Buyers Guide



To make a good buy in any market, you need to do your research. This means getting to know the local area you want to buy into, checking property listings and going to lots of property viewings and auctions is a great way to start.

There are some useful tools available online. To access the Commonwealth Bank’s Property Value Guide click here this tool can help with your research. It provides average house and unit price information by location. Also, try to keep track of the properties you’ve seen, take photos and write down key details (including the advertised sell price and the actual sell price).

  • Research the market.
  • Take photos and write down key details for the properties you visit.
  • Speak to your local real estate agent


Before you start looking for a property, you need to know what you can afford to spend and repay. Home loan calculators can help you work out how much you can borrow. If you’re still saving for your deposit, It’s really important to make sure you look at the total cost of buying your home. Other than your loan, you will also need to pay for stamp duty, property and pest inspections, conveyancing fees and government fees.

  • Do your figures; home loan calculator
  • Speak to you financial institution
  • Get conditionally pre- approved finance
  • Get your deposit together


Once you know how much you can borrow, you need to choose a loan and apply for it. It’s recommended that you have your finance conditionally pre-approved, however you can always apply for a loan after you find a property. Don’t leave it too late – other buyers with approved finance may be able to move faster.

*Please note: if you do not find a property during the period of the conditional pre-approval date, you may need to provide updated financials and confirm that the loan still meets your needs and financial objectives.


For a private treaty sale, once you’ve found the home you want to buy, you can make an offer to the vendor or their agent. Sometimes you can agree on a conditional offer. For example, you agree to buy the home as long as the vendor lets you get a property and pest inspection first.

  • Make an offer.


Conveyancing is the process of legally transferring a property from the vendor to the buyer. You can arrange it through a solicitor or licensed conveyancer. If you have the time and skills, you can do it yourself. Before a vendor can offer a property for sale, they must have a contract of sale and make it available for inspection. Your solicitor or conveyancer should review this contract. They should also conduct final checks on the property and make enquiries to local authorities.

  • Review the contract of sale.
  • Conduct final checks and enquiries.


Once you’ve found a potential home, you should arrange for a property and pest inspection before you exchange contracts. This way you’ll find out about any problems upfront. You should also check with your council and the state government roads and traffic authority about zoning issues and future property developments that may affect your home.

  • Arrange for a property and pest inspection.
  • Check for zoning issues and any future property developments.


After your legal representative reviews the contract of sale, you and the vendor each sign a copy and pass them to each other. This is known as ‘exchange of contracts’. If you buy a home at auction, you need to exchange contracts and pay a deposit (usually 10% of the purchase price) on the spot. For a private treaty sale, you may be asked to pay a holding deposit to show good faith and then pay the 10% deposit when you exchange contracts. Even though you pay a holding deposit, it doesn’t mean the property will be held exclusively for you.

  • Exchange contracts.
  • Pay the deposit.


After you exchange contracts in a private treaty sale, a legal cooling-off period may apply. During this time you may be able to withdraw from the contract to buy the property. The length of the cooling-off period varies from state to state. There is no cooling off period if you buy a home at auction.

  • You may be able to change your mind during the cooling-off period, however in most cases you will lose a portion your deposit.


When you apply for a home loan, you also need to arrange for building insurance. You should also consider contents insurance for when you move in.


This is when you pay the balance of the property’s purchase price and take ownership of the property. Final settlement normally takes place up to 6 weeks after you exchange contracts. The vendor’s agent then gives you the keys.

  • Pay the balance of the purchase price.
  • Settlement takes place.
  • Move in


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“Disclaimer: the above information was sourced from the commonwealth bank’s ‘Home Buying Guide’ and Changing Places acknowledges full credit of the content on this page to Commonwealth Bank of Australia.”