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What is the process of buying a house?

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Buying a house can be a time consuming process so we’re here to help make it a little easier. This step-by-step guide to the property buying process will make things easier for you.

Steps to buying a house

Buying a house can be a time consuming process with a number of steps involved, so we’re here to help make it a little easier.

We've prepared this step-by-step guide to help you on your way to purchasing property:

1. Figure out your budget

When starting your journey to home ownership, it’s important to set realistic financial goals. Buying a home out of your financial means will only make things difficult in the long-run when you are having to repay your loan.

Will you be buying by yourself, or with someone else? How much have you saved for a deposit? What are your income and expenses looking like?

It’s also important to research all the costs which may be involved with buying your first home, like stamp duty, lender's mortgage insurance, property valuation and conveyancing.

2. Work out how much you can borrow

Your income and living costs will determine how much you can borrow for a home, and how much you can afford to pay for a property. Knowing what you can afford will help you to narrow your search and avoid wasting time on properties that are out of your price range.

Using our borrowing power calculator, you can get an accurate estimate based on your unique situation.

It takes less than 3 minutes to calculate your borrowing power! Enter your income and expenses to estimate how much you may be able to borrow for a home loan.

Remember to factor in fees associated with buying a house.

Also be sure to research if there are any government grants you might be entitled to that could add to your deposit or reduce your mortgage repayments.

3. Research the true costs of buying

Buying a property costs more than just the purchase price, there are a number of upfront costs to buying a home you need to consider.

The costs include stamp duty, pest and building inspections, and a valuation. If you don’t have a deposit of 20% of the home’s value or more, you will also need to get Lenders Mortgage Insurance which is a one-off cost that's added to your home loan.

4. Compare home loans 

Once you have an idea of how much you can borrow, it’s time to compare home loans. Don’t just look at the advertised rate, but also keep an eye out for the comparison rate, any ongoing fees, and beneficial loan features.

At loans.com.au, we have some of the lowest low rate home loans on the market.

The reason we can offer extremely low rates is because our online model is so efficient.

Fewer overheads mean doing business costs less and those savings translate directly into lower interest rates and fees for our customers.

Different loan types are tailored to buyers with different objectives. Understanding what type of buyer you are is the first step to finding the right loan.

For example, you may want a fixed rate home loan, a variable rate, or even a split rate home loan.

5. Choose a home loan

Choose the home loan that’s right for you.

Features such as flexible repayments, redraw and offset sub-accounts, and the frequency of your repayments all will influence which home loan and which features are best for you.

Splitting your home loan between fixed and variable rates may also allow you to save in the long term.

A split rate home loan is a loan feature that allows you to split your home loan into multiple loan accounts that attract different interest rates. 

6. Get approval 

When you’ve done your research, it’s time to get pre-qualified. With loans.com.au, you can apply online in just minutes.

From here, we can help you apply, upload your documents, complete the valuation of your property, and get your loan approved so we can return your documents and you’ll settle.

No matter what stage of the process you’re at, we’re here to help.

To get pre-approved for a home loan you'll need proof of assets and income, credit history, and employment verification.

7. Find a property

Now the fun part.

Spend time researching the property type, the area, and the size of home/land you can afford.

Use property reports and see what similar property types have been sold for to see what your budget can buy.

Managing Director Marie Mortimer suggests property reports can be a great way to research and influence your decision for your next property.

"At loans.com.au, we provide free property reports which include plenty of useful information such as estimated property value, recent properties sold in the area, median sale prices, property mapping, suburb insights and more. They are great tools to use during the research stage when determining if the property you're looking at is the right one for you."

8. Building inspection 

A pre-purchase building inspection assesses a property’s condition.

This inspection is conducted by a qualified inspector and is an essential step before purchasing a home.

It generally includes information on whether faults with the structure or wear and tear of the property can be repaired and how much these repairs might cost.

A lot of buyers ask their inspectors to check for pest damage too.

This may cost a little extra, but can save you thousands down the track from issues such as termites, or other unwanted creepy crawlies.

9. Make an offer 

By getting pre-approved, you will be ready financially to present an offer to the seller.

This means they can see proof from your lender that you have the means to purchase their property for a pre-determined amount.

Understanding why someone is selling their home can also make it easier to present an enticing offer.

You will need to talk to the real estate agent about how they are receiving offers on the property.

This may mean putting your formal offer in writing via email, filling out a form or completing a formal 'expression of interest.'

10. Review the contract

This is an important step before you sign any document. You and your conveyancer should have at least discussed the settlement process, the value of the property, and the deposit required. 

Before signing anything, you should obtain a pest and building inspection report, and an easement and boundaries report to make sure that there are no unexpected issues with the property.

Your conveyancer should be able to give you advice at this stage.

11. Exchange of contracts

If both you and the seller are happy with the conditions then it’s time to sign the contract documents and exchange them with the vendor. This is also the time where you need to pay the deposit.

The contract should include the complete address of the property, the name of the seller and buyer, the selling price, terms and conditions, and the settlement date.

12. Before settlement

Your conveyancer and the seller’s solicitor should be the ones to arrange the transfer of legal title of the property from one person to another.

Your conveyancer should be able to arrange any loan documentation to make sure that there will be money available on settlement day.

13. Cooling-off period

In most states if you bought the property through private treaty there is a cooling-off period.

The cooling-off period starts once the contracts have been exchanged. This lets you cancel the contract within a specified number of business days but with a penalty.

The cooling-off period time and penalty will depend on your location.

14. Settlement day

Settlement is the last step in the property buying process. At this stage, your conveyancer will transfer the money to the seller, the documents will be handed over to you and your lender, and the keys to the house will finally be yours.

We make borrowing simple so you can buy your first home and start paying off your loan, sooner, going from application to settlement in just a few simple steps.

If you are in the process of buying a home, get in contact with us online, or speak to our friendly team over the phone.

Arrange a call


Does the Contract of Sale Involve Any Special Conditions?

Although the standard form Contracts of Sale issued by the Real Estate Institute are sufficient for most property sales, frequently sellers and buyers will request special arrangements for their transactions which are required to be recorded as special conditions.

How Long is the Settlement Period?

The seller sets the settlement date in the contract of sale. As a general rule, property settlement periods are traditionally 30 to 90 days.

About the article

As Australia's leading online lender, loans.com.au has been helping people into their dream homes and cars for more than 10 years. Our content is written and reviewed by experienced financial experts. The information we provide is general in nature and does not take into account your personal objectives or needs. If you'd like to chat to one of our lending specialists about a home or car loan, contact us on Live Chat or by calling 13 10 90.

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