• 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. At RACV, we 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.

Planning and budgeting

Airy and bright living room with Scandi furniture
  • Understand the fees involved and how much money you need

    Before you start looking at properties, it’s always best to speak with a bank lender, building society or mortgage broker first to understand what you can afford and how much you can borrow. You’ll need to consider not only the purchase price, but additional costs such as stamp duty, conveyancing fees, council rates, strata fees and insurance.

    If you’re a first home buyer, there may be grants, discounts and schemes you qualify for. A complete list of benefits and discounts available to first-time home buyers in Victoria can be found on the State Revenue Office website.

  • 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.
Couple plan and budget to buy their new home

Questions to ask when buying a property

Buying a house is a big decision. Here are the 10 things you need to ask during your property search.

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 iBuildNew can help you through the process, from research and design through to the build.

  • 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

Family enjoying time together in their living room
  • 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.

    Then if you’re happy with the findings, you can make an offer, either privately or at auction. Before placing an offer or bidding at auction, we suggest organising a conveyancer to help you with the contract and legal paperwork for when you purchase the property. Our partner Conveyancing.com.au 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.

  • Ready to buy?

    Next steps include:

    • Arranging a conveyancer
    • Booking a building and pest inspection
    • Making an offer
    • Insuring your home

Making your move

Couple get ready to move to their new home
  • Your new home

    Congratulations on purchasing your first property! Now it’s time to organise your move. RACV Members can save with discounts on Thrifty moving vans – making the transition that much easier.

    All settled in? We can help turn your house into a home:

  • Things to do when you move

    You’ll need to:

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

How RACV Members can save when buying a home

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Couple cooking with their toddler

Are you also selling a property?

Learn how RACV and our partners can help you with the sale of your home with advice to navigate the process.

Frequently asked questions

How do I go about buying a house in Australia?

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.

How long does it take to buy a house?

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.

How much will I need to save for my deposit?

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.

What are the costs associated with buying a house?

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 costs

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.

What is a conveyancer?

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.

Do I need a building inspection prior to purchase?

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.

When should I insure my new home?

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.

How long does it take to get a home loan approved?

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: Discount excludes rain water tanks. Not valid with any other specials, already reduced prices, promotional offers or on installation and delivery charges. Your RACV membership card must be presented prior to purchase. Offer only valid in Total Eden Retail Outlets. Does not include commercial installations.

**Discount off regular prices for participating Auto Club members. Current participating Auto Club card must be shown at time of purchase to receive discount. Regular Prices are indicative of current store pricing - check pricing with your nearest store prior to purchase. New orders only. Exclusions apply. Offer not available on floor stock, clearance, delivery, assembly and recycling services. As our stores vary in size, it is possible that not all products are displayed in all stores but all products may be ordered on request. While we aim to ensure the information provided is correct, sometimes errors occur and we reserve the right to correct any errors. †5% discount may be applied to already discounted prices when you show your current participating Auto Club card at the point of purchase. Images are for illustrative purposes only. Price shown is for mattress or bed frame only. Any bedding, linen or accessories are not included in the price. © Snooze 2020.

RACV Home Insurance is issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia Pty Limited ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678. The information on this website is general advice only so before making any decisions, please consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement.