$0 p.a.
Lock in a low fixed rate for 2 years. Available with a 20% deposit. Eligible new borrowers can get the annual package fee reimbursed for the life of the loan.