What to do (right now!) to buy property in 2018

Calendar with days coloured in.

Did you make a new year's resolution to get a foot on the property ladder? It's time to start working toward your goal.

If you want to make 2018 the year you buy your first home, get ready for a lot of hard work. Depending on the month in which you're looking to buy, there are some steps you should already have taken and some you need to get started on now.

  • January

If you’re looking to buy this month, your buying process should be well and truly reaching its conclusion. If you’ve just begun your home loan journey, it’s going to take longer than the few weeks left in January to see it through to its conclusion.

What you should’ve already done

Pretty much everything. Your home loan should be sorted. You should have already signed a contract and paid a deposit for your property. You should also have retained the services of a conveyancer or solicitor. In other words, you’re well on the way to moving into your new home.

What you should be doing now

You should be preparing for settlement and moving day. You’ll need to make certain you have enough money in your account to cover settlement expenses. This could include stamp duty, title transfer fees, council rates, settlement fees and conveyancing fees. You’ll also want to be preparing for your move. You can use this checklist to make sure you're on track.

  • February

If you're looking to buy in February, once again you should be well under way. There's still technically time to hit a February goal, but you will have had to already laid some significant groundwork.

What you should’ve already done

You should at the very least have home loan pre-approval to get an idea of the price range you're looking for. You should also have found your property and hopefully have already signed contracts and paid your deposit.

What you should be doing now

If you haven't already found your property, you should be looking to buy at auction within the next week or so if you want to settle by the end of February. If you have already found your property, you should be preparing for settlement by getting help from either a solicitor or conveyancer. If you're ahead of the game and have a settlement date locked down, you should be sorting out removalists and coordinating the transfer of your utilities and services.

  • March

A March property goal gives you a bit more breathing room, but you should still have most of the logistics sorted out.

What you should’ve already done

You should have saved your home loan deposit and be ready to pay should you find a property and succeed at auction or in private treaty negotiations. You should also have researched how much you can borrow to give you a good idea of the type of property you're looking for, and you should have done some suburb research to get an idea of the area you'll be looking in.

What you should be doing now

Now is the time to get home loan pre-approval. You should compare home loans to find the right lender and product for your situation. You'll also want to make sure you have your paperwork in order to make your home loan application process as smooth as possible.

  • April

If you want to buy in April, you still have some time to get yourself sorted. But you also shouldn't be complacent as there's a fair bit of work ahead.

What you should’ve already done

You should have already assessed your credit history and borrowing power. You should also have already saved at least 90% of your deposit and have a firm savings plan in place to save the remaining 10%.

What you should be doing now

You should continue saving your deposit. You should also begin researching suburbs and housing types to find areas where you might want to buy. You'll also want to begin researching home loans to educate yourself on the features and home loan types that might suit your situation.

  • MayCalendar icon labelled 2018.

May seems like the distant future at the moment, but it will come around quickly. You should be practicing financial discipline that will carry you through your home loan journey.

What you should’ve already done

You should have looked at your credit score and identified any errors or debts you need to repay. You should actively be paying down debt obligations. You should also have at least 85% of your deposit saved.

What you should be doing now

Continue managing all your bill payments and debt obligations as well as setting aside a portion of your pay to build up your deposit. You'll want to put aside at least 10% of your pay.

  • June

If you're looking to buy mid-year, there are a number of things you can do right now to make your goal a reality.

What you should’ve already done

You should have researched your credit score as well as looked at property market trends and areas where you might want to buy. You should also have at least 80% of your deposit saved by this point.

What you should be doing now

You should begin paying down any outstanding debt you have, including credit cards, personal loans and car loans. The less debt you carry, the better your purchasing power will be. You should also reduce the limits on any credit cards you pay down as lenders will look at the combined limit of your credit cards rather than what you owe on them.

  • July

If you're looking to move into your new house mid-winter, start warming up for it now by doing some research and budgeting.

What you should’ve already done

You should be well on the way to saving your deposit and have saved at least 75% of it. You should be sticking to a budget and savings plan, and you should have started researching lender options and the property market.

What you should be doing now

You should be continuing to meet all your debt obligations and monthly bills as well as sticking to your savings plan. You also might want to take advantage of the start of the new financial year to ask your employer for a raise to help boost your borrowing power.

  • August, September and October

If you're planning to buy in the latter half of the year, you'll be getting into the spring selling season. This means great home loan deals, but also a lot of competition in the property market. You'll need to be prepared to move quickly.

What you should’ve already done

You should have around 70-75% of your deposit saved and should have done some initial property market research. You should also be staying on top of all your bills and debt obligations to safeguard your credit score.

What you should be doing now

This is a good time to research your credit score to see where you stand. If there are any mistakes, you'll need to contact the credit bureau or enlist the aid of a credit repair agency to get things sorted out. If you have outstanding debts, now is the time to take care of them.

  • November

If you want to buy toward the end of the year, start talking to people who've achieved their property dream to get some inspiration and information.

What you should’ve already done

You should have a substantial sum saved for your deposit, and you should have started your property market research. Even though conditions in the market could change between now and November, you'll want to have a good idea of some potential areas to buy in.

What you should be doing now

You might want to have a chat to some of your friends or family who have bought property in the past to get a feel for their experiences. Ask them what they learned, what unexpected challenges they faced and what they would do differently if given the chance.

  • December

If your new year's resolution is to become a property owner, December is the last month to pull it off. This might seem like you have plenty of time, but you'll still need to work hard to hit your goal.

What you should’ve already done

You should already have a substantial amount of your deposit saved if you want to buy by the end of the year. It takes most people several years to save a deposit, so you should be well under way by now.

What you should be doing now

You should think about ramping up your savings plan to hit your goal by the end of the year. Remember that you may have to save for stamp duty as well as at least 5% of the purchase price of your property. You should also start researching the property market to get an idea for where you might want to buy.

Compare loans for first home buyers

Rates last updated November 21st, 2018
$
Loan purpose
Offset account
Loan type
Repayment type
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Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp Rate^ (p.a.) Application Fee Ongoing Fees Max LVR Monthly Payment Short Description
3.59%
3.61%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Get a low interest rate loan with no ongoing fees. Plus you can make extra repayments and free redraw online. Available with just a 10% deposit.
3.59%
3.59%
$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.
3.57%
3.58%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Get a very low interest rate and avoid big fees. Apply online for full approval in under 30 minutes and add a 100% offset account for $10 a month.
3.49%
3.53%
$250
$0 p.a.
80%
A very low variable interest rate for borrowers with a 20% deposit. Add a 100% offset account for $10 a month.
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.
3.64%
3.66%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A simple mortgage with a competitive interest rate and no application or monthly fees. Borrow up to $2000000 from a convenient online lender.
3.54%
3.57%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A competitive variable essentials rate mortgage targeting first home buyers. Requires a 20% deposit.
3.68%
3.70%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
This loan offers a competitive variable rate and a 100% offset account to help save you on interest repayments.
3.68%
3.82%
$0
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
80%
Get double Velocity Frequent Flyer Points with this mortgage to spend on flights and more (for a limited time, subject to eligibility requirements). Redraw facility available on this variable rate home loan. Competitive interest rate.
3.69%
4.13%
$500
$0 p.a.
95%
Competitive 3-year rate for homeowners. Comes with a low deposit option and 100% offset account.
3.59%
4.00%
$845
$350 p.a.
90%
Get a low variable interest rate and buy a property with just a 10% deposit. 100% offset account attached.
3.69%
4.86%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
Special discounted rate for first home buyers. Start your home buying journey with 2 years of fixed repayments at a competitive rate plus package discounts. Available with a 10% deposit.
3.59%
3.99%
$600
$395 p.a.
95%
Get interest rate discounts and waived fees on this package loan with a 100% offset account.
3.83%
3.67%
$250
$0 p.a.
80%
A low 3 year fixed rate for home buyers. Add a 100% offset account with a $10 monthly fee.
3.87%
3.91%
$600
$0 p.a.
95%
A home loan with no ongoing fee and a redraw facility that you can borrow up to 95% LVR.
3.74%
3.74%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A basic owner-occupier home loan with a low variable rate that requires a 20% deposit.
3.87%
3.91%
$0
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
90%
Get Velocity Frequent Flyer Points at settlement, monthly and every three years, plus the option to make up to $10,000 a year in extra repayments.
3.68%
3.70%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A competitive variable rate mortgage for owner occupiers that comes with a no fee debit card with a $5,000 limit.
4.29%
4.26%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
A competitive 3-year fixed rate loan with a high max insured LVR.
3.69%
4.93%
$600
$0 p.a.
95%
Competitive rates for fixed for 3 years with no ongoing fees.
3.49%
3.52%
$500
$0 p.a.
95%
This mortgage combines a very sharp interest rate with a 100% offset account and it's available with a 5% deposit.
3.85%
3.85%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Low fee loan with extra repayments. Pay no application and ongoing fees and take advantage of split and redraw options.
3.67%
3.72%
$600
$0 p.a.
80%
Family guarantee option available. Enjoy flexible repayments and a low minimum loan amount.
3.59%
4.14%
$395
$0 p.a.
80%
A one year fixed rate offer with no ongoing bank fees.
3.54%
3.58%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Get a competitive rate, save on fees and access a 100% offset account plus redraw facility. $900 cashback offer.
3.59%
3.58%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Apply online and get fast approval for this fixed rate, low-fee loan with redraw facilities. Add a 100% offset account for a small fee.
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.
3.69%
4.12%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
Unlock a range of savings with this competitive package home loan offer. Offset account and redraw facility included.
3.74%
4.13%
$0
$349 p.a.
90%
Get a sharp rate plus package discounts and a 100% offset account.
3.89%
4.27%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
New borrowers or refinancers can get a discounted rate with this package loan.
3.64%
3.59%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Fast, 100% online application process. Very limited fees. Optional offset account (with fee).
3.84%
3.84%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Pay no application or ongoing fees and get access to a free redraw facility with this innovative online lender.
3.49%
4.57%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
Loans over $150000 get a discount off an already low fixed rate. Available for NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
3.62%
3.62%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
A low deposit mortgage with a competitive rate and plenty of flexibility. QLD residents only. Eligible borrowers can get a 15% discount on home and contents insurance for the life of their loan.
3.69%
4.38%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
A discounted 1 year fixed rate for home buyers that's available with a 10% deposit. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
3.89%
5.05%
$595
$0 p.a.
90%
Investors can take advantage of a short term fixed rate with no application or ongoing fees.
4.17%
4.21%
$600
$0 p.a.
95%
Variable rate home loan from one of the big 4 banks. Available with just a 5% deposit.
3.87%
3.92%
$600
$0 p.a.
95%
A low deposit mortgage for aspiring home owners. Fees are low and you can make extra repayments.
3.88%
3.89%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Save on interest with a free 100% offset account and buy your property with just a 10% deposit.
4.39%
4.78%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
A low deposit package home loan. Combine your loan to get discounts on your interest rate and other NAB financial products.

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