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Buying A Home in Australia

Buying or selling a home can be a complex and time-consuming process. Even before you make the 'big  decisions' about which property to buy, home loan to select, and estate agent you engage to sell your home, there are many other important decisions you will need to make.


Eligibility requirements vary between institutions, but lenders generally use two criteria to work out how much they will lend: the borrower's income and repayment capacity as well as the loan to value ratio. This is the percentage of the purchase price that lenders will agree to lend. Depending on the lending institution and type of loan, a deposit equal to a certain percentage of the purchase price will be required. While most minimum deposits are ten per cent of the purchase price, in some cases an institution may lend 100% of the purchase price, requiring no deposit at all. If you are borrowing 80% or more of the purchase price, lenders generally require you to pay for mortgage insurance, which means an additional upfront payment.

Selling a property

Before a property is sold, the seller (vendor) is required by law to provide the buyer with a vendor's statement or 'section 32'. This process is usually undertaken with the assistance of a solicitor or conveyancer.  Once prepared the vendors statement or section 32 is signed by the seller and made available to prospective buyers, usually via the agent before the sale or auction. The vendor's statement contains information about the property's title, including mortgages, covenants and easements, zoning and outgoings such as rates. It does not include any information about the condition of any buildings, whether they comply with building regulations or if measurements on the title are accurate. The onus is on the buyer to find out about anything that is not covered in the vendor's statement. The information that must be included in the vendor's statement is outlined in section 32 of the Sale of Land Act 1962.

There are two main ways that real estate can be bought and sold.

Private sale - In a private sale the property is advertised and offers are invited from prospective buyers. The sale is negotiated between the buyer and seller, usually with the assistance of an
Public auction - An auction is a public sale, usually conducted by an estate agent acting as auctioneer.

Sourcing and inspecting properties

There are several ways prospective buyers can source properties.

The internet - this is the most popular means of sourcing properties for sale. As well as individual agency websites, there are several large property websites which list properties.
Newspapers - most local newspapers have a property section or lift-out. Major metropolitan papers have a comprehensive list of properties for sale and inspection.
Direct contact - directly contacting estate agencies by telephone, email, fax or in person is another way of sourcing properties for sale.
Promotional magazines - many agencies produce weekly colour magazines which provide a comprehensive list of properties for sale. These magazines are available free of charge from most agencies.

Other ways of sourcing properties for sale include noting signboards in front of properties and hearing of listings through word of mouth.

Open for inspection times are usually advertised in newspapers and on the internet.

Useful websites

Real Estate Institute of Australia



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