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Guide For First Home Buyers

Guide For First Home Buyers

Buying your first home can be an exciting time, but can also be an overwhelming process if you aren’t sure what you should be doing. That’s why we have put together this handy guide to assist anyone looking to buy their first home, or perhaps even those who have bought before but are looking to refresh their memory. You should obtain Pre-Purchase Advice prior to signing a contract but this guide will help you get ready to go shopping.

1. Know your budget

The very first step when it comes to looking at purchasing a new home, is to know your budget and how much you could afford to spend on a new house. Even if you don’t think you quite have your deposit saved up, it is never too early to have a chat to a broker about your borrowing power and lending options. Our firm works closely with a number of trusted mortgage brokers, and we are happy to put you in touch should you need it. You will need to make sure you can access enough funds to cover the price of the house, conveyancing costs and any stamp duty that may be applicable.

2. Do your research

Trying to narrow down your property search can seem like an impossible task, but there are a number of factors that you can consider when figuring out what sort of property you should be looking for. Asking yourself questions such as why are you buying a property, where would you like it to be, and how long you would like to be living there, is a great place to start. There are also other factors that might also come into play such as commute times and characteristics of the neighbourhood. Spend some time researching the suburbs in the area you are looking to buy, to make sure that your new home will be a right fit for you. Try to write a list of any non-negotiables that you have in your property search, for example, you might desire a big backyard for your beloved fur baby, or an ensuite to avoid the risk of those awkward bathroom encounters with guests (or in-laws).

3. Begin your search

Once you have a concrete idea of your budget, and what you are looking for in a home, it is time to begin your search. To have the best luck of successfully securing a property, you will need to be realistic and understand the current market trends. Another important factor to remember is that sales agents are often looking out for the best interests of the vendor as their job is to secure the best price for their client. Despite this, however, they can be useful in providing further information about the property and answering any questions you might have. Still, it is important to remember that you cannot rely on anything an agent says or promises, unless it is contained in the contract of sale.

4. Pre-Purchase Advice

If you go to an inspection and decide you like what you see, ask the agent for a copy of the contract and section 32 (Vendors Statement). Buying your first home is exciting and sometimes it can be difficult to distance yourself from your emotions in order to make an informed decision. It is important to obtain legal advice from an experienced property & conveyancing solicitor prior to signing a contract. Send through a copy of the contract to us at Cahill Rowe Conveyancing and we will provide you with a free initial consult and legal advice on the contract. We can advise you of the terms and conditions contained, and also on any ‘subject to’ conditions that may be relevant. We can also talk you through the difference between buying privately or at an auction, and what each option means for you as a purchaser. Once we have talked through the contract and you’ve had the opportunity to ask any questions, if you feel confident in proceeding it is time to put in an offer. We understand that not everyone is successful on their first go, which is why we offer our clients 3 contract reviews as part of our fixed price conveyancing, so you don’t have to choose between getting legal advice and saving money.

5. Subject to Finance

We recommend all our clients to make their offers subject to finance if possible, especially first home buyers. These subject to finance clauses specify a timeframe in which the purchaser can seek formal approval with their chosen lender. Subject to finance clauses add an extra layer of protection, as in the event your finance application is declined, under this clause you are able to validly terminate the contract and receive your deposit back. It is important to remember, however, that to rely on the subject finance clause you must have put in your finance application as soon as practicable after signing the contract, and will need evidence from the bank advising that they were unable to approve your application. This clause cannot simply be used if you get cold feet. If you have any questions about your personal finance requirements, your banker or broker will be able to assist.


Once your offer has been accepted and you sign the contract, the settlement period begins. This is the time to pay your deposit, arrange your insurance, and organise any building or pest inspections if necessary. Once all ‘subject to’ conditions are met, the contract is then ready to go ‘unconditional’, meaning there are no more conditions attached to the property, and it must proceed through to settlement. This is when it is time to put up your SOLD sticker and trot on off to get your picture taken with your sold sign so everyone on social media knows you’re a soon-to-be home owner!

Once you have satisfied and ‘subject to’ clauses and obtained insurance over the property, you can pretty much sit tight and wait until settlement day! During this time, we liaise with your broker, bank and the vendor’s solicitor to ensure things go smoothly, and will keep you updated along the way. These days, settlements take place on an online platform called PEXA, meaning that we take care of all the paperwork on settlement day. Once your settlement has been finalised, we will give you a call, you can collect your keys and enjoy your new home!

We hope this 6-step guide provided some assistance on how to navigate purchasing your first home. Remember, it is never too early to get advice, so we are always here to answer any questions.