Home buying advice - your guide to home ownership

Confused about what exactly goes on during the journey towards owning your own home? Check out our handy step-by-step guide.


The home buying process

Once you’ve worked out how much you can afford to borrow and repay, saved your deposit, factored in all the costs involved, and investigated the home loan that’s right for you, now comes the fun part – buying your home! We investigate the steps involved in this page and on our downloadable guide below.

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Step-by-step guide to home ownership

There are many steps involved in purchasing a property which can vary between residential and investment properties. This guide explains each step in order as well as what is involved at every stage of the purchasing process.


Download now

Home loan application process

Once you and your Mortgage Choice broker have chosen a home loan that’s right for you, it’s time to submit an application. The process varies between lenders, but we’ve provided a general order of events below.
  • 1
    1 hour

    We'll meet with you to understand your financial & lifestyle goals. We'll search through hundreds of home loans to find the one that's right for you, calculate your borrowing power, work out repayments and answer any questions that you may have.

  • 2
    1 - 2 days

    Once we've helped you choose the loan that's right for you, we'll help you prepare the application and guide you through the process.

  • 3
    3 - 5 days

    The lender will provide conditional approval while they organise the property valuation and conduct a credit check. We'll stay in touch with the lender and keep you informed along the way.

  • 4
    5 - 8 days

    Unconditional (full) approval is formal acknowledgement that your home loan application has been approved.

  • 5
    5 -10 days

    Your loan is both a significant financial commitment and a strong financial foundation. We'll cover the cost of a discussion with our FinChoice financial adviser to help you manage your money through this major change, work out a plan for the future, and help protect what you're building along the way.

    Once your loan documents arrive, we'll organise a time to meet and help you complete the document.

  • 6
    5 - 15 days

    Loan settlement: if you're purchasing a property, your solicitor / conveyancer will organise settlement directly with the lender, according to the settlement date on the contract of sale. If you're refinancing your existing home loan, the lenders will liaise directly to exchange the documents.

  • 7
    Total process 4 - 8 weeks

    Keeping in touch: our service doesn't end once your loan settles. We will stay in touch to make sure your home loan is the right solution for your needs now and in the future.

Latest home loan interest rates

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Find out how much you can borrow and the costs involved with our free quick quote!

How to choose your property

You've done your homework, you’ve saved and saved, now comes the exciting part ... searching for your first home!

Choosing your property: what to consider

Inspect the roof and its insulation, see whether neighbouring properties are in good condition, check for damp patches and cracks inside - particularly if you found problems outside.

Is the location close to transport, medical facilities, schools, shops and restaurants?

Is the suburb you are looking to buy in growing in value or are adjoining suburbs experiencing rising value?

Check with the local council to see if any developments are planned for the area. These could have a significant impact on the value of your home.

Consider the noise generated by nearby commercial operations, schools, busy roads, railway lines or flight paths.

Does the home have off street parking? This could be crucial in an inner city area.

Coastal, river or bushland views are attractive. Distinctive features, from a period fireplace to a landscaped garden create scarcity and add value. However, it’s also important to consider the insurance implications of unique features.

Even the perfect home can be compromised by a block of units overlooking the backyard. Be sure to consider how the surroundings will impact on your personal privacy.

Mortgage Choice broker tip: Make a features list

Draw up a list of features that you would like your first home to have ... balcony, air conditioning, built-in-robes, car park, view and so on. Take it with you to home inspections to note the features each property offers. Use this as a scorecard to compare between homes.

Watch our Pandemic property update video series to understand the market trends during COVID-19

Will there be a seachange / treechange for owner-occupiers?

Will there be a shift towards houses vs apartments?

What is the future for off the plan and high density living?

Property investing during COVID-19

Are more first-time buyers choosing to build or to buy an established house?

Your local Mortgage Choice expert

or

How to make an offer

Making an offer for ‘the’ property is nerve-wracking stuff, but it pays to play it cool. 

Our tips to securing your ideal home at your ideal price!

If the property ticks all the boxes, play down how much you like it for extra bargaining power.

This may cost upwards of around $500, but it is a worthwhile investment. It could save you thousands of dollars in unexpected repair costs.

Only use the defects as a negotiating tool if you can genuinely afford to rectify the problems - otherwise, it's worth pushing the vendor to agree to have any defects addressed as part of the terms of the contract of sale.

You can usually ask for this after one inspection - sometimes the real estate agent may even have these available at the open home.

Arrange for your solicitor/conveyancer to check the contract carefully - they're likely to have a much better understanding of the legalese and be able to translate this into jargon-free language for you.

You are bound by the contract once you sign it, so it pays to make sure you are comfortable with the terms set out within it.

Pitch your first offer below the price you're actually prepared to pay. Submit your offer in writing, specifying how much you are willing to pay and include any conditions you would like to be noted such as a time frame for moving in.

It may be accepted straight away, or what is more likely is that you'll need to start negotiating with the vendor - usually through the real estate agent. You may be asked to pay a small holding deposit and sign a copy of the contract.

Keep in mind, at this stage the seller can still exchange contracts with other buyers - and may even accept their offer over yours. If this happens, they'll need to refund you the holding deposit so you won't be out of pocket.

If your offer is accepted, and you've agreed on a price with the vendor, you'll need to pay the full deposit (usually 5-10% of the property purchase price) and ensure the contract is signed.

In some states and territories, and in some situations, this step tends to happen at the end of a cooling off period.

The cooling-off period is normally 5-10 days and provides you with the chance to arrange inspections to check the condition of the property, and also to make sure you have your finances in order.

If, during this time, you choose to withdraw your offer, you may lose your initial holding deposit.

Once you've exchanged contracts, and the cooling-off period (where relevant) has ended, it's time to get your home loan finalised and prepare yourself for settlement.

Most of the heavy lifting at this stage tends to be completed by your lawyers and your mortgage broker, but you'll need to be available for reviewing and signing documents and providing any info needed by the lender.

Then, you can sit back and wait for the next stage - settlement day!


Do I need home loan pre-approval?

While it's not compulsory, pre-approval can allow you to further understand your borrowing power and helps determine what properties are in your price range.

Our video explains the benefits of pre-approval to help you decide if it's right for you.

Get your pre approval process started by speaking to your broker or with our free home loan quick quote.

Additional resources

You might also be interested in:

Buying at auction

See our tips to keep calm and maximise your chances of securing your property at the right price.

What does a conveyancer do?

Conveyancing is the legal process relating to the transfer of the ownership of real estate from the current owner/s to a new owner/s.

Exchanging contracts and settlement

The exchange of contract differs between private sales and auctions. Read on for the key points of difference.

Home buying costs

Buying a home will cost you more than what’s written on the property price tag. Generally speaking, you will need to allow 5% of the property’s purchase price to afford the additional buying costs.

Home loan deposit

Your deposit is one of the biggest factors in determining the kind of loan you may be eligible for and the amount you can borrow to buy your home.

What is a deposit bond?

Understand the various reasons for using a deposit bond rather than putting down a cash deposit to secure your new home.

Lenders' Mortgage Insurance (LMI)

When borrowing more than 80% of a property’s value, it is generally a condition of the loan that the borrower pays Lenders' Mortgage Insurance (LMI).

Tb_eGuide_step_by_step_guide_225x317.png

Step-by-step guide to home ownership

There are many steps involved in purchasing a property which can vary between residential and investment properties. This guide explains each step in order as well as what is involved at every stage of the purchasing process.


Download now

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