With the purchase price - including the deposit - being the biggest costs of buying property, it’s easy to overlook the other costs of buying a home. You may want to budget for these common costs.
Buying a home can be expensive and even experienced home buyers can sometimes get a shock when they add up all the costs involved. We’re not just talking about the price of the property. We’re talking about all the other costs of buying a home, including stamp duty, conveyancing fees and more.
Generally, you’ll need to pay for these yourself, often from the money you’ve saved up for a deposit. If you don’t factor in these costs, you may end up with a smaller deposit than you thought you had.
So what exactly are the costs? Here are some of the most common ones you may encounter.
Stamp duty, also known as transfer of land duty, is a tax you may have to pay when you buy property. Each state and territory in Australia has its own rules for calculating stamp duty and some are more complex than others.
For Australian residents, stamp duty could be up to 7% of the purchase price. The exact amount depends on a number of factors, including the location of the property and whether you're eligible for any concessions or exemptions.
Stamp duty could cost you hundreds of dollars – or it could cost tens of thousands. There are too many variables to pin a figure on it here but you can calculate an estimate using our property stamp duty calculator. If you're a first home buyer, you may be eligible for stamp duty concessions but rules vary depending on the state or territory.
To get the latest information for your state or territory, choose your location:
- Australian Capital Territory
- New South Wales
- Northern Territory
- South Australia
- Western Australia
Registration fees on a property purchase
Whenever a property is bought or sold, a Transfer of Land document is lodged and registered (usually by your conveyancer or solicitor) to record the change of ownership. The cost to register this title varies in each state or territory.
Registration fees on a mortgage document
In addition to the registration fee for the Transfer of Land document above, there is also a registration fee to register the mortgage document. This fee is usually paid to the applicable state or territory Land Registry on your behalf by your lender, using the funds you provide for settlement.
Title search fees
Whenever a property changes ownership or is refinanced, a search of the Certificate of Title is obtained from the Land Registry. This is to check if there are any encumbrances (things like mortgages, caveats and restrictive covenants) on the title. This search is also used to check that the details on the Certificate of Title are correct. The cost of the search varies in each state or territory and is usually paid on your behalf by your solicitor/conveyancer or lender, using the funds you provided for settlement.
Conveyancing or legal fees
When you buy a house, you may want to engage a conveyancer or solicitor to look after the preparation and completion of all the documents – like the mortgage and transfer of ownership and settlement. Things can get complex – and these specialists can help settlement happen smoothly.
It’s one thing to go to a home inspection and notice a few cracks in the wall. It’s another thing entirely to get a professional to crawl around under the house and identify the causes of those cracks.
A building inspection could give you peace of mind that the property of your dreams is structurally sound. A pest inspection could also be valuable.
Prices can vary from business to business. You may be able to get a building and pest inspection done for under $1,000 but don’t expect too much in change.
Loan approval fee
Most lenders charge a loan approval fee. This covers the cost of preparing security documents (except for guarantor documents), application costs and partial loan establishment costs.
Lenders Mortgage Insurance
Generally, unless you have saved up a deposit of at least 20% of the lender-assessed value of the property, you may need to pay for Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI).
The amount of LMI you may have to pay can depend on your Loan to Value Ratio (LVR) and the amount of money you borrow. Different lenders and insurers have different rates for calculating LMI. When you're talking to lenders about home loans, you could ask them for an estimate.
As a very rough guide, LMI could cost over $10,000 on a home loan of $500,000 for which you have saved a $50,000 deposit.
LMI waiver for eligible professionals
Do you work in a legal, medical or accounting profession? You may be eligible for an LMI waiver with your ANZ home loan.
Home and contents insurance
It could be a good idea to make sure that your new home is insured from the moment of settlement (or depending on your circumstances and the contract of sale, even before this). What if an electrical fire destroys the house on the day you’re meant to move in, leaving you with nothing but a home loan debt?
Insurance is meant to cover you in the event of loss or damage to your home. It could be well worth the cost, if for no other reason than peace of mind. In fact, some lenders may require you to have home insurance before settlement happens.
Insurance costs can vary depending on the location, type of property, type of policy cover, and more. You could expect to pay anything from hundreds of dollars to more than $1,000 for an annual policy.
Don’t forget to factor in the cost of moving into your new home. If you need to use removalists, this could add hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars to your costs.
Don’t get caught out by hidden costs
Use our deposit, costs and stamp duty calculator to help estimate some of the upfront costs of buying a home.
To sum up
There are a number of fees and costs that can add to the cost of buying a home. Remember to factor these common costs into your home buying budget, including:
- government charges, such as stamp duty and registration fees
- purchase costs, such as conveyancing fees and building inspection costs
- financing costs, such loan approval fees and Lenders Mortgage Insurance
- other costs, such as home and contents insurance and moving costs.
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