What does the buying process look like

Buying your first property (or your 2nd or 3rd) is a great achievement and one that takes time and effort, and often some sacrifice. Being a first time buyer can have you wondering what the process is and how long it takes, before you become a homeowner.

Here are some steps from -approval to settlement- to help guide you through the journey to having your dream home.

Get pre-approval for a home loan

First thing’s first! Before you start to house-hunt, it’s important that you know how much you can borrow. Your bank or lender will decide if a conditional approval (also know as a pre-approval) can be offered to you and for what amount.

If you have a pre-approval, you will be in a better position to negotiate and you will also have more confidence should you be bidding at auction.

A mortgage adviser can help organise your pre approval so you are in a strong position when negotiating your property purchase.

For more information on pre approvals click HERE

Find legal representation

Having the right legal support is paramount to the buying process. Your solicitor/lawyer will take care of the property transfer process including completing checks on the property and advising you on the loan documents, builders reports and council records.

You may already have a solicitor but failing that friends and family may be able to recommend a one to you. At Loan Market we have strong relationships with a number of legal practices and can also help you find the right one for your needs.

Let the house hunting begin!

Now that you know what sort of budget you’re working with, here’s the fun part; finding a house!

Once you decide on an area you’d like to buy (and can afford) then you can start your search by looking in the real estate section of newspapers, websites or let a few real estate agencies know what you’re looking for.

A mortgage adviser may be able to refer you to real estate agents they work -and are familiar- with.

Building inspection

If you’re buying a home, it’s wise to have it inspected to detect any building defects or other issues such as the presence of Earthquake damage or drug use in the property. Other inspections such as electrical or drainage inspections may also be done. An inspection can cost anywhere between $450 - $800 but is worth the disappointment and extra costs you may face in the long run.

Make an offer

After the property has been inspected and you have engaged legal support, you’re ready to make an offer. There are two types of offers:

Unconditional offer is a straightforward offer to buy according to the terms set out in the agreement.

Conditional offer is when your offer to buy has conditions attached, for example, arranging finance or being satisfied with a building report that you arrange; you can decide on the conditions.

However, if you’re purchasing property at auction, only an unconditional offer can be made.


Finally, the settlement day is here and you’re closer than ever to becoming a homeowner.

Settlement of the property is when the balance of the purchase price is paid, the keys are handed over and the property is registered in your name.

The building should be insured at the time of settlement, as lenders will not release the loan funds to your lawyer without a certificate of currency (showing insurance had been paid). A safe course of action is to obtain a certificate of currency just prior to declaring the agreement unconditional.

Your mortgage adviser will be able to give you more in-depth information about the buying process and what options are best suited for your situation. Their invaluable experience and knowledge can help maximise your chances of becoming a homeowner, sooner.

If you’d like to find out more, please register for one of our first home buyers seminars or download our first home buyers guide here.

Can't wait? Speak to an expert mortgage adviser today.