To help first home buyers achieve their dream of homeownership and to simplify the process of buying your first home, we’ve created a first home buyers guide that covers the entire home buying journey.

Our guide to buying your first home will give you a framework and a series of actionable steps that you can take when buying your first home while avoiding costly mistakes.

Did you know last year almost 110,000 Australians bought their first home? You can too!

Let’s dive in.

Getting your first home loan – Three key concepts

LVR (Loan to Value Ratio)

Loan to Value Ratio (LVR) is the amount you’re borrowing against the value of the property represented as a percentage.

So, if you’re borrowing $450,000 for a $500,000 property, that means your LVR is 90% of the property value.

The higher the LVR is, the higher the risk is to the lender, and that’s why lenders place a heavy emphasis on LVR.

Typically, first home buyers can borrow up to 95% of the property value. For strong applicants, some lenders will lend up to 97% of the property value.

Have a go at using our LVR calculator as this is something that’ll always come up whenever you’re talking about home loans.

First home buyer tip: Banks will almost always use the lower of the purchase price or the valuation figure as the property value when calculating the LVR.

Genuine savings

Lender’s genuine savings requirement is something that often catches out first home buyers when they apply for a home loan.

‘Genuine savings’ is basically funds that you’ve saved over time. Most lenders require that at least 5% of your deposit come from genuine savings when you’re applying for a loan greater than 90% of the property value.

That means if you’re planning to borrow $500,000, then you’d require at least $25,000 (5%) in genuine savings. Now if you only had $24,000, then you’d be declined.

Fortunately, there are many ways to circumvent this policy, i.e. by:

  • Using paid rental history as a substitute for genuine savings; or
  • Applying with a lender that does not require genuine savings.

First home buyer tip: Did you know that you can turn any deposit into genuine savings by simply waiting 3 months? (except a borrowed deposit). Turning your deposit into genuine savings is as simple as putting the funds in a savings account, adding it to it each month for three months and then voila, it is considered genuine savings.

LMI (Lenders Mortgage Insurance)

Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI) is an insurance that protects the lender in the worst-case scenario where you default on your home loan. LMI is typically applicable when borrowing more than 80% of the property value.

LMI fees go up the higher your loan to value ratio is.

As an example, first home buyers can expect to pay between $17,339 and $25,992 in LMI fees, when borrowing 95% of the property value to purchase a $600,000 house in New South Wales.

While when borrowing 85% of the property for the same property, you can expect to pay between $0 and $7,140. Some lenders will waive the LMI fee for strong borrowers borrowing up to 85% of the property value.

According to a recent Genworth Report, 59.6% of prospective first home buyers are planning to buy now with a smaller deposit rather than wait until they’ve saved up a 20% deposit.

First home buyer tip: The rate that LMI is charged at jumps significantly when you borrow over $300,000, $500,000 or $1,000,000. E.g. If you’re borrowing $299,999, you’ll pay much less in LMI than if you borrow $300,001 even though your loan is just $2 more.

The cost of LMI jumps when you borrow over 90% of the property value. So again a small reduction in the size of your loan can save you tens of thousands of dollars in LMI.

LMI waiver for first home buyers

Middle and low-income first home buyers purchasing a modest home or building a home can get the LMI fee waived using the federal government’s First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, also known as the first home buyers scheme.

Under the Scheme, a first home buyer in Sydney, NSW can save up to $30,657 in LMI fees.

As a minimum to qualify for the First Home Buyers Scheme:

  • A 5% deposit is required;
  • You must be earning less than $125,000 p.a. As a single applicant or $200,000 as a couple;
  • You must be buying an owner-occupier property within the regional property price threshold, i.e. a modest home.

How to set a budget for your first home?

First things first, you need to work out your budget.

You want to answer these four questions for yourself:

  • How much can I reasonably afford to borrow?
  • How much of a deposit do I need as a first-time buyer?
  • Am I eligible for any government grants as a first home buyer?
  • Do I understand all the costs that come with homeownership?

How much can I afford to borrow? Understand your borrowing power

Some of the factors considered when calculating your borrowing power are:

  • Income: Will lenders accept all your income? Will they restrict your overtime and bonus income? Will they accept Centrelink family tax benefits for the kids? It depends on the lender that you’re applying with.
  • Living expenses: Almost always, lenders will use the higher of your actual living expenses and their own minimum benchmark called the HEM (Household Expenditure Method).
  • Existing debts: Your repayments for ongoing liabilities, i.e. personal loans, credit cards, HECS-HELP debts are all factored in.
  • Interest rate buffer: Most lenders will also add a buffer of 2.5% or more on top of the home loan interest rate to ensure that you can still make your repayments if interest rates were to rise in the future.

There’s a lot more that goes into calculating your borrowing power. Moreover, since each lender calculates it differently, it can get hard to get an accurate estimate of your borrowing power.

To that effect, you can use our borrowing power calculator, which will give you a comparison of your borrowing power across 3 of our top lenders.

First home buyer tip: Cancelling unused credit cards or reducing the limit on existing credit cards will give you a significant boost to your borrowing power.


How much of a deposit do I need as a first-time buyer?

As a general rule, you’d need at least 5%-10% of the property value as a deposit.

Property Purchase Price Minimum Deposit %
20% 5%
Without Lenders Mortgage Insurance Lenders Mortgage Insurance required
$300,000 $60,000 $15,000
$400,000 $80,000 $20,000
$500,000 $100,000 $25,000
$600,000 $120,000 $30,000
$700,000 $140,000 $35,000

When diving a bit deeper, how much of a deposit you need as a first-time buyer depends on three factors:

  • Are you looking to buy a new or an established property?
  • Whether or not you qualify for the first home owners grant (FHOG)/first home buyer concessions; and
  • How much are you paying in Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI) fees?

Interestingly, according to a recent Genworth FHB Whitepaper report, almost seven in 10 (68.7%) recent first home buyers did not fund 100% of their deposit from their own savings.

In addition, the majority (56.9%) relied on parental or family assistance (guarantor), and more than a third (35.6%) took out Lenders Mortgage Insurance.

Do first home buyers qualify for any government grants?

Both the Australian federal government and state governments have introduced various grants and schemes specifically to help first home buyers purchase a modest first home.

First Home Owners Grant (FHOG)

Introduced in July 2000, the First Home Owners Grant (FHOG) is a government scheme that gives a one-off payment to help first home buyers into the first home.

The eligibility criteria and the amount of grant you’ll receive varies between states and territories.

The grant you receive can be used as a deposit when buying your first home.

Do first home buyers pay stamp duty?

Along with grants, first home buyers also save money as they’re exempt from stamp duty (transfer duty), or enjoy significant concessions.

In most states and territories, stamp duty is exempt if you’re buying a property within the property price threshold outlined.

For instance, if you were buying a house in Canberra valued at $630,078, then you save $17,020.32 as stamp duty is exempt for a first home buyer!

First Home Super Saver Scheme

Another government scheme to help first home buyers is the First Home Super Saver Scheme, which was introduced in July 2018.

In the super saver scheme, first home buyers can use their supper account to save some money for a home deposit.

You can either make before-tax or after-tax contributions to your super account, and the maximum amount you can contribute is capped at $30,000.

First Home Loan Deposit Scheme

A recently introduced nationwide scheme to get eligible first home buyers on to the property ladder is the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, which was introduced in January 2020.

The Scheme is a government guarantee that will help you get approved for a home loan if you’ve only saved 5% of the deposit required.

Understand the true costs of homeownership

First home buyers often underestimate the true costs of buying a home and the ongoing costs of homeownership.

To get the full picture, let’s take an extensive look at all the costs involved with buying and owning a house.

For this example, we’ll be using a first home buyer in Sydney NSW buying a $700,000 property at 90% LVR.

The True Cost of buying and owning a house
Property price $600,000
Home loan details $540,000 @4% p.a
Initial one-off purchasing costs
Transfer Registration $143.50
Stamp duty $0.00 (Stamp duty is waived up to a certain price threshold for first-time buyers)
Total $143.50
Home loan set up fees
Mortgage Registration $143.50
Loan establishment fees $1,000
Settlement fee $1,000
Lenders Mortgage Insurance fee $14,301
Total $16,444.50
One-off property costs
Valuation fee $300
Conveyancing fee $1,200
Removalist Costs $1,000
Building Inspection Report $300
Pest Inspection Report $150
Connecting phone, cable and internet $100
Total $3,050
Yearly Property Maintenance and Mortgage Costs
Mortgage Repayments $30,936‬/year ($2,578 x 12 monthly repayments)
Content Insurance $100
Strata fees/body corporate (i.e. building insurance, garden maintenance) $2,000/year
Council Rates $500
Water Rates $500
Total $34,036
Total Costs of Home Ownership Year 1 $53,674‬

How to save for a house deposit?

Saving for a home deposit is one of the most significant barriers to entry faced by a first home buyer.

With modest wages and the rising costs of living and property prices, saving even a 5% minimum deposit is becoming a difficult task.

And things can get stressful if you don’t know how to start saving for a deposit for your first home.

Fortunately, we’ve have outlined some practical tips you can follow today to start saving for a home deposit.

The basic principle for saving money is that you cut down on your expenses and try to increase your income.

An excellent place to start is to evaluate your living expenses. If you know where you’re spending, you will know which areas you can cut back and use the money saved towards the deposit for your first home.

Since lenders look into living expenses when assessing a home loan, you should evaluate your expenses a few months before applying for a home loan.

Working overtime and taking on a second job is a popular choice that many first home buyers make.

You can look for freelancing gigs and look for ways to monetise the skills you have.

The sooner you start, the more you’ll save – so start saving today!

If you can make even the smallest of changes to your spending habits, then it can go a long way to help you save a deposit for your first home.

First home buyer tip: Did you know lenders will only look at your last 3 months transaction statements to verify your living expenses? A regular savings habit means you meet the genuine savings requirement and cutting down on your living expenses can help you borrow the amount you need.


What do first time home buyers need to know?

How do lenders assess you as a borrower?

Looking at yourself from the perspective of a bank can help you identify both your strong points and weaknesses as a borrower.

It can be summed up with what’s known as the 5Cs of Credit.

  • Capital
  • Capacity
  • Collateral
  • Character
  • Common Sense (Condition) – all the other elements that don’t fit.

5C’s of Credit – Capital

Capital refers to your deposit and your overall financial situation. This is the first thing that lenders look at. Even if the rest of your application is star-spangling great, if you do not have a sufficient deposit, then most lenders will knock back your application.

5C’s of Credit – Capacity

Capacity: Capacity refers to a first home buyers’ borrowing power. Lenders will look at your income, living expenses and current debts to work out if you can afford to make repayments without hardship. It is known as a serviceability assessment. Lenders will assess your ability to make repayments not on the current interest rate but with an added buffer. Generally, they add a buffer of 2.5% p.a on the current rate.

5C’s of Credit – Collateral

Collateral: Collateral refers to the property you’re purchasing which they’ll take on as security. It’s the property against which your loan will be secured. Lenders want to be assured that should you default on your home loan, they’ll be able to recoup the money they’ve lent you.

What first home buyers need to understand is that the type of property (collateral) will factor into how much they can borrow. Primarily because:

  • Postcode restrictions: Most lenders have areas that they’ve identified as high risk and are wary of taking on properties in these areas as collateral. It’s known as postcode restrictions.
  • Security size: Banks and lenders will also limit the amount they’ll lend against specific types of properties based on their size. For example, there simply aren’t lenders that will accept a studio apartment that’s less than 18 sq m. Similarly, there are restrictions against larger acreage property.

High-density apartments (inner-city apartments) and serviced apartments all affect how much you can borrow.

5C’s of Credit – Character

Character: Character refers to your financial conduct and credit history as a reliable borrower. They do this by looking at factors which have proven to be statistically lower risk, namely your:

5C’s of Credit – Common sense/ Condition

Common sense/ Condition: Many first home buyers don’t even realise that they have potential credit issues that could see their home loan application knocked back when submitting it.

A short employment history, maternity leave, even your age can limit your lender options or worse yet, get you knocked back. As an example, if it’s a mature borrower, lenders will look at an applicant’s retirement age. This is how the lender ensures that everything stacks up and the loan makes sense. Luckily, purchasing a property is considered lower risk by lenders compared to construction loans, debt consolidation, renovations etc.

Anything from the 5Cs of credit that doesn’t stack up is considered a potential credit issue and may see your home loan application knocked back.

What first home buyers need to understand about the 5Cs of credit?

Each bank and lender is flexible on a few of these “potential credit issues” but never multiple or all.

For example, generally major banks won’t consider a bad credit score but are more accommodating of first home buyers when they’re purchasing unusual security, i.e. an apartment in a high-density location. Inversely, smaller lenders can consider the former but not the latter.

First home buyer tip: Choosing the right lender based on your individual circumstances becomes paramount. That is the difference between you getting approved and getting knocked back for a home loan.


What is the best type of home loan for first time buyers?

For first home buyers borrowing no more than $250,000, a Basic Home Loan (no-frills home loans) is often ideal as they offer a low interest rate, no recurring fees, and often have reduced or no application fees. Moreover, they are simple and easy to use.

With small loan amounts, the fees are more important than the interest rates, so this type of loan product with minimal fees tend to work out better.

For first home buyers borrowing over $250,000, a Professional Package Home Loan can give you a discounted interest rate, reduced or waived bank fees, and come packaged with free offset accounts. However, an annual fee between $300 and $750 applies with these pro-packs.

You can learn more about the different types of home loans for first time buyers here.

First home buyer tip: Some basic home loans come with an offset account for a small annual fee. If you have enough funds to put in an offset account, it’s worthwhile to pay the fee. Talk to your bank or your mortgage broker to find out the home loan type or loan product that compliments your financial goal.


How to find the right property?

Choosing where, what, and how to buy?

As a general rule, you should first consider if the property meets your expectations, then research the property market to compare prices, suburbs, and know about first home packages.

You may also want to figure out the property type you want to buy and, most importantly, the type of properties the banks typically prefer?

Finding the right property to buy can be a real struggle, much like getting an approval for your first home loan. But since it’s a huge investment, you may not want to take it lightly as the entire process is quite unnerving and demands a lot of your hard work.

To make things easier, follow these steps:

  • Get familiar with the property types and their pros and cons: A good understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of each property type will help you find the right property that meets your personal expectations and needs.
  • Research the property market: Set the criteria for your search, create a checklist and try researching the property market — both online and in the real world.
  • Take the right pick: From units vs houses to townhouses and duplexes, and construction vs renovating to buying off-the-plan, there’s a lot of options to choose from. Once you’ve done your research and you’re sure about what you want for your first home, lock it in.
  • Find a suitable property within your budget: Consider your budget and pick the suburb that best for you to live in. Narrow your property search, and if you already have a pre-approval, we can help you make an educated decision by providing suburb reports and property reports. We can even help you find a suitable conveyancer who will take care of the legal part.

Do not let housing market conditions delay your decision to buy a house to live in. Over the long term, you’ll be better off.

First home buyers tip: Find out what kind of properties lenders generally prefer, i.e. avoid apartments under 50m2, high rise apartments or properties with land sizes greater than 2 hectares. That’s very important if you want to increase your chances of getting an approval.

Buying an investment property as a first home buyer

According to Genworth’s 2019 Report, one in six (15.5%) prospective FHBs responded that they are planning to enter the market by way of an investment property purchase.

This increasing number of first home buyers looking to purchase an investment property are taking advantage of the ability to service the loan via the rental income, while also trying to take advantadge of property price growth.


What is the first time home buying process like?

Buying your first property is an exciting time, and being aware of the different stages in the home buying process and knowing what to expect at each step can make it manageable and smooth.

As mortgage brokers, we regularly see many first home buyers miss out on their dream home simply because they didn’t obtain a home loan pre-approval before they started looking at houses.

Worse yet, panic-stricken first home buyers approach us with looming settlement dates fearful they might lose their deposit.

First home buyer tip: We can’t stress this enough – get pre-approved before putting an offer on a house. Better yet, get multiple pre-approvals, especially if you’re buying at auctions. Remember, some pre-approvals aren’t worth the paper they’re written in.


Choose your service providers

Assemble your team of experts, who will guide you through each step of the process.

Mortgage brokers

Did you know mortgage brokers arrange more than half of all residential home loans?

Why is that?

As mortgage brokers with almost 40 lenders on our panel, we are usually able to negotiate a much sharper interest rate than if you were to go to a bank directly.

The great thing about a mortgage broker is that even if you don’t fit into all the pretty little boxes of lending policies, they can comprehensively assess your situation, usually for free, and come back to you with some options.

The alternative is applying with lender after lender, getting knocked back, adding enquiries to your credit file, and, as a result, making it even more difficult to qualify.

Conveyancer

Conveyancers or solicitors are vital in ensuring that the legal side of things is all taken care of.

Since property law and requirements can vary greatly between states, it is recommended that you find a reputable local conveyancer that specialises in your state.

You can also go through our recommended list of conveyancers by state.


Get ready to buy – What to expect when buying your first home?

What to inspect when buying a house?

Inspecting properties prior to settlement is quite crucial. It helps you avoid any unwanted surprises like stained walls, broken bathrooms, and the like.

For auctions, it has to be done, at least, a week before the auction date.

When buying your first home, it is imperative that you consult your conveyancer; you may not know much about each type of inspection, but your conveyancer surely will.

Have him order reports for:

  • Pest inspection
  • Building inspection
  • Strata report (only for units and apartments)

Although ordering these reports may cost you some money, it’s going to be far less than what you have to pay later for the repairs and renovations after you’ve bought a faulty home.


Buying in auctions vs via private treaty sales

Private treaty sales

Private treaty sales represent around 85% of all dwelling sales across the country.

According to CoreLogic data, houses in Sydney take around 56 days between when a property is listed and the contract date.

And the median discount off the original listed price and the final selling price was at 3% in February 2020 for Sydney.

You can use this data to negotiate a vendor discount minimising the risk of your offer being rejected outright.

Buying at auction as a first home buyer

In highly competitive property markets like Sydney and Melbourne, almost all properties are auctioned off so it may be quite impossible to avoid buying at auctions.

Generally, we don’t recommend that first home buyers bid at auctions because:

  • You don’t have government safety nets like the buyer’s right to terminate at auctions.
  • There is no 5-day cooling-off period so you will need to pay your deposit right away without an option to back out of the deal.
  • First home buyers with not more than 5% deposit may find it difficult to bid at auctions. Even if they do manage to land a deal, there are only a few lenders who can finance them.
  • The Contract of Sale at auctions is not conditional on the final loan approval.
  • You need to acquire and pay for the building and pest inspections as well as building valuation prior to the auction date. But if you fail to land the property, you will end up losing money on these pre-auction activities.

First home buyer tip: It is a good idea to get multiple pre-approvals before actually bidding at auctions. As for getting comfortable bidding at auctions, going to as many auctions as possible is the best way to do it.


Make your offer, sign the contract and prepare for settlement

How to make an offer on a property?

Once you’ve found your ideal property, you’d need to determine how much to offer.

  • Avoid relying on advertised sale price. Use them as a guide, research the property and recent comparable sales in the area. Go with data. We can order upfront valuations which tend to be more reliable.
  • Talk to the real estate agent/ vendor and ask them lots of questions, i.e. why are they selling it? How long has it been in the market for? How negotiable are the prices? What’s the lowest offer they are likely to accept?
  • Know your upper limit. This should be no more than the loan amount you’re approved for and no more than the market think the property is worth.
  • Decide on a starting offer. Remember, in a buyer’s market, you have more bargaining power, but don’t make an offer that’s insultingly low. It may just mean you lose out on the property. If it’s a seller’s market and there is a lot of interest in the property, consider going with your best and last offer.

Making an offer is a significant step in the home buying process, so before you make an offer, make sure you:

  • Understand the differences between a conditional vs unconditional offers. With conditional offers, the sale is final subject to certain conditions being met, i.e. satisfactory building and pest inspection. While an unconditional offer means once an offer is accepted by the vendor, the sale is final.
  • Have your conveyancer or solicitor go over the contract of sale. It is recommended to have a time limit on the offer as it creates a sense of urgency for the seller and also frees you up to make an offer on another property if it falls through.
  • Make an offer in writing instead of verbally. This means the real estate agent or the vendor is obliged to communicate your offer to the seller.

First home buyer tip: You can make multiple offers at once on the same property, each offering different terms. Some sellers may prefer a buyer who is paying in cash or with a longer settlement time as they might not want to move out for some time. In such cases, you could make a starting offer with a quicker settlement date but with a competitive price that you’re okay with, and another with a longer settlement date but with a slightly lower price. Remember the price isn’t everything.

Sign the Contract of Sale

Once you offer a signed Contract of Sale to the seller, then that is considered a formal offer.

Before signing the Contract of sale, go through it with your solicitor or conveyancer to ensure the contract reflects everything you want.

The contract of sale contains:

  • The names of the vendor and purchaser.
  • The property address.
  • The amount of the deposit that must be paid.
  • The sale price of the property.
  • The date of the property settlement.
  • Certificate of title information.
  • Whether the property will be available as a vacant possession, or if it is subject to a lease.
  • Conditions of the sale such as financing information or whether additional building inspections are required.
  • Other general and special conditions/encumbrances (mortgage or a lease agreement).

Cooling off periods

After you’ve signed your contract of sale, this is when the cooling off period starts. It is a critical stage in the home buying process, where you can even cancel the contract.

If the buyer does not want to proceed with the purchase of the property and terminates the contract of sale during the cooling off period, then only the termination fee is paid, and the seller has to refund the rest of the deposit minus the termination fee.

However, if the buyer cancels the contract after the cooling off period, then there is no refund of the deposit.

The cooling off period usually starts on the day you receive the copy of the signed contract and ends at 5 pm after five business days.

However, the cooling off period varies according to the state and territories.

State/Territory Cooling off period Termination fee
New South Wales (NSW) By 5 pm on 5 business days after the contract date 0.25% of the purchase price
Victoria (VIC) By 5 pm on 3 business days after signing the contract Either $100 or 0.2% of the purchase price (greater of the two)
Western Australian (WA) There is no mandatory cooling off period
Australian Capital Territory (ACT) By 5 pm on 5 business days after the contract date (the counting of days does not include contract date) 0.25% of purchase price
Northern Territory (NT) By 5 pm on 4 business days (the counting of days does not include the contract date) 0.25% of purchase price
South Australia (SA) 2 business days $100
Tasmania (TAS) 3 business day after contract date (the counting of days does not include the date the contract was signed)
Queensland (QLD) By 5 pm on the 5th business days (counting of days includes the date of contact) 0.25% of purchase price

Once the cooling off period ends, the contract of sale becomes unconditional, and the buyer cannot back out of the contract without incurring some financial penalties.

First home buyer tip: It’s a good idea to review the terms and conditions outlined in th contract of sale with your conveyancer during this time. Furthermore, you might want to opt for a pre-settlement inspection during the cooling off period as well.

Prepare for settlement

What you need to do is a final inspection before settlement. Organise this 5 days or a week before settlement day to give the vendor enough time to fix anything that needs to be fixed.

We have a handy pre-settlement checklist that you can follow to ensure that the property is in the same state as it was when the contract was first signed.

It is essential to do this because you may be able to get it fixed before settlement or reduce the purchase price as compensation for any issues, i.e. broken windows, stained carpets etc. you may uncover.

This is your final chance to ensure that all conditions in your Contract have been complied with, and if not it will give the vendor sufficient time to do so.

As an added bonus, doing this is a great way to really get to know the property you’ve bought and makes the moving day much smoother.


Complete settlement

You’re in the home stretch and are just waiting on the settlement day.

The final leg of the home buying process is finally here – settlement.

A house settlement, also known as home loan settlement is when you pay the rest of the purchase price of the property, and the final legal documents are exchanged.

It’s an exciting part for a first home buyer since this is when the property is transferred in your name, and you get the keys to your new home!

The settlement process can take quite a while, but you don’t need to worry as the bulk of the work will be done by your appointed conveyancer.

To make sure the settlement does not go through any hiccups, make sure you have funds ready to go.

Work with your conveyancer to confirm that your mortgage is ready to go into effect and that your lender is ready to pay the balance owed to the seller.

What to do on settlement day?

    Here are a few tips you can follow to prepare for settlement day. Ensure that you’ve:

  • Hired a solicitor/conveyancer to act on your behalf in the settlement process.
  • Signed and dated the Contract of Sale with the correct settlement date (agreed to by both you and the seller).
  • Organised all the funds needed to complete the sale, i.e. to cover stamp duty, lenders mortgage insurance and other fees.
  • Taken out building and contents insurance effective from the purchase date.
  • Completed a final inspection of the property.

First home buyer tip: It’s a good plan to only move into your new home after settlement date as some unforeseen circumstances could lead to a delay in your settlement date. Give yourself a few days’ buffer and only hire removalists after the settlement date.


Take ownership of your home

How to set up utilities when buying a house?

Setting up utilities is as simple as picking up the phone and talking to an energy provider.

Carefully compare and choose an energy provider. It is recommended that you do this a week before moving day to ensure you have power when you move in. You’ll most likely have to pay an electricity connection fee to connect your power.

Obtain quotes from different utility providers and consider bundling different services to get a discount.

Water is always turned on at your property. Water providers take a final read of the meter and close off the previous owner’s account. So once you or your solicitor informs them the provider will set up your new account.

Set up your phone and internet.

Get the keys to your new house

First things first, once you get the keys to your new house, consider having the keys and locks changed. You don’t know who has the keys to your house; some real estate agents do provide this service.

Move-in using our first time home buyer moving checklist

Prepare to move using our moving house checklist.


Managing your home loan after settlement

Congratulations, you’ve successfully completed your first property journey and bought your first home. Now comes the hard part of paying off your home loan.

Since your home loan is likely going to be the biggest debt you’ll want to pay it off faster while minimising the interest payable, i.e. managing your home loan.

There are a few simple you can take that to do just that:

  • Pay a little extra as they can lead to significant savings. For example, on a $500,000 loan with an interest rate of say 4.5% p.a. (30 year P & I), paying an extra $100 towards your monthly mortgage repayments can lead to savings of $36,242 in interest. What’s more, you pay off your home loan 2 years and 3 months in advance.
  • Switch to weekly or fortnightly repayments. Increasing your repayment frequency from monthly to weekly or fortnightly is essentially like paying extra towards your mortgage. With a monthly repayment frequency, you’ll make 12 repayments, however, with a weekly repayment you’ll make 54 repayments, and 26 repayments by going biweekly. Since interest is calculated daily, the more frequently you make repayments, the more in interest you save.
  • Use an offset account. Basically, you don’t pay any interest on funds in your offset account. So let’s say you have $50,000 in your offset account, and had a $500,000 mortgage, the bank will only charge you interest as if you owed $450,000. In this case, if you made the same original repayments, you would pay the loan 3 years and 11 months earlier and save $119,604 in interest. You can use our offset calculator to work your savings.

First home buyers tip: If you haven’t refinanced or renegotiated your home loan in the last two years, then you’re almost certainly paying too much on your mortgage. The difference in interest rates being charged by the big banks and non-bank lenders are already at 0.75% p.a. on average. We regularly update and publish the best interest rates on offer from our panel of almost 40 lenders to keep you updated. We call it the 2-year rule.


Get started on your journey to homeownership today!

That’s it. If you follow the guidelines outlined in our first home buyers guide, you’ll have a much more straightforward and enjoyable first home buying journey than most.

Speak with one of our award-winning mortgage brokers for first home buyers by giving us a call on 1300 889 743 or fill in our short no-obligation assessment form and buy your first property.