A couple signing documents for their first home.

Before You Buy: The Checklist For The Successful First-Home Buyer

A couple signing documents for their first home.

Before going through with the sale of your first home, ensure you’re happy with your must-haves or compromises on aspects such as property size, number of bedrooms, garden, location, local community and public transport options. Consider how your lifestyle could change in the future, such as having children. Below we look at some other important things to check before you buy.

Your Eligibility for the First Home Owner Grant

As a first home buyer, your ability to access certain grants and concessions can be the difference between whether you can afford to buy a home or not. The First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) is a government scheme aimed at helping you purchase or build a residential property. It’s a one-off payment made at the time of settlement and applied directly to your home loan.

The eligibility criteria varies between states and territories, but usually requires that you:

  • Are a permanent resident or citizen of Australia
  • Have never owned residential property
  • Are 18 years old
  • Are buying a new or established home as an individual
  • Will live in the residence for the minimum time determined by your state or territory.

The FHOG is not available for investment properties. The grant amount also varies depending on where you are. For example, in NSW it’s $10,000. Find out specific details for the grant in your state or territory from your lender or visit the relevant government website for details.

Your Eligibility for Stamp Duty Concession or Exemption

Stamp duty is a tax imposed on property transactions and is the biggest upfront cost you’ll incur aside from the purchase price of your new home. But concessions and exemptions can help reduce the financial burden for first home buyers.

Like the FHOG, stamp duty rates, concessions and exemptions are decided by each state and territory. In most places, your eligibility and the exact discount depends on the area you are buying in and the value of the property.

Have You Considered the Hidden Costs?

Ensure you get a good understanding of all the hidden costs associated with purchasing your own home. Stamp duty is the big one, but other ones include:

  • Lenders mortgage insurance - Required if you borrow more than 80 per cent of your home’s value.
  • Loan fees - There are variations in the upfront loan establishment fees charged by lenders. It’s a good idea to find out about these and compare fees between your different loan options.
  • Conveyancing fees - Buying a property involves a fair bit of legal work to transfer the property into your name. The costs of conveyancing can also vary widely.
  • Building inspections and insurance – Needed if you’re looking at buying an existing house, inspections ensure you’re protected from problems like pests and structural issues while insurance protects you once you take ownership. Of course, if you build a new home with McDonald Jones you don’t need to worry about pest inspections & structural issues. McDonald Jones builds with Supaloc steel frames which are 100% termite proof.
  • Rates adjustment - you may be asked to pay a portion of the council rates owing on the property on settlement day.

Other costs to consider include utilities connection, moving costs and any costs associated with any changes or quick fixups you want to make to the property.

Explore Our Detailed House and Land Packages

At McDonald Jones Homes, the pages for our house and land package locations show distance to schools, transport and other amenities so you can get a good idea of what your lifestyle will be like:

Each page dedicated to information about estates includes details on what kind of amenities are around and how far they are. Check out this page as an example. For more information on our quality new homes, get in touch with McDonald Jones Homes.