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Tips for first home buyers in Australia

Top Tips for First Home Buyers in Australia

How to buy your first home the right way

Buying your first property can be an overwhelming process. First time borrowers can face uncertainty over how to apply for a home loan, how to get approved, the grants they might be eligible for and where they should look to buy. On top of that, the home buying process can be filled with steps you never knew existed and jargon you've never hear before.

This guide will ensure you're more confident when buying your first property, and ready to take on that real estate agent.

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Eight tips for first home buyers

Boost your confidence and your home loan know-how with the following eight tips:

  • 1. Make sure you're actually eligible for a home loan. Before you dig too deeply into the process, check that you actually qualify for a home loan. Contact several lenders to get an idea of how much money you can borrow. This will give you a realistic understanding of what (and where) you can actually buy. Try out finder's home loan eligibility calculator to get a better idea.
  • 2. Research all your home loan options. The home loan market is complex and competitive. You need to compare the interest rates of as many loans as possible to make sure you're not getting a rate that's far higher than average. You also need to know what types of home loans are available. From variable to fixed rate loans, interest-only and investment loans, there are many different types of mortgages. Finding the type of loan that matches your needs is crucial.
  • 3. Sort out your debt. If you're already in debt you might find it harder to get a home loan approved, or you may not be able to borrow quite as much. Focus on paying off any large debts you may have before you apply for a home loan, especially high-interest debts. Consider combining several debts into one if you can. But note that some debts, such as university HECS debt, are far less troubling than, say, credit card debt.
  • 4. Get a good-sized deposit together. The bigger your deposit the more you can borrow. And you can apply for loans with lower interest rates. While it's possible to take out a loan with a 5 or 10% deposit, you will have to pay lenders mortgage insurance. The general rule of thumb is a 20% deposit is a reasonable deposit size.
  • 5. Crunch all your costs (and calculate your concessions). Repayments are one thing, but home buying incurs so many surprise expenses. Budget for removalist costs, stamp duty, application and registration fees and pest inspection reports. It's a scary exercise, but you should also see if you're eligible for a first homeowners grant or stamp duty concessions. If you're buying your first home in NSW and it costs less than $650,000, for example, you won't have to pay any stamp duty. This saves you many thousands of dollars.
  • 6. Position yourself for success. If you've fallen in love with a particular property, other buyers probably have too. Having all your paperwork and deposit together, plus pre-approval puts you in a much better position to snap up your dream home when you find it.
  • 7. Caveat emptor (home buyers, beware!). Imagine buying a car without checking the mileage or the brakes, and then having it breakdown as soon as you buy it. Now imagine it's a house and you've spent possibly a million dollars on a total wreck. Ultimately you as the buyer are responsible for making sure you're getting a quality property for the price you're paying. Get building and pest inspections so you're not stuck with a collapsing, termite-infested disaster. Examine the quality of the property's fittings and construction as best you can. And if there are obvious repairs that need doing (and you're OK with that) make sure you get a quote for repairs and factor that in to your budget.
  • 8. Get expert help. There are professionals who can help you with every step of the home buying process. Buyers agents can help you with the whole buying process, while a mortgage broker can navigate the loan market if you can't. Make sure you have a licensed conveyancer look over your contract thoroughly.

First home buyer scenarios

Here are some more tips for first home buyers depending on the type of property you buy or the strategy you employ:

Auction advice from The Block 2016 winning auctioneer Damien Cooley

Episode 19 of the finder.com.au Money Podcast spoke to Taj Singh from First Home Buyers Australia about first home buyer tips

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Rates last updated June 21st, 2018
$
Loan purpose
Offset account
Loan type
Your filter criteria do not match any product
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp Rate^ (p.a.) Application Fee Ongoing Fees Max LVR Monthly Payment Short Description
3.79%
3.79%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Pay no application and ongoing fees with Macquarie Bank Basic Home Loan.
3.64%
3.66%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Pay no ongoing fees and enjoy a flexible repayment schedule, including the ability to make unlimited additional repayments without penalty.
3.69%
3.69%
$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. Get $1,000 cash into a USaver account when you apply for a loan of $200,000 or more (new or refinance). Terms and conditions apply.
3.64%
3.67%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A mortgage with a competitive variable rate, limited fees and plenty of flexibility.
3.52%
3.53%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Go from application to approval in as little as 20 minutes with a variable rate loan from this innovative online lender. Add a 100% offset account for $10 a month.
3.49%
4.49%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
Loans over $150k get a discount off an already low fixed rate. Available for NSW, Qld and ACT residents only.
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%
3.70%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Package your loan and get an interest rate discount, a 100% offset account and help from an HSBC relationship manager.
3.69%
4.11%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
Save on interest with a 100% offset account and save on other ME products with this package loan.
3.68%
4.00%
$0
$299 p.a.
80%
Get a 100% offset account and rate discounts for higher borrowing amounts.
3.68%
3.83%
$0
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
80%
Get a 100% offset account to save on interest charges, and pay no application fee.
3.73%
3.76%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
This basic loan offers discounts for higher borrowing amounts and carries no ongoing fees.
3.54%
3.58%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Eligible borrowers can get $900 cashback on this loan with a 100% offset account and a redraw facility.
3.65%
3.66%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
This special rate mortgage has no ongoing fees and offers flexible repayments. Save $595 in establishment fees before 30 June.
3.77%
3.81%
$200
$0 p.a.
95%
A simplified mortgage with a low interest rate and a redraw facility.
3.64%
3.69%
$600
$0 p.a.
80%
A competitive variable rate for borrowers with a 20% deposit or more. Guarantor option available.
3.68%
3.69%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Get one free online redraw per month and pay no ongoing fees. Application fees are waived for loans above $150,000.
3.84%
3.87%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Save on interest with a free 100% offset account and buy your property with just a 10% deposit.
3.70%
4.13%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
Package your loan with an eligible credit card for discounts on rates and fees, and get a 100% offset account.
3.78%
3.78%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Pay no application or ongoing fees and get access to a free redraw facility with this innovative online lender.
3.99%
5.17%
$600
$0 p.a.
90%
Competitive rates for fixed for 3 years with redraw facility.
3.96%
3.98%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
For a limited time, pay no application or settlement fees. You can also take advantage of a free redraw facility.
3.64%
3.67%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
This loan offers a competitive variable rate and a 100% offset account to help save you on interest repayments.
3.85%
4.82%
$600
$35 monthly ($420 p.a.)
90%
Make up to $10,000 in extra repayments per year and take advantage of a flexible repayment schedule.
4.09%
4.12%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
Buy a home with just a 5% deposit and get flexible repayment options and a redraw facility.
4.14%
4.81%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Pay no application fees and access a fee-free redraw facility with this fixed rate loan.
3.69%
3.74%
$600
$0 p.a.
80%
Family guarantee option available. Enjoy flexible repayments and a low minimum loan amount.
3.59%
4.42%
$600
$0 p.a.
95%
Get a 1% discount for the first two years of your loan and pay no application or ongoing fees.

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Credit services for Aussie Select, Aussie IQ and Aussie Optimizer products are provided by AHL Investments Pty Ltd ACN 105 265 861 Australian Credit Licence 246786 ("Aussie"), and its appointed credit representatives. Credit for Aussie Select products is provided by Residential Mortgage Group Pty Ltd ACN 152 378 133 Australian Credit Licence 414133 (“RMG”). RMG is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 234945. Credit for Aussie Optimizer products is provided by Perpetual Limited ABN 86 000 431 827 (Lender). Credit for Aussie IQ is provided by Macquarie Bank Limited ABN 46 008 583 542 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 237502. Home loans issued by the Lender are serviced by Macquarie Securitisation Limited ABN 16 003 297 336, Australian Credit Licence 237863 (MSL).

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Marc Terrano

Marc Terrano is a content marketer manager at finder. He's been writing and publishing personal finance content for over five years and loves to help Australians get a better deal.

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Important Information*
loans.com.au Essentials - Variable (Owner Occupier, P&I)

A competitive interest rate home loan with interest only options. Interest rate 3.64%p.a.
comp rate of 3.66%p.a.

UBank UHomeLoan Variable Rate - Discount Offer for Owner Occupied Variable P&I Rate — borrowing $700,000 or more

Pay no application or ongoing fees and get access to a redraw facility and flexible repayment schedule. Get $1,000 cash into a USaver account when you apply for a loan of $200,000 or more. Terms and conditions apply.

Greater Bank Ultimate Home Loan - Discounted 1 Year Fixed LVR ≤90% ($150K+ Owner Occupier)

Loans over $150k get a discount off an already low fixed rate. Available for NSW, Qld and ACT residents only.

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6 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    PeachMay 29, 2014

    the First Home Savings Account here is ancient, not updated since 2010. All the dollar limits have since been changed AND the whole scheme has subsequently been scrapped.

    • finder Customer Care
      ShirleyMay 29, 2014Staff

      Hi Peach,

      Thank you for your feedback, we’ve now updated the page so it’s relevant for our users.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  2. Default Gravatar
    JimMay 19, 2014

    Dear sir/madam

    I am buying an established property from a seller
    for $216,000 in fifteen months time to be paid in
    cash from my own savings. The seller is still paying for the mortgage. Could you please tell me
    how and to whom and in what manner should this money be paid?
    Should the payment be made before or after the documentation has been completed?

    Could you please give me an estimate of all other cost including the GST.

    • finder Customer Care
      ElizabethMay 20, 2014Staff

      Hi Jim,

      Thanks for your question.

      Usually, payment is made when the seller and the buyer exchange signed copies of the contract of sale. If you are using a solicitor to draw up the documents then they may be able to advise you how the money should be paid, as the payment terms may be specified in the contract.

      As for GST, the ATO has a GST Property Tool that can calculate the GST that will be payable in the sale.

      I hope this has helped.

      Thanks,

      Elizabeth

  3. Default Gravatar
    phillipFebruary 2, 2014

    is the first home owner grant only for new homes

    • finder Customer Care
      ShirleyFebruary 3, 2014Staff

      Hi Philip,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Yes the FHOG is only for new homes.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

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