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The True Cost of Buying a Home

The true cost of buying a home goes well beyond the purchase price. Take a look at our top home-buying costs with tips on ways to save.

The price of your home:

This is important—the listed price of a property is not set in cement, and some hard bargaining can see you save thousands of dollars. As a general rule, try knocking 10% off the listed price—maybe more if the property has been on the market for a while. Bear in mind, lenders generally want to see a deposit of at least 5%, so don’t commit to a property you cannot afford. TIP: Try to avoid giving the impression you love the place. It’s a lot harder to haggle for a discount if the agent can see you’re completely hooked on the property.

Stamp duty:

Stamp duty is levied by all state/territory governments so it’s as unavoidable as cheap perfume from grandma on your birthday. But there are ways to trim the tab. As duty is based on the price paid for a property, buying vacant land first and building later can mean paying less duty than if you purchase an established home. Either way, the more you can negotiate on price, the more you’ll save on stamp duty. TIP: Use our stamp duty calculator to know how much your stamp duty will cost.


Conveyancing covers everything from reviewing the contract of sale through to transferring your new home into your name. It’s a job that can be done by a solicitor. Budget for around $1500 though fees vary widely so shop around. TIP: Line up a solicitor before you start home hunting. That way you can act quickly (and maybe cheaply) when you find the right property.

Building & Pest inspection:

A pest/building inspection is essential as it will reveal structural faults, dodgy building work or pest problems the vendor may be trying hide. Allow around $600 for a combined report. TIP: A poor pest/building report can be useful in price negotiations—be sure you can afford any repairs once the place is yours.

Strata report:

If you’re buying an apartment, villa or townhouse, a strata report (cost: around $400) will show if any major building work is on the agenda—an expense the owners will have to cover.

Loan fees:

Home loan application fees can range from $0 through to over $1,2700, so it pays to compare between lenders. Watch out for ongoing account-keeping fees too. They quickly stack up.

Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI)

LMI applies if you borrow 80 per cent or more of your home’s value. LMI protects the lender, not you, and that makes it a cost worth minimising. The easiest way to do this is by saving the largest deposit possible. TIP: You may be able to add LMI to the loan rather than paying it upfront. This means paying interest on the premium, which bumps up the cost.

Home building insurance:

As soon as you pay a deposit you have a financial interest in a property. At that point you need to take out home building insurance.

TIP: Save on premiums by arranging cover online via our insurance offer.


Connection fees for power and/or gas can be around $100. Allow more if you’re adding internet and pay TV.

Furniture removal:

Moving costs can range from a case of XXXX Gold and a barbecue for a few mates with a ute through to a several thousand dollars for a full-service removalist. Work out what’s affordable for you. TIP: Take out home contents cover as soon as you’ve settled into your new home.

Need to know more, call us on 1300 861 143


This information is current as at 18/12/18. This article has been prepared by Heart1Stop, a social media brand owned by Heart Mortgage Services and Heart Financial Advisers. The information contained in this article is an overview or summary only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter nor relied upon as such. The views expressed here are not those of Heart1stop, Heart Mortgage Services, Heart Financial Advisers, shareholders, directors or staff and associated contractors and business associates. This article has been prepared without taking into account any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this, you should, before acting on any information contained in this article, consider its appropriateness, having regard to your objectives, financial situation or needs. Any taxation information contained in this article is a general statement and should only be used as a guide. It does not constitute taxation advice and is based on current laws and their interpretation. Each individual’s situation may differ, and you should seek independent professional taxation advice on any taxation matters. While the information contained in this article may contain or be based on information obtained from sources believed to be reliable, it may not have been independently verified. Where information contained in this publication contains material provided directly by third parties it is given in good faith and has been derived from sources believed to be accurate at its issue date. It is not the intention of Heart1Stop or Heart Mortgage Services and Heart Financial Advisers that this publication be used as the primary source of readers’ information but as an adjunct to their own resources and training. To the maximum extent permitted by law: no guarantee, representation or warranty is given that any information or advice in this publication is complete, accurate, up to date or fit for any purpose; and no party of Heart1Stop or associated entities as mentioned is in any way liable to you (including for negligence) in respect of any reliance upon such information. This article may also contain links to websites operated by third parties ("Third Parties") who are not related to Heart1Stop. These links are provided for convenience only and do not represent any endorsement or approval by us.

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