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What are the upfront costs when buying a home?

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When you are saving for a home, it's not just the cost of the house you need to consider. See our guide to the most common upfront costs of buying a home.

Buying a home is both an exciting and a daunting adventure. You might think that the struggle is over after you’ve found your house and had your home loan approved. However, your journey to home-ownership does not end there. There are still an array of upfront costs and potential hidden costs to take into account.

Here are the most common upfront costs when buying a home:


Whether you’re buying a house or a property for investment, you will be required to pay a deposit. Most lenders will require you to put down a minimum deposit of 20% of the property price. The house deposit is easily the biggest upfront expenditure you will be required to make. The final cost of the deposit can depend on the type of loan you get too. 

Stamp duty costs

Stamp duty is a huge cost that would surprise any home buyer who didn’t do their research. With the exception of the loan deposit, this might be your largest upfront cost and can amount to tens of thousands of dollars. Stamp duty will vary depending on your state and territory and the value of your property. You can use our stamp duty calculator to get an estimate of how much you’ll likely need to pay or read our state-by-state guide to stamp duty.

Calculate stamp duty

Depending on where you live and where you are buying a property, there are certain concessions to stamp duty. For example, many states exempt first home buyers from paying stamp duty fees. 

Transfer and Mortgage registration fees

The Transfer fee is a fee levied by state governments to cover the cost of transferring the title. The transfer fee depends on you state or territory.

Mortgage registration fees are charged by state and territory governments to register the physical property as the security on the home loan. This allows any future buyers to check any claims that exist on the home.

Mortgage registration fees are paid when the loan is established or discharged (or in Tasmania’s case, both!)

Check out the mortgage registration fee and transfer fee for each state and territory in the table below. 

State/territory Mortgage registration fee* Transfer fee Total
New South Wales $148 $295 $443
Queensland $187 $1,120  $1,307
Victoria $119 $1,373 $1,492
South Australia $173 $4,507 $4,680
Tasmania $135 $357 $492
Western Australia $178 $453 $631
ACT $153 $571 $724
Northern Territory $152 $304 $456

Source: REA

Lender's Mortgage Insurance

Lender's Mortgage Insurance is an insurance cost that homebuyers must pay when borrowing more than 80% of the value of the property. 

If you borrow more than 80% of the property value, you’ll need to pay for Lender’s Mortgage Insurance. But if you are able to put down a deposit of more than 20% of the property value, you will not be charged for LMI. 

Here is a helpful guide to LMI and how it works.

Legal and conveyancing fees

When it comes to buying property, there are a range of legal fees associated with it. Sale contracts, completing property and title searches, mortgage paperwork, and other legal documents will be done by your solicitor or conveyancer. 

Loan application fees

Some financial institutions will impose an application fee when you apply for a loan. Other upfront charges a lender might charge you are valuation fees, establishment fees, settlement fees and a loan approval fee.

Pest and building inspection

Nobody wants to live in a home where pests or defects exist, so ensuring you get a building and pest inspection is essential when buying a property. The cost can vary depending on your location and size of the property. In many cases, these inspections can be combined to help keep costs low. 

Pest inspections are not the only thing to consider when looking for a home, here is a guide to house inspections.

Moving-in expenses

Another cost that can add up is removalist fees. loans.com.au recommends you shop around to various companies to compare costs and get a quote before you select one.

This is even more important if you are moving a long distance or interstate.

Utility connections

Once you own the home, it's important to make sure it's connected to everything you need to live in it. Connection to electricity, telecommunication, water, and gas should all be items accounted for in your budget. 

Home and contents insurance

As new homeowners, it's important to keep  both your home and the the items in it safe and secure. Your home is a valuable asset, you will need to protect it by having it insured. The price of the insurance varies because you have the option to get only home insurance, contents insurance, or both.

Similar to removalist costs, it’s worth shopping around to compare different companies. Depending on where your new home is, insurance may be more important.

Factors like weather, storms or bushfires can all mean higher premiums and costs of insurance, so make sure your home and contents package suits you and your home.

Quick repairs or maintenance costs

There might be some minor repairs and maintenance needed after you have moved into your new home. You might have overlooked some things, so it’s best to have some money set aside in case some quick repairs are required. 

Similarly, landscaping costs can be substantial depending on the size of your property. If you’ve gotten used to having a property owner taking care of your lawn expenses, then you’ll be surprised at how much equipment is required to maintain your lawn and other landscaping. The cost of landscaping will vary depending on the size of your lawn and the services required to maintain it.

These are just some of the additional costs when buying a home. Be sure that you’re well-aware of all the associated fees before purchasing a property.

To chat about home loans, your borrowing power, or to get started on your home ownership journey, chat to one of our friendly lending experts today.

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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