Buying Guide

Buying a Property


Owning your own home is still one of the great Australian dreams. Whether you are a first time property buyer or a veteran of several properties, the excitement of finding the right home and making that successful offer or bid never wanes.

What Can I Afford?


It's important to first organise your finances to work out how much you can afford before you start looking at properties. You can make the buying process a lot easier by becoming pre-approved, or at least pre-qualified with a lending institution. You'll then know at what price range to start looking...




     Shop around for the best mortgage. Look at more than just the interest rate -    

     redraw facilities and the ability to make extra repayments can save you money. 


   Other Costs


   Apart from your mortgage repayments, there are other costs to consider in

   purchasing a property:

  • Loan application/establishment fees.

  • A deposit of up to 10% of the selling price will be required.

  • Building and pest inspection fees.

  • Stamp duty on the mortgage.

  • Stamp duty on the transfer of the property.

  • Legal/conveyancing fees.

  • Transfer and registration fees.

  • Insurance.

  • Adjustments such as council rates and water.


Do you qualify for the First Home Owners Grant? Visit or call 1300 130 624 to find out eligibility requirements.



Decide What You Want


Before you hit the pavement, write a list of your requirements. You'll need to consider:

  • What area or suburb do you want to buy in?

  • Do you want a house, apartment, unit or townhouse?

  • How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you require?

  • How much storage space do you need?

  • Do you need car parking or garage/s?

  • Do you want a garden, courtyard or balcony?

  • Do you need to reside near public transport, schools, childcare, work?

  • Do you have any special needs e.g. no stairs and level access, room for a home office?

  • Are you prepared to renovate if the property requires it?


How to Source Suitable Properties for Sale


Now that you've worked out your finances and property requirements, it's time to start the search. The best way of sourcing suitable properties is through local newspapers and property internet sites. Other ideas to find properties include:


  • Real estate agency windows.

  • Local property magazines.

  • Driving around the suburbs of interest.

  • Registering your property requirements with real estate agencies, asking them to let you know when a suitable property comes up.


Where to start


Start your property search on


Before Making an Offer


When you have located a property you would like to buy, ask the selling agent for a copy of the contract. The contract includes the title documents, drainage diagram, zoning certificate, council restrictions on the property, and items included or excluded from the sale. Your legal adviser (solicitor or conveyancer) should thoroughly check the contract to ensure everything's in order.

Buyer's Tip


CONVEYANCING. Inexperienced buyers should seek professional help and advice on the conveyancing process. A conveyancer or solicitor is skilled at handling the paperwork associated with the property purchase.


You should then organise for building and pest inspections of the property.


Inspecting a Property


With most contracts, it's up to the purchaser to check the building before signing. When you consider the amount of money that you'll pay for the property, a few hundred dollars spent obtaining professional building and pest inspections, ruling out any defects, is a small investment for peace of mind. Your inspection reports should cover:

  • Quality of work and fire safety.

  • Check for rising damp, waterproofing, gutters, leaks.

  • Check the structural integrity and condition of the floors, walls, ceilings, doors, windows, cladding and roof.

  • Check all services including electricals, water, sewer and drainage.

  • Check for timber pests including termites, borers, timber decay and fungal damage.


Should the contract be approved and building inspections passed, you can now place an offer to buy. Before you do so, it's important for you to know the following.


  • You will submit your offer to the agent, who is legally bound to pass on all offers to the vendor (seller).

  • The property remains on the market while the vendor considers all offers.

  • Your offer may include a final date which it'll lapse if not accepted, or your offer can be made subject to a clause, i.e. bank approval, sale of current property, inspections etc.

  • You can make your offer conditional on certain items (such as a dishwasher) being included or excluded from the contract. Any special conditions must be written into the contract.

  • Your offer is not legally binding until the contract has been signed by both you and the vendor, and deposit paid (up to 10% of the purchase price).



Once you and the vendor have agreed on all issues, the agent will require you and the seller to sign the sale contracts. There are 2 copies, one for you and one for the seller. Only when you have both signed the contract, exchanged copies, and the deposit paid, do you both become bound by the contract. The deposit will likely be held in trust by the agent.


You are now committed to buying the property subject to the 'cooling-off period'.


Cooling-Off Period


As a buyer of residential property, in most cases, you'll be granted a "cooling-off period". This period commences on the day of exchange and ends 5 business days later at 5pm. During this time, you can withdraw from the contract, however if you do so, you will forfeit 0.25 percent of the purchase price (taken from the deposit paid).

If you've not already conducted your pest and building inspections, you now have 5 days to do it!

It's vital that you have written confirmation of your loan approval before the expiration of the cooling-off period.




The period of time between the exchange of contracts and settlement is usually 6 weeks. Settlement day is a pre-arranged date when the exchange of contracts will be formalised. This is typical of what happens on settlement day:

  • Your lender authorises payment of the loan money, and payment is made to the vendor.

  • You or your solicitor/conveyancer authorise the vendor to collect the deposit money from the estate agent where it's been held in trust.

  • You pay adjustments on taxes, council and water rates.

  • You receive a signed transfer of the title deed, and the Registrar General will register the transfer and the loan. The title deeds and mortgage are held by your lender until the property is fully paid.

  • You pay the stamp duty on the mortgage.

  • You have the keys and the property is legally yours.


Buyer Mistake


Purchasing before you sell. This places you under pressure to sell your property within a given time. As a result you may end up accepting a lower offer than you would normally accept.