Buying your first home? Here are 9 key steps.

By Casey Shaw, Financial Advisor

Are you looking at buying your first home at some point this year?  If you’ve never been through the process of buying your first home you may be wondering what actually happens.

Here are 9 key steps involved in buying your first home and some important things to consider:

1. Determine your budget

Before you even start to look at properties you should get an idea of what you can afford. Speak with a mortgage broker about a pre-approval if you need to finance your purchase as they will be able to tell you how much a bank would be willing to lend.

2. Submit an offer

The very first step in purchasing a property (after you’ve found a property you are happy with) is to submit an offer; you may also hear it referred to as a Contract of Sale.

Your offer states the amount you wish to purchase the property for and what conditions your offer is subject to. Commonly, an offer will be submitted with conditions such as:

  • Subject to the approval of finance (if you have not obtained finance pre-approval, outlined in step 1 above).
  • Subject to building and pest inspection

If any of these conditions aren’t met you have a legal right to void the contract.

3. Acceptance of offer

Once your offer has been submitted there will likely be a negotiation period between you and the seller. Once you have both agreed on a suitable price the offer will be signed off and accepted by the seller.


Buying your first home can be a very emotional process. Before beginning a negotiation make sure you have set yourself a limit on how much you are willing to pay for the property and don’t go over it!

4. Obtain finance

If you’re purchasing your first home you will likely need to arrange finance for the property. If you haven’t already obtained pre-approval you will need to apply for finance with a lender. Speak to a mortgage broker about what is a suitable mortgage.

Once you have finance approval you will need to notify the seller (or the real estate agent acting on behalf of the seller).


Consider arranging a pre-approval prior to submitting an offer on a property. Although not essential, a pre-approval gives you confidence when submitting an offer that a bank has already said yes to you borrowing a certain amount. This reduces the stress of having to get your finance sorted in a short time frame or the possibility of missing out on the property because you can’t obtain finance.

First Home Owners Grant (FHOG) – each state in Australia has a different FHOG. Check to see whether you are eligible to receive any benefit as this can make a big difference to what you ultimately have to contribute from your personal funds.

5. Pay a deposit

In your offer, you will need to agree on a suitable deposit. Each seller will vary as to what is an acceptable deposit. In some cases, only a few thousand dollars will be acceptable, while in others you will be expected to pay 5-10% of the purchase price. An initial deposit will generally need to be paid in 3-5 days so make sure you have the funds ready before submitting your offer.

6. Arrange a settlement agent

Settlement agent (also referred to as a conveyancer) is someone you appoint to handle the legal transfer of the property from the seller to you. You will need to have a settlement agent who can act on your behalf during the purchase.

7. Obtain insurance

The bank will require you to have suitable building insurance to commence when you begin ownership of the property. Even if this is not a requirement it is sensible to consider having this insurance to protect you in the event something happens to the property.

8. Settlement

On your offer document, you will have agreed with the seller on a suitable settlement date (commonly this will be 28 days from either the date of the contract or date your finance is approved). In the lead up to settlement, you will need to transfer any remaining funds you are contributing to the purchase to your settlement agent. Your bank will transfer the remaining funds to the settlement agent.

On the date of settlement, your agent will arrange the transfer of the legal ownership of the property to your name.

9. Your first home

Congratulations! You now own your first home. Time to book the removalists!

I hope you find these 9 tips useful.  Please feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss your mortgage finance options or your personal financial plan.

Getting ready to buy your first home? Here are 6 tips to get you started.

Casey Shaw is an authorised representative and credit representative of AMP Financial Planning.

Blueprint Planning Pty Ltd (ABN 78 097 264 554), trading as Blueprint Wealth, is an authorised representative and credit representative of AMP Financial Planning, Australian Financial Services Licensee and Australian Credit Licensee. This article contains information that is general in nature. It does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. You need to consider you financial situation and needs before making any decisions based on this information.