First Home Buyers’ Guide: Navigating Property Ownership in Australia

May 22, 2024By Mint Legal Brisbane
Mint Legal Brisbane

Buying your first home is a significant milestone. It marks the beginning of a new chapter filled with opportunities and responsibilities. In Australia, the process can seem complex, but with the right guidance, you can navigate it smoothly. This guide aims to provide you with the essential information you need to make informed decisions.

Understanding the Australian Property Market

Market Overview

The Australian property market is dynamic and varies greatly across different regions. Major cities like Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane often see higher property prices compared to regional areas. Understanding the market trends in your desired3>

You can choose from various property types, including:

  • Houses: Standalone properties with land.
  • Apartments: Units within a larger building.
  • Townhouses: Multi-level homes that share walls with neighboring properties.
  • Units: Smaller, often single-level apartments.

Each type has its pros and cons, so consider what best suits your lifestyle and budget.

Financial Preparation

Saving for a Deposit

The first step in buying a home is saving for a deposit. In Australia, most lenders require a deposit of at least 20% of the property's purchase price. However, some lenders may accept a lower deposit with the addition of

Understanding Your Borrowing Capacity

Your borrowing capacity depends on several factors, including your income, expenses, and existing debts. Use online calculators to get an estimate, but for a more accurate assessment, consult with a mortgage broker or financial advisor.

Government Grants and Schemes

The Australian government offers several grants and schemes to assist first home buyers:

  • First Home Owner Grant (FHOG): A one-off grant for eligible first home buyers.
  • First Home Loan Deposit Scheme (FHLDS): Allows eligible buyers to purchase a home with a deposit as low as 5% without paying LMI.
  • Stamp Duty Concessions: Some states offer discounts or exemptions on stamp duty for first home buyers.

Finding the Right Property

Define Your Criteria

Before you start looking, define your criteria. Consider factors such as:

  • Location: Proximity to work, schools, public transport, and amenities.
  • Property Size: Number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and overall living space.
  • Condition: New, renovated, or needing repairs.
house property search brisbane queensland


The seller may accept, reject, or counter your offer. Be prepared to negotiate and stay within your budget.

Legal Process and Settlement

Engaging a Conveyancer or Solicitor

A conveyancer or solicitor will handle the legal aspects of the property purchase. They will:

  • Review the Contract of Sale: Ensure the terms are fair and protect your interests.
  • Conduct Searches: Check for any issues with the property, such as unpaid rates or zoning restrictions.
  • Liaise with the Lender: Coordinate the payment of the deposit and balance.

Signing the Contract

Once all terms are agreed upon, you will sign the Contract of Sale. This legally binds you to purchase the property. Pay the deposit as specified in the contract.

Final Inspection

Before settlement, conduct a final inspection to ensure the property is in the agreed condition.

Settlement Day

On settlement day, your conveyancer or solicitor will:

  • Transfer Funds: Arrange the payment of the balance to the seller.
  • Transfer Ownership: Register the property in your name.
  • Handover: You will receive the keys to your new home.

Moving In

Planning the Move

Plan your move well in advance. Book a removalist, pack your belongings, and update your address with relevant parties.

moving day

condition. Create a schedule for tasks such as cleaning gutters, servicing heating and cooling systems, and checking for leaks.

Tips for First Home Buyers

Get Pre-Approval

Obtain pre-approval for your home loan before you start house hunting. This will give you a clear idea of your budget and show sellers that you are a serious buyer.

Be Realistic

Set realistic expectations for your first home. It may not have all the features you desire, but it can be a stepping stone towards your dream home.

Seek Professional Advice

Consult with professionals such as mortgage brokers, financial advisors, and real estate agents to make informed decisions.

Stay Within Your Budget

Avoid the temptation to stretch your budget. Consider future expenses and ensure you can comfortably afford your mortgage repayments.

Think Long-Term

Consider the long-term potential of the property. Look for areas with growth potential and good infrastructure.


Buying your first home is an exciting journey. With careful planning and the right guidance, you can navigate the process successfully. Remember to stay informed, seek professional advice, and make decisions that align with your financial goals and lifestyle. Welcome to the world of property ownership in Australia.