Buying Real Estate FAQ’s
Enlisting the help of a trusted real estate agent can help you navigate the often-tricky world of residential real estate. Your local real estate agent is perfectly-placed to provide you with advice and assistance relevant to your local real estate market.
- What questions should I ask the real estate agent when buying a home?
- Can you show me a recent property sales report to show what the house is worth?
- Why is the vendor selling?
- How long has the property been on the market?
- Are there any known issues with the property, land or neighbours’ properties?
- Exactly what is included in the sale?
- How long have the owners lived there?
- Is the property listed? If so, what grade is it? And is it in a conservation area?
- How much are council rates/body corporate levies?
Your local real estate agent can also help you through every stage of the property buying process, including finding a property within your price range.
What are the steps to buy a home?
Do you currently own a home? Get an appraisal as this is a great way to find out how much equity you already have. Your local agent can give you a free property appraisal or marketing opinion.
Contact your bank or Home Lending specialist to discuss your home buying plans and borrowing capacity.
Create a budget and save a deposit at least 10% the more the better.
Choose a home loan and apply for pre-approval
Research property market and neighbourhoods and download our Free Open Market report
Finalise your property must-haves. How Many bedrooms? Bathrooms? Garages? Do you need a Pool? Tennis Court? Side Access? Room for a shed?
Start the house hunt – Websites like domain.com.au, realestate.com.au and agent sites will show you what is on the market.
Get a Lawyer/conveyancer to review the contract if you are uncertain
Get a building inspection
Make offer or bid at auction
Sign contract and pay deposit
Arrange home and contents insurance
Process First Home Owner Grant (if applicable)
Complete settlement and move in
What are the different ways to buy a home?
There are 4 main ways to buy real estate in Australia
Private treaty – when the vendor or homeowner sets the price they would like to sell their property for and their real estate agent negotiates individually with prospective buyers to achieve a sale as close to this price as possible.
Auction – which is a public sale conducted by a licenced auctioneer. Properties are offered up for bid and if the reserve price is reached the property is sold to the highest bidder
Tender and Expression of Interest are processes wherein you submit a single offer, usually accompanied by a 5 or 10 per cent deposit, and it is accepted or rejected by the vendor.
What are the costs of buying a property?
At a minimum, you will need a 10% deposit plus enough funds to cover legal fees, a building inspection and stamp duty. If you buy a property with a deposit of less than 20% of the purchase price, most lenders will require you to take out mortgage insurance as well.
Take into consideration the additional costs of buying some Common Expenses include
Fees and charges related to obtaining a mortgage
Lenders mortgage insurance if you borrow more than 80% of the property purchase price
Taxes and rates over the period for which you will own the property
What is the first home buyer grant?
The First Home Owner Grant (scheme) was established to assist eligible first home owners to purchase a new home or build their home by offering a grant. The grant amount is determined by the date of the eligible transaction and each state has different rules and regulations.
Who is eligible to receive the first home owner grant?
To qualify for the first home owner grant you must meet the following criteria: each applicant is a person and not a company or trust, the applicant is a permanent resident or Australian citizen. Each applicant must be 18 years of age or above. All applicants and/or their spouse / de facto, have not owned a residential property, jointly or separately in any state or territory of Australia before July 2000. Each applicant must have entered into a contract for the purchase of a home and the total value of the home does not exceed the cap amount for eligible transactions (different in each state). Must also be the first time an applicant/spouse or defacto will receive the grant and that at least one applicant will occupy the home as their principal place of residence for a continuous period of 6 months commencing within 12 months of purchase.
What is stamp duty?
Stamp duty is a charge which is applied by state governments in Australia and is in relation to the transfer of land or property. The State Government charges may vary depending on the purpose of the property purchased.
What happens on auction day?
On auction day if you are wanting to bid, you must register in the bidder’s record and you will receive a bidders number that you will use when bidding.
The auctioneer will outline all rules before the bidding begins, so listen carefully to the auctioneer. If you are the successful bidder and the property sells to you, you are required to sign the contract immediately and pay a 10% deposit. There is no cooling off period if you buy at auction.
What should I look for in a neighbourhood?
To determine the right neighbourhood for you, consider your pace of life – are you young and is the proximity to friends and entertainment important or are you looking for a quieter suburb. If you have family plans consider schools, transport and amenities and safety of suburb. Consider where you work and the daily commute.
What is the settlement?
Closing or settlement is the final step in executing a real estate transaction. The closing date is set during the negotiation phase and is usually several weeks after the offer is formally accepted. On the closing date, the ownership of the property is transferred to the buyer.
Do I need a building and pest inspection?
You don’t need a building and pest inspection but it is recommended that you get one to ensure the property you are buying has no major issues as this could save you a lot of money in the future.