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7 upfront costs when buying a home


It's the little fees and charges that add up, and there can be a lot more of them than you think.

Sponsored by Suncorp. With Suncorp, you can find a range of home loans to suit your needs and lifestyle. To find out more, visit the Suncorp website. T&Cs apply.

First time home buyers really need to consider every single sneaky little cost that comes with a property purchase.

Once you have a rough idea of these costs, you can budget for them.

1. Home loan fees

If you're getting a home loan, you'll find that lenders may charge all sorts of fees, from monthly service fees to application and settlement fees.

There are some less obvious fees too, like legal fees (to cover the lender's settlement costs) and valuation fees.

While a lower interest rate is a good starting point, you could look for a low-fee loan too. Suncorp Bank's Back to Basic Home Loan, for example, has no ongoing annual fees.

2. Stamp duty

Make sure you budget for stamp duty. It can be your biggest upfront outlay outside of the deposit itself.

Check to see if you qualify for a first home buyer stamp duty exemption or discount. Use Suncorp Bank's Stamp Duty Calculator to get a better idea of how much you'll have to pay (or not pay).

3. Pest and building inspections

Buying a house without a pest and building inspection is like buying a car without taking it for a test drive.

You may not know what structural issues or termite damage are present in a property until an expert takes a look.

You can generally get a combined building and pest inspection from a qualified expert.

If you're buying an apartment you may not need these inspections. Instead, you can get a strata report. This gives you an idea of any issues with the building and an overview of the strata committee's finances.

4. Conveyancing

Hiring a conveyancer or property lawyer can help you make sure your property title and contract are legally sound. They also represent you at settlement and make sure everything goes smoothly when the money and ownership change hands.

5. Lenders mortgage insurance (LMI)

LMI is a type of insurance home buyers usually have to pay when their deposits are below 20%.

LMI can cost thousands of dollars, or tens of thousands. You can use Finder's LMI estimate calculator to get a better idea of the cost.

6. Strata fees and council rates

Council rates apply to every home buyer. If you buy an apartment or townhouse that's part of a strata complex, then there are also strata fees (these are sometimes called owner's corporation fees).

While these are ongoing costs, you may have to pay a portion at settlement. This is because the seller will have paid for the previous quarter's strata and council fees. You'll have to pay for the remaining days of the current quarter, starting from settlement day, unless settlement is on the first day of the quarter.

7. The mortgage registration fee

We're not done yet! There's also a government fee to register the mortgage at settlement. There's no way you can get around this one. It's often included in your lender's settlement costs.

Putting it all together

Getting a rough estimate of all these home buying costs can help you budget for them from day one.

Of course, when you're getting a home loan, you'll also want to pay close attention to expenses like your deposit and ongoing repayments. Estimate your borrowing power with Suncorp Bank's Borrowing Power calculator and use Suncorp Bank's Home Loan Repayment calculator to estimate your monthly loan costs.

Learn more about home loans with Suncorp

Sponsored by Suncorp. With Suncorp, you can find a range of home loans to suit your needs and lifestyle. To find out more, visit the Suncorp website. T&Cs apply.

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