How To Buy A House For The First Time

Here is a step-by-step on how to buy a house in Sydney

Organise Your Finance

Before making any moves, you’ll need to sit down and do all your calculations and see what you have to work with. Getting in touch with various banks and lending institutes will be wise to ascertain how much you are eligible to borrow. Once you have the figure and know you can borrow that amount, you will need to calculate what the repayments will be for this amount and be sure it is within your means to repay. You don’t want to find a beautiful home, fall in love with it and then realise you don’t have the finances to purchase. Always ensure you know what finances are available before looking for a property.

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Borrowing to finance your property purchase – mortgage lending.


So, now you know what you have to spend the next step before searching for a property is to find the location you would like to live in. A top location will always remain an asset no matter what happens to the real-estate market. You can always improve the look of a home, but you can’t do anything about the location, so this is important to consider before purchasing a home. Do you want to live in the city or close to the city? Are you looking for a quiet neighbourhood? Do you have children that will need to go to a local school in the catchment area? Is there public transport nearby? How far are the local shops? There are many things to consider, but don’t rush this step, as it is one of the most important decisions you will have to make. Also, remember that the closer you purchase to the city, the more expensive it will be.

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Finding the ideal location is paramount.

Property Type

Will you be looking for a house, apartment, unit, or townhouse? There are a few options out there. You need to consider your lifestyle, what will suit you, and your budget. Do you want a large home? How many bedrooms and bathrooms? Double garage or single? Large yard or no yard? You may not find the exact home you are picturing, but you need to know your preferences to narrow down your choices.

Contact The Professionals

Now you know your budget and location and the type of property you want to buy. Find a real estate agent you are happy with and speak to them about your choices. They will narrow things down for you and show you properties that may interest you. Now you can look at some potential properties and, hopefully, find the right one for your lifestyle and budget. 

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Understand the property type you are buying, check the land title and legal documentation

Make An Offer – The Exciting But Scary Part

You will need to request that your agent gives you a copy of the contract of sale for the property you are interested in. This contract is a legal document that formally identifies the property being sold and will include several important documents about the property. Have your conveyancer or solicitor review the contract and ensure no serious issues or important items are missing that could prevent you from purchasing the property. If you are advised by your solicitor or conveyancer that there are no issues with the contract of sale, then it’s time to make an offer. Many agents will also request a deposit at this time. The deposit does not guarantee that the property will be sold to you, and you are also not under any obligation to buy the property at this stage. You will normally be refunded the deposit if the sale does not go ahead.

Organise Inspections

Generally, this is the time to organise your building and timber pest inspection. There is normally a 10-day cooling-off period but sometimes it may be less, so ensure you check the time frame written on your contract of sale. Alternatively, you could organise your inspections before making an offer if you prefer. Do not skip this step, as there could be tens of thousands of dollars worth of hidden damages or problems you may miss without organising a professional building and timber pest inspection. Once you receive your inspection report, you can use it to negotiate money off the purchase price to cover the cost of rectifying the issues found.

Building Inspection

Organise inspections such as pest and termite inspections.

Organise Legalities

This is the stage where all the legal documents will need to be signed and exchanged in order to complete the purchase of the property. A conveyancer or solicitor specialising in property law is recommended to assist you at this stage. They will perform the following tasks:

  • Review and assess the contract of sale
  • Exchange the sale contract with the seller’s legal representative
  •  Arrange payments such as the deposit and stamp duties
  • Prepare the mortgage agreement
  • Review any payments owing to the property
  • Arrange a change of title
  • Represent you during the settlement

Both you and the seller will receive a copy of the sale of contract, which will need to be signed and exchanged. At this point, you will need to pay a deposit for the property. The deposit is usually 10% of the purchase price. A 5-day cooling off period after the exchange is standard when buying a house in Sydney. This allows a purchaser to withdraw from the contract with written notice. If you withdraw from the contract during cooling off, you will need to pay the vendor 0.25% of the agreed purchase price. After contracts have been exchanged, you will have approximately 6 to 12 weeks (this can vary) until settlement. This period is used to finalise your payment on the property and for your conveyancer or solicitor to prepare legal documents for settlement day.  


This is the day you’ve been waiting for. Your conveyancer or solicitor will meet with the seller’s legal representative and both parties’ bank representatives to exchange cheques and officially transfer the property over to you. Now the property is legally YOURS!!!

home buying in Sydney

Review and assess the contract of sale