Home Purchase Options and Considerations

Choosing a home

If home ownership is right for you, you should research the properties available for purchase in your area. Buy your home on the basis of what you can afford, and your current and future needs.

Most people choose to buy an existing property even if it requires some minor repairs or renovations. However, if you are thinking of making any repairs or renovations, you need to consider the costs. Stamp duty concessions and First Home Owner Grant schemes may be available to first home buyers purchasing an existing property.

Some people opt to either buy or build a new home. Some state and territory governments provide stamp duty concessions to first home buyers who are purchasing a newly constructed property or building a new home. Also, first home buyers may be eligible for assistance through the First Home Owner Grant scheme.

Read more about Stamp Duty and the First Home Owner Grant Scheme.

Purchasing an existing home

Purchasing an existing home involves buying a house or unit from someone who has listed their property for sale. Mostly, people will sell through a licensed real estate agent. Properties available for purchase are advertised through the real estate agent’s offices and websites, in newspapers and on general real estate listing sites.

Regardless of the age of a property, it will potentially have some issues that need fixing. So, before you exchange contracts to purchase a property, it is important to have appropriate searches and inspections done. You should obtain professional advice to ensure you have all the information you need about a property before entering into a contract. You will need to take into account the costs of any repairs and maintenance work that may be required to bring the home up to a satisfactory standard. This information may also help you negotiate a better purchase price.

If you are purchasing a unit or apartment in a building, you will need to allow for various fees and charges that may be levied by the body corporate to cover the management, maintenance and running of the building. These will include body corporate fees, contributions to sinking funds, and liability insurance to cover any damage to the building and common property.

Your searches and inspections should include a report that checks the existing body corporate records – including the maintenance history and provision for future maintenance – to get an idea of possible expenses in the future. It’s also a good idea to check the building’s fire rating (particularly for older apartments).

House and land packages

House and land packages are offered by developers and combine the purchase of a block of land and a newly constructed project home under a single purchase arrangement. Generally, you can select the block of land of your choice and then choose from a number of standard or customised home designs available from a range of builders.

Buying off the plan

Buying off the plan involves buying an apartment or project home based on an architect’s impression and floor plan. Generally, you pay a deposit upfront and the balance of the purchase price is paid on completion of the building.

IBA will only consider providing housing loans for off-the-plan purchases if the purchase can be completed within a six-month period.

Buying a block of land and building a home

This involves buying a block of land then engaging a builder to construct your home. While these are separate transactions, you need to consider them as a total amount to ensure you can afford the entire cost of the project.

The type of block you purchase may affect your building costs. In choosing a block of land you should ensure:

  • the land is compatible with the house design you want
  • the block is correctly zoned for residential building
  • there are no restrictions or other factors that could affect the building of your home.

Financial and legal considerations

Buying a home is a legal transaction between the person selling the property (the vendor) and the person buying it (the buyer). There are different legal obligations and requirements depending on the state or territory in which the property is located.

As the buyer, you should ensure you are fully informed of your legal responsibilities and any other considerations that may be applicable to the purchase of your home.

When purchasing a property, you will be required to provide a deposit when you sign a contract or agreement. If you do not have access to funds to meet this deposit amount, you may be able to meet this requirement using a deposit bond or guarantee.

You should seek advice from a qualified solicitor or conveyancer before entering into any contract or agreement to purchase a property.

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