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Buying a house

On your way to becoming a homeowner? Let us show you where to begin

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Start the journey towards buying a house

Buying your first house — whether your dream home or an investment property — is one of life’s most significant milestones, but it can also be overwhelming and stressful at times. We can provide you with reliable advice to help you navigate the journey ahead, connecting you to services that make choosing the right property a simpler process.

Our partners’ services

Planning and budgeting

Understand the costs

Before you look at homes, it’s best to speak with a bank lender, building society or mortgage broker to understand what you can afford. Consider the purchase price, plus costs like stamp duty, conveyancing fees, council rates, strata fees and insurance.

Are you a first home buyer?

There may be grants, discounts and schemes you qualify for. The State Revenue Office has pulled together a list of first-time home buyer benefits and discounts available in Victoria.

Planning and budgeting tips

Be prepared when shopping for your first property or land:

  • Save your deposit
  • Know your budget
  • Understand the costs
  • Choose a property type and area.

Researching your ideal property

Which property is right for you?

While looks are important, there’s a lot more to consider when it comes to buying a house, such as the location. Is the property near public transport? Are schools important to you? 

You might also consider things like practicality and accessibility, such as whether it has a backyard or stairs. It’s best to create a checklist to ensure your potential new home or investment ticks all your boxes.

If it’s land you’re looking for, think about how the block will accommodate your dream home. 

Our partner Landchecker has a number of free tools that allow you to view planning and zoning information, plus property reports, so you can make an informed decision.

Hunting for your first property

Here are a few things to consider about the property for sale:

  • Does it fit within your budget?
  • Is your finance pre-approved?
  • Does the location suit your lifestyle?
  • Will it be big enough if your family grows?

Getting ready to make an offer

Settle on the right property

Once you’ve found a property you’re keen on, you might like to arrange a building and pest inspection to ensure there are no visible defects, so you can negotiate on the price with confidence and clarity. This is especially important for older properties.

If you’re happy with the findings, you can make an offer – either privately or at auction. Before this, we suggest organising a conveyancer to help you with the contract and legal paperwork for when you purchase the property. Our partner can assist you with this process.

If the property is being sold at auction, it’s best to go prepared with a plan of attack. Be sure to take things slow and stick to your budget. A confident approach will help you keep your nerve, and try not to panic if the bidding climbs outside your limit.

Making your move

Your new home

Congratulations on purchasing your first property! Now it’s time to organise your move. RACV members can save with discounts on SIXT moving vans – making the transition that much easier. SIXT have store locations through Melbourne and regional Victoria including Geelong, Ballarat and Horsham.

Next, you’ll need to:

  • Confirm your settlement date
  • Move your contents
  • Book a cleaning service
  • Transfer your utilities
  • Update your mailing address

Make it feel like home

Whether you want to make some home improvements, re-think your energy or get a security system, we can help.

Helpful services with exclusive offers

Man in a hardhat and high-vis vest inspecting a house during a building inspection.
Members save $50

Rapid building inspections

Book your next property inspection online with Rapid Building Inspections and save $50.

A smiling couple sit at a desk in front of a conveyancing lawyer who is preparing paperwork for signing.
Members save $100

Save $100 and take the stress out of your property transaction when you book online with

Women at home on couch with blanket in dim lighting
Members save $100 on their bill^

Arcline by RACV

Switch your energy and get $100 bill credit^, great rates and Victorian-based service.

More tips and advice for buying a home

Frequently asked questions

When starting the process of buying a house, it’s best to talk to a bank lender, building society or mortgage broker. These professionals can help you determine how much you can afford to borrow for your home loan.

Once you have an idea of your budget, it’s time to start researching property types and areas that suit your lifestyle or intended purpose for the property. For example, if you’re looking for an investment property to rent out, you might consider purchasing a property in a highly sought-after area that is likely to increase in value over time.

When you’re ready to make an offer, working with a conveyancer to complete settlement and ensure all legal obligations are met will make the property-buying process easier.

While planning, researching and finding the right property for you can take as long as you want it to, the settlement process once an offer has been made can generally take between one to four months. During this time, your conveyancer will help you through signing contracts, transferring ownership of the property and making final payments.

The amount of money you need to save for a house deposit depends on how much the property is selling for. While it’s always best to save as much as you can, it’s not always easy, especially when you’re already renting.

Most lenders will typically ask for a deposit that is 20% of the property’s purchase price. However, there are some lenders that offer home loans with a deposit as little as 5% of the purchase price. On any home loan, it’s always best to make sure you read the fine print and consider interest rates, the terms of the loan and any associated fees to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

This is where a mortgage broker comes in handy, as they will work with several lenders to find you a home loan and interest rate that suits your needs.

In addition to the property value, there are several other costs associated with buying a property to consider. These include:

  • Stamp duty
  • Transfer fees
  • Mortgage registration fees
  • Conveyancing fees
  • Loan application fees
  • Mortgage insurance
  • Property and pest inspection fees
  • Home and contents insurance
  • Moving cost
These costs will vary depending on the property value, as well as the companies you choose to handle your home loan, conveyancing, property inspections, insurance and moving costs.

A conveyancer helps you through the property settlement process by dealing with the other parties involved in your property transaction, organising and submitting legal documents for you, preparing and reviewing contracts to protect your interests in the transaction.

It’s always a good idea to organise a building and pest inspection prior to purchasing a property so you’re aware of any potential problems that could lead to significant costs.

While you may still want to go ahead with the purchase despite certain problems that are found, you could negotiate that these be fixed prior to settlement, or factor the cost to repair the problems into the purchase price.

We recommend insuring your new property from the day you take over the title (settlement day), to avoid leaving your investment unprotected and at risk.

Home loan approval times can vary. Depending on your individual situation and the bank or financial institution you’re working with, it can take anywhere from a few hours to two or three weeks to be approved.

However, if you consider the application process from start to end (including applying for the loan through to pre-approval, property valuation and final approval), the entire process can take up to 6 weeks.

Terms and conditions

The offer is redeemable for pest, building, or combined inspections. The offer is redeemable once per inspection service and cannot be combined with any other discount. Offer cannot be transferred or redeemed on behalf of any other person. Available to current RACV Members. Online bookings only.

The offer is redeemable for conveyancing services related to selling or buying a residential property. It is not redeemable for contract reviews. The offer is redeemable once per conveyancing service and cannot be combined with any other discount. Offer cannot be transferred or redeemed on behalf of any other person. Available to current RACV Members. Online bookings only.

^Offer available for eligible customers only. There is a limit of one (1) Sign-up Bonus credit per property per eligible account in any 12 month period. The Sign-up Bonus credit cannot be exchanged for cash, transferred to another account, or refunded. Offer ends 7:59am AEST 31 October 2024. Arcline by RACV reserves the right, acting reasonably, to modify, suspend, extend or cancel this offer as appropriate. Energy Price Fact Sheets available on request. Read the full T&Cs for this offer. You can find our Market Terms here.

The information provided is general advice only. Before making any decisions please consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations. For copies, visit As distributor, RACV Insurance Services Pty Ltd AFS Licence No. 230039 receives commission for each policy sold or renewed. Product(s) issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia Pty Ltd ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678.

RACV Trades is a trading name of RACV's trade partner, Club Home Response Pty Ltd (Victorian registered domestic building practitioner number CDB-U 100178). All works are performed or arranged by Club Home Response Pty Ltd. trading as RACV Trades. See RACV Trades terms and conditions.