A Guide To Buying Your First Home


Buying your first home is an exciting but big step, and there is quite a lot to consider. To make things easier, we’ve put together a list of things to go through when purchasing a property for the first time. 


A good place to start is drawing up a budget of what you can realistically afford, factoring any additional expenses to home ownership (see below under Additional Expenses). Once you’ve drafted a personal budget, the next step is to talk to a mortgage broker about the best home loan on the market for you and the possibility of home loan pre-approval. Pre-approval makes the lending process a lot easier when it does come time to formally apply for a home loan.

Our Mortgage Express brokers can help you to secure financing, and share with you a range of home loan products and interest rates, to help you choose an option suitable for you. Brokers work independently from lenders, so they’re able to show you a broad range of home lending options and help you to find the lowest interest rate. Brokers also come at no cost to you, as their fees are paid for by the lender, so you’re able to get independent financial advice at no additional cost.

Due diligence

It’s vital to do your due diligence before buying a home. This means inspecting the property in person if practical, and ensuring the proper building and pest inspections are carried out. Building and pest inspections do incur a cost, however they ensure there is no structural damage or serious damage from pests, such as termites. Both scenarios can cost you thousands more if left undiscovered until after you purchase your new home. 

Some contracts can actually be subject to a condition which says a building or pest inspection is to be carried out before settlement. What this enables you to do is ensure an inspection is carried out prior to settlement, and means no other offers are able to be accepted by the sellers during this time. 

Buying at Auction 

Doing your due diligence is essential no matter the method of sale, however if the home you are interested in is being sold via auction, you will need to carry out all building and pest inspections before the auction, even in the event you are not the successful bidder. This is because sales by auction are not subject to the usual conditions of sale. You can find out more about the auction process in our guide to buying at auction.

Additional costs

Apart from a home deposit and the ongoing cost of mortgage repayments, there are other fees and charges you should be aware of before buying your first home.

  • Lawyers/conveyancing fees  It is a good idea to have a property lawyer look over the contract of sale and mortgage documents before signing a sale agreement. A lawyer can also assist with conveyancing, the process of transferring titles. Fees vary.  
  • Building and pest inspections  As mentioned earlier, it’s definitely worth investing in a one-off building and pest inspection before signing a contract or as part of a condition of sale to ensure your potential home is structurally sound and pest free. 
  • Stamp duty If you’re in Australia, stamp duty can be a considerable cost to factor in to the cost of buying your first home. The amount of stamp duty you’ll pay is dependent on the state you’re buying the property in. Some states also have first home buyer concessions on stamp duty. Stamp duty can also be borrowed as part of your home loan. 
  • Home and contents insurance  Remember that home insurance is an essential part of the home-buying process. Insuring your home is something that needs to be organised and ready to take effect as soon as you settle on your property, not necessarily the date you move in. So make sure you have looked at your options and chosen the premium that best suits your needs and budget. 

There is a lot to consider when buying your first home, but it’s also an incredibly exciting time! Remember to enjoy your new place once you’re settled in, and congratulations on reaching this milestone.


Our approach to customer service is more attentive than ever. We know buying, selling or renting a home can be overwhelming. Harcourts Complete provides services and information you will need before, during and after the move.

Speak to our mortgage experts.

Keeping you covered wherever you are.

Currency exchange with zero fees

Utility connection service