How to get your first home loan

Learn how first home buyers can find the right home loan, master the home buying process and get extra help with deposit saving and government grants.

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Buying your first property is a hugely exciting time, but it can also be very stressful. There are so many moving parts to consider, including the deposit, stamp duty, other costs of buying, shopping around for a home loan and of course, finding the right property.

This page will guide you through the basics of choosing a great value first home loan, and shows you how to work out how much you can borrow and how to access the many concessions and grants for first home buyers.

Suncorp Back to Basics Home Loan - Better Together Special Offer $150k+ LVR ≤ 80% (Owner Occupier, P&I)

2.54 % p.a.

variable rate

2.55 % p.a.

comparison rate

Suncorp Home Loan Offer

With the Suncorp Bank Back to Basics Home Loan - Better Together Special Offer $150k+ LVR ≤ 80% (Owner Occupier, P&I) you can get a variable rate loan with low fees. Available with a 20% deposit.

  • Interest rate of 2.54% p.a.
  • Comparison rate of 2.55% p.a.
  • Application fee of $0
  • Maximum LVR: 80%
  • Minimum borrowing: $150,000
  • Max borrowing: $1,500,000
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Compare first home buyer loan rates

Data indicated here is updated regularly
$
years
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp. Rate^ Application Fee Ongoing Fees Max LVR Monthly Payment
Suncorp Back to Basics Home Loan
2.54%
2.55%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$596.91
A competitive variable interest rate loan with low fees. The establishment fee is waived if you borrow $150,000 or more.
Greater Bank Great Rate Discount Variable with Family Pledge Home Loan
1.89%
3.51%
$0
$0 p.a.
110%
$547.35
Requires a family member to act as guarantor.
Get one of the lowest rates on the market with this fixed rate mortgage and borrow more with help from a family guarantor. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
UBank UHomeLoan Variable Rate
2.34%
2.34%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$581.39
Enjoy flexible repayments, a redraw facility and the ability to split your loan. Plus, pay no application or ongoing fees.
Westpac Flexi First Option Home Loan
2.29%
2.72%
$0
$8 monthly ($96 p.a.)
95%
$577.55
Up to $3,000 refinance cashback.
A flexible and competitive variable rate loan. Eligible borrowers refinancing $250,000 or more can get $2,000 cashback per property plus a bonus $1,000 for their first application. Other conditions apply.
St.George Basic Home Loan
2.59%
2.61%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
$600.83
Up to $4,000 refinance cashback.
With this competitive variable rate loan from St.George, refinancers borrowing $250,000+ can get up $4,000 cashback and borrow up to 90% of the property's value. (Terms, conditions & exclusions apply).
homeloans.com.au Low Rate Home Loan with Offset
2.59%
2.61%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
$600.83
Save on interest with a free 100% offset account and buy your property with just a 10% deposit. This loan is not available for construction.
HSBC Fixed Rate Home Loan
1.88%
2.98%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$546.6
Lock in a competitive fixed rate for 2 years and buy your home with a 20% deposit.
Well Home Loans Balanced Fixed Home Loan
2.04%
2.17%
$250
$0 p.a.
90%
$558.56
A low 3 year fixed rate for home buyers. Add a 100% offset account with a $10 monthly fee. Not available for construction purposes.
Greater Bank Great Rate Discount Variable with Family Pledge Home Loan
2.59%
2.6%
$0
$0 p.a.
110%
$600.83
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.
St.George Basic Home Loan
2.54%
2.56%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$596.91
Up to $4,000 refinance cashback. With this competitive variable rate loan from St.George, refinancers borrowing $250,000+ can get up $4,000 cashback and borrow up to 80% of the property's value (terms, conditions & exclusions apply).
UBank UHomeLoan Fixed
1.99%
2.33%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$554.81
Fix your mortgage for 1 year with a very competitive rate and no ongoing fees.
BankSA Advantage Package Fixed Home Loan
2.09%
3.46%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
$562.33
Competitive fixed rate loan. Refinancers borrowing $200,000 or more can get cashbacks between $2,000 and $4,000 depending on their loan to value ratio (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply
HSBC Home Value Loan
2.59%
2.6%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$600.83
Get a low interest rate loan with no ongoing fees. Plus you can make extra repayments and free redraw online.
Bank of Melbourne Basic Home Loan
2.59%
2.61%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$600.83
Competitive variable rate home loan. Refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more can get cashbacks between $2,000 and $4,000 depending on their loan to value ratio (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply
BankSA Basic Home Loan
2.54%
2.56%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$596.91
Up to $4,000 refinance cashback
A competitive variable rate loan from BankSA. Refinancers borrowing $200,000 or more can get a $4,000 cashback (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply).
Westpac Fixed Option Home Loan Premier Advantage Package
2.09%
3.5%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
$562.33
Up to $3,000 refinance cashback.
Competitive fixed rate home loan. Eligible borrowers refinancing $250,000 or more can get up to $3,000 cashback. Other conditions apply.
Suncorp Back to Basics Home Loan
2.69%
2.7%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
$608.71
A competitive variable interest rate loan with low fees. The establishment fee is waived if you borrow $150,000 or more.
CUA Achieve Variable Home Loan
2.55%
2.6%
$600
$0 p.a.
95%
$597.7
Home buyers can get a competitive, low-fee variable rate plus a 100% offset account. Low deposit option available. Eligible new home buyers with low deposits can apply for the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme with this lender and avoid LMI costs.Eligible refinancers can get a $2,000 pre-paid credit card when they switch to CUA.
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After entering your details a mortgage broker from Aussie will call you. They will discuss your situation and help you find a suitable loan.

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*The loans in the table above may also be available for non-first home buyers. But first home buyers may find these loans useful because many have low interest rates or max insured LVRs above 80%, meaning you can get them with a smaller deposit.

Work out your costs and borrowing power

Before you can get your first home loan or even try to buy a home you need to know how much it will all cost you. Your deposit is usually the biggest cost, and the size of your deposit affects which home loans you can get (we'll cover deposit saving in the next section).

But there are many other costs to consider beyond the deposit:

  • Stamp duty. Every property purchase attracts stamp duty, a tax charged by state and territory governments. Stamp duty can add thousands or tens of thousands of dollars to your purchase costs. Luckily, many first home buyers can get a discount or exemption if they're buying their first home.
  • Inspections. While not compulsory, getting a professional building and pest inspection before buying a property is always a good idea.
  • Conveyancing. You need a legal expert to review your contract of sale (for the property purchase), check the property title is correct and represent you at settlement. The services of a conveyancer can cost around $1,000-$2,000.
  • Fees. There's a fee to register your mortgage and your lender may charge other upfront fees at settlement.
  • Council rates and strata. When you take ownership of a property you have to pay council and water rates. If you're buying a property on a strata title there will be strata costs too.
  • Insurance. You need to take out a home insurance policy on your home before settlement occurs and you take ownership of the property. If you're buying a strata property (an apartment or townhouse), strata insurance is usually included in the strata fees and covers the building.

How much can you borrow?

You can use a borrowing power calculator to get a clear idea of how much a bank will lend you.

You will need to enter your income (and your partner's income if making a joint application), plus the number of dependents and any debts you have. The calculator will then estimate your expenses using a standard cost of living index. The end result will only be an estimate but it gives you a better idea of how much you can borrow.

You can also check out our guide on how to increase your maximum borrowing capacity.

Save your deposit

Once you have a good understanding of your property buying costs and how much you can borrow, it's time to think about the deposit.

Deposit size and LVR

Loan to value ratio (LVR) is a fancy mortgage term for your deposit size in relation to your property's value. If you bought a $500,000 property with a $100,000 deposit, that would be a 20% deposit, or 80% LVR.

Having a 20% deposit is good because it means you can avoid paying lenders mortgage insurance.

Lenders mortgage insurance (LMI)

If your deposit is smaller than 20% of the property's value (so, your LVR is 81% or higher), your lender will charge you lenders mortgage insurance. This can cost you thousands or tens of thousands on top of all your other expenses (although you can often borrow it alongside your loan amount).

LMI costs vary depending on your loan amount and deposit size. If your LVR is 85% (a 15% deposit) then your LMI will be less than if you have an LVR of 95%.

Here are some examples.

Property priceDepositLMI
$500,00010% ($50,000)$8,679
$500,0005% ($25,000)$14,871
$700,00010% ($70,000)$15,498
$700,0005% ($35,000)$27,946
$900,00010% ($90,000)$19,926
$900,0005% ($45,000)$35,931

The LMI amounts above are taken from Genworth's LMI premium estimate calculator and are examples only.

How first home buyers can save a deposit

Building that deposit for your first home is tough, especially if you're renting. And when house prices rise the amount you need to save only grows. Finding a low deposit home loan can make the task easier. But there are a few other ways to build your deposit:

  • Parental gift or inheritance. Most lenders want to see genuine savings. In other words, money you've earned yourself. But many will accept at least part of a deposit in the form of a cash gift or inheritance from your parents. Some lenders only need 5% of your deposit to be genuine savings.
  • Sell assets. You can sell valuable assets and use the cash to boost your deposit. You may need to hold the cash in your account for six months in order for it to qualify as genuine savings.
  • Find a guarantor. As mentioned above, a parent can use their property as security to guarantee part of your deposit. This reduces the amount you have to save and might help you avoid LMI costs too.

Read our full guide to building your deposit savings here.

Access government support

First home buyers in Australia have access to a large and sometimes confusing range of state and federal grants, concessions and other schemes.

Eligibility for these programs depends on factors like your property value and whether it's newly built or already exists. Every state and territory has different rules and policies.

Here is a list of the various first home buyer grants and concessions:

First home owner grants

Some first-time buyers are eligible for a cash grant. These grants can run up to $10,000 or even more in some cases. To qualify you often need to be purchasing a new or off-the-plan property, with a limit on the overall value of the property.

These grants differ in every state and territory.

Check your eligibility with our state-by-state first home owner guide

Stamp duty exemptions and concessions

Stamp duty is one of the biggest costs associated with buying a property. Luckily, many first-time buyers can avoid stamp duty completely or get a discount on this tax. In NSW, for example, first home buyers don't have to pay stamp duty on properties valued below $650,000, saving them up to $22,000.

Learn more about the stamp duty exemptions and concessions in each state and territory.

The First Home Loan Deposit Scheme

If you only have a 5% deposit saved and you're a first home buyer, you could be eligible for the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme. Under this scheme eligible borrowers can borrow 95% of their property value with a 5% deposit and have the government guarantee the remaining 15% of the deposit, allowing them to avoid LMI costs.

This is a federal government scheme.

The First Home Super Saver Scheme

Another federal scheme, the First Home Super Saver Scheme allows first home buyers to make extra payments into their superannuation and then withdraw them to use for a home deposit. This ends up saving you in tax while helping you build your deposit.

HomeBuilder

A federal policy introduced to stimulate the economy after the pandemic hit, HomeBuilder provided grants of up to $25,000 ($15,000 as of 1 January 2021) for Australians building a new home or renovating an existing one. This policy has some very narrow eligibility criteria based on the usage of the grant, your income, the property value or renovation cost.

Keep in mind that first home buyers can often qualify for multiple grants and other schemes at the same time.

Stamp duty discounts

As part of the Victorian state budget update in November 2020, it was announced that all homebuyers, including first timers, now have access to a stamp duty discount of up to 50% of the purchase price of residential property in Victoria.

For those purchasing property in Victoria, a full 50% stamp duty discount will apply to all buyers of newly built homes valued at up to $1 million. For those buying existing homes, a 25% stamp duty discount will apply on properties priced up to $1 million.

This discount on stamp duty in Victoria will be available for those who enter a purchase contract between 25 November 2020 and 30 June 2021. Importantly for first home buyers, this discount applies in addition to any other waivers or concessions that you may be eligible for.

How to find the right home loan

First home buyers signing their home loan
First home buyers, like all other borrowers, need to find a home loan that suits their needs and has a competitive interest rate.

Here's how to find one:

  • Low interest rate. No one wants to be stuck with a high interest rate, especially first home buyers. A lower rate means lower repayments, which makes it a cheaper mortgage. Interest rates are very low now, especially for new customers. So it's a good time for new buyers to shop around for their first home loan and look for a lower rate loan.
  • Fixed versus variable. Both fixed rate and variable rate loans are very competitive at the moment, with fixed loans now lower than variable loans in many cases. But it's not just about getting a low rate. Variable loans typically offer more features and flexibility. With a fixed rate loan you know that the rate will never move up (or down) during the fixed period.
  • Deposit size. As stated above, having a bigger deposit lowers your costs. It also makes it easier to get a home loan approved.
  • Repayment type. Most first home buyers will choose a loan with principal and interest repayments. With these home loans you repay the principal and the interest together. These loans often have lower interest rates too. But you could consider an interest-only loan as well. Your interest rate will be higher but your repayments will be lower in the short term. This can help if you are struggling to make repayments but it's a big risk because it costs you more in the long run.
  • Features. First home buyer loans are often basic home loans, without extra features like an offset account. This is fine if you're really just concerned with getting a low deposit loan with a low interest rate. But if you have extra money to put into an offset account you might want to consider a home loan that comes with one.

Get expert help

You don't have to find your first home loan all by yourself. Mortgage brokers are experts who have access to home loans from a panel of lenders. They can suggest suitable options for you and help you with the whole application process. Their services are usually free. While most people are perfectly capable of getting their own home loan, a broker can be a useful guide.

Find a mortgage broker today

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46 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    BriOctober 2, 2017

    Hi team,

    My fiance and I are looking to go into partnership to buy a property with a family friend. The family friend has good borrowing capacity and will be getting a loan to buy the property, so the title will be in his name, but we are wondering if it is possible to enter into a vendor finance agreement with our family friend to buy a portion of the property while he is still paying off the loan to the bank?

    Ideally, we would like to buy a portion of the property and also be on the title without having to subdivide. Is this possible?

    We are also wondering if my fiance and I will qualify for the First Home Owners grant and the exception for stamp duty if we go into a vendor finance agreement? We do intend to build our first home.

    Thank you!

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoanneOctober 3, 2017Staff

      Hi Bri,

      Thanks for reaching out.
      As a friendly reminder, here at finder we cannot make any recommendations but we can guide you on how you can come up with a choice that would best suit your needs. With regard to the option of entering into a vendor finance agreement, it would be best that you read this page as it will discuss more information about that agreement.
      The same fees and taxes are payable with vendor finance as they would be with a standard home loan. So the amount of stamp duty payable will vary depending on which state you live in and the value of the property.
      To sum it up, if you’re thinking of purchasing a property through vendor finance, you should seek a solicitor to run you through the process and legal considerations so that you may be guided accordingly.

      Cheers,
      Joanne

    Default Gravatar
    joelJune 19, 2017

    Hi, I was wondering if I buy an investment property, whether or not i can claim the fist
    home buyers on my second home that I will live in? I live in Victoria.

      Default Gravatar
      JonathanJune 20, 2017

      Hi Joel!

      Thanks for the comment.

      These are the guidelines for those who wish to claim FHOG on an investment property in Victoria:

      Victoria’s State Revenue Office is responsible for offering the $10,000 grant to applicants buying or building their first new home. To be eligible for the grant, you must not have:

      – Received a First Home Owner Grant in Australia
      – Owned a home in Australia, either jointly or separately, prior to 1 July 2000
      – Occupied an Australian home in which either of you acquired a relevant interest on or after 1 July 2000 for at least six continuous months
      So if you purchased your investment property on or after 1 July 2000 and you didn’t live in it for a period of six consecutive months, you may be eligible for the FHOG.

      You may check the other eligibility criteria for more information.

      Alternatively, you may also contact your local state revenue office for clarification.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Jonathan

    Default Gravatar
    KatheyApril 19, 2017

    What is the best search engine in the world?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      HaroldApril 19, 2017Staff

      Hi Kathey,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      Unfortunately, we cannot recommend what is best for you. Our company finder.com.au is a financial comparison website and general information service designed to help consumers to make a better decision. Please note we do not represent any company we feature on our pages.

      If you are looking for home loan comparison you may want to consider the following options. Please note that most lenders would require 20% deposit if you’re taking a regular home loan. However, there may be options in the market that you can compare, please refer to the pages below:

      1. Cheapest home loans
      2. Low deposit home loans – Although you may have to get a guarantor for this type of loan
      3. First home owners grant – If it’s your first time to buy a home, then you may also check if you’re qualified for a grant in your local state.

      Alternatively, you can reach out to a mortgage broker who will take all your circumstances into account and offer you a range of lending options.

      I hope this information has helped.

      Cheers,
      Harold

    Default Gravatar
    GlendaFebruary 5, 2016

    As a first home buyer, can I buy an investment property, and then when time is right buy a personal living home and qualify for the first buyers home loan on this property?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MarcFebruary 5, 2016Staff

      Hi Glenda,
      thanks for the question.

      The exact requirements and eligibility will depend on what state you’re buying in. Some states do not allow this, such as NSW and QLD, but others, such as WA, TAS, SA, NT and ACT allow this in some circumstances.

      I hope this helps,
      Marc.

    Default Gravatar
    JessSeptember 2, 2015

    Hi, I’m on single parenting payment and I was wondering if it was possible to get a home loan of some sort? I’ve read about something about FTB. My daughter is one and I am looking for a job.

    Default Gravatar
    davidJuly 13, 2015

    we are inquiring for our daughter to see if it is possible for her to get a loan to purchase a home She is on a Carers payment as a single mother with 3 autistic kids. She a part time job with a taxable income of $30 000pa. She is currently paying $720 pm rent, owns her car has a credit card debt of $9 000. Has an excellent credit history. She lives in country Victoria and would be looking at houses in the $120k – 140k range

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      BelindaJuly 14, 2015Staff

      Hi David,

      Thanks for your enquiry.

      Please note that finder.com.au is an online comparison and general information service, and we don’t offer home loans ourselves.

      Generally, lenders will require someone on a carer’s allowance to have an additional source of income to meet their mortgage repayments. However, lenders do treat these applications on a case-by-case basis and ultimately they will assess your daughter’s ability to service the loan without incurring undue hardship.

      However, your might be interested to read and compare home loans suited for those on a single income, as well as loans suited for Centrelink recipients.

      I hope you find this useful.

      Thanks,
      Belinda

    Default Gravatar
    PeterMay 19, 2015

    Hi there,

    My wife and I are considering buying our first home. We have a fairly good deposit, around 40% of the property value.
    The problem is we are employed under ABN which means we issue invoice to be paid up by our boss. Just wondering in this case, are we eligible for a home lone? Of course we can get the employment letter from our boss and the bank statement showing all the wage payment.

    Thanks for your help.

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MarcMay 25, 2015Staff

      Hi Peter,
      thanks for the question.

      Most lenders will accept this as a form of income, although they may require you to apply for a low doc home loan. I would recommend contacting a mortgage broker to help you shop around for the best deal for your situation.

      I hope this helps,
      Marc.

    Default Gravatar
    MelissaApril 13, 2015

    hi

    My partner has just finished his bankruptcy and would like to buy a home .. He has a small deposit and has not had the first home grant . He has always worded and is on roughly $80k per year .

    Is there anyone who would be able to help him?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MarcApril 13, 2015Staff

      Hi Melissa,
      thanks for the question.

      Unfortunately, the bad credit lenders and brokers currently on our panel do not cater to first home buyers, although there may be some lenders and brokers in the wider market which can help. I suggest conducting a search of home loan lenders who can offer discharged first home buyers a home loan.

      You might also want to read our guide on home loans for discharged bankrupts to learn some tips for applying.

      Note that regular lenders will require borrowers to wait for up to 7 years for the bankruptcy listing to be removed from your file, while other specialist lenders can grant home loans to those with these listings on their file.

      Cheers,
      Marc.

    Default Gravatar
    BlaiseJanuary 26, 2015

    Hello,
    Do you know how it is possible to get a home loan on an existing relocatable home in a relocatable home village?

    So you own the home not the land. Thanks

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MarcJanuary 27, 2015Staff

      Hi Blaise,
      thanks for the question.

      I would recommend contacting a mortgage broker for this situation, as they will be able to tell you which banks would consider this kind of home for a residential home loan. Alternatively, they may suggest a personal loan depending on the circumstances.

      Cheers,
      Marc.

    Default Gravatar
    jeffJanuary 20, 2015

    hi my wife and I HAVE $134,000 given to us from a will.
    What I wanted to know was we are in a nsw gov house, if we buy a house do we pay stamp duty.
    As the house we are looking at is $320,000.
    As I Don’t think we could still live in gov house still if we have too much money in bank.
    i work 20 hrs a week my wife earns $49.000 before tax.
    thanks jeff

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ShirleyJanuary 21, 2015Staff

      Hi Jeff,

      Thanks for your question.

      Please be advised that there are currently no benefits (grants or exemptions from duty) available to first home buyers who purchase an established property.

      If you’re purchasing a new property then you may be eligible for a stamp duty exemption.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

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