Make purchasing a home you love simple and stress-free with the following step-by-step buyer timeline.


Step 1: Finance / First Home Loan

Whether it’s your first, second or third home, obtain pre-approval from your bank or financial institution, so you know exactly how much you’ve got to spend. Shop around for the best loan and be realistic about what you can afford. Although Australia is currently experiencing a period of historically low interest rates, choosing a fixed-rate loan or budgeting for some rate increases will give you peace of mind if and when rates do begin to rise. If you’re taking out your first mortgage, take the time to learn about different financial products before deciding which one’s right for you. There are a range of fees you need to pay when you buy a home. You can find out what these are from the Real Estate Institute in your state.


Step 2: Legals

Yes, buying property is a legally binding transaction so unless you’re a law professional yourself, it’s time to call in the experts. A conveyancer or solicitor is the most qualified person to handle the legal side of the home-buying process, including reviewing the contract of sale prior to purchase. The Australian Institute of Conveyancers offers some handy tips on choosing a conveyancer.


Step 3: Go Hunting

While house hunting can be fun, the process can be frustrating if you keep missing out on the perfect property. To make finding and securing your dream home simpler, do your research. Ensure you know the value of homes in the area you wish to purchase. Websites such as APM Price Finder can help you get an accurate picture of what you’ll have to pay for the type of dwelling you’d ideally like. Consider the experience of experts when deciding which areas to target and what sort of home to buy. Especially if you are a first-home buyer, you can avoid costly mistakes by making good decisions early. Establishing a good rapport with real estate agents in your target area is worthwhile. If an agent knows what you’re looking for, you may be the first person they call about newly listed properties that match your wish list.


Step 4: Understand the Sales Method

Residential property in Australia is usually sold via one of two methods:

  • Auction: a sale usually in public, by an auctioneer, in which property is sold to the highest bidder
  • Private treaty: a sale negotiated directly between the parties or their agents.

There are pros and cons to each, but understanding how they work makes buying easier. If you are buying by private treaty, you can make an offer ‘subject to finance’ or ‘subject to building inspection’. When you bid at an auction, you are agreeing to purchase the property for the price indicated and you must have carried out any pre-purchase inspections before you place a bid.


Step 5: Building Inspection

It’s easy to overlook having a building inspection carried out on a property you’re interested in, but these reports can save you thousands of dollars down the track, so they are worth every cent. If you’re planning to bid on a property at an auction, have the building inspection done early so you have enough time to consider its findings before auction day.


Step 6: Negotiate

So you’ve found the property, had the building inspection and you’d like to be the successful purchaser. Now for the nitty-gritty. Whether it’s an auction or a private treaty, buying a home involves negotiation. Negotiation isn’t a skill we all have, so if you’re nervous about bidding at auction or negotiating privately with a real estate agent, consider using a buyer agent to handle the process for you.


Step 7: Settlement and Settling In

While much of the settlement – including the final title search, cheque directions and so on – will be handled by the banks and your legal representatives, taking an active role in the process is vital. Settlement is your last chance to make sure the property is in the condition you expected at the time your offer to purchase was accepted. Once settlement has gone through, it’s finally time to move in and enjoy!

Even though it’s a major undertaking, understanding the steps involved can help make buying a home just as fun as moving into it!

Rob Schneider

If you or anyone you know has a finance enquiry, please contact us via or 0455 500 554