Property Law: 9 steps to buying your first home

Our property lawyers based in Richmond and Croydon are here to help take the stress out of buying your first home. Buying your first home is a huge milestone. It’s a cause for celebration but it can also be a source of anxiety and stress. Understanding what is involved in the process is crucial so that you know what to expect and can retain control. In this article, our team of property lawyers walk you through the steps involved in buying your first home.

Step 1: Work out your budget

You need to take into account any grants and incentives that you may be eligible for. For example, as a first home buyer you may be eligible for a $10,000 grant. You also need to calculate your stamp duty as well. Stamp duty is 5.5% of the purchase price unless you are eligible for a stamp duty concession. It is best to speak to a property lawyer to ascertain what, if any grants or concessions you are eligible for.   You need to consider the deposit you have saved and then work out the monthly repayments that you can afford based on your income. There are home loan calculators online that will help you work out what you can afford to borrow, or you can talk to a lender or mortgage broker. We can recommend and refer you a broker with no strings attached!

Step 2: Apply for your home loan

The next step is to apply for your home loan. It is always recommended that you have your home loan pre-approval in place before you start to invest significant time in finding your first home. This means that if you find a home that you’d like to make an offer on, you already have pre-approval, and this puts you in a good position to make an unconditional offer.  

Step 3: Work out what you want

Working out what you want in your first home, before you start your search, can help you to remain in control and focussed once you’re out there at open homes when emotions and fear of missing out can take over. First work out what your “must haves” are.   For example, do you need to be within a 30-minute commute of work? Do you need a minimum of three bedrooms? Do you need space for a home office? Then work out the things that you’re willing to be flexible on; the “nice to haves”. For example, you might prefer a garage but will consider undercover parking. You may ideally want 4 bedrooms but 3 with a small home office could also work and so on.

Step 4: Choose your property lawyer

Choose a property Lawyer that suits your needs. The role of your property lawyer is to act in your interest and provide their legal expertise to inform you in purchasing a property. Our property law team is comprised of only lawyers all of whom are highly experienced and specialties in this area. They will support you every step of the way.

Step 5: Start your property search

Start searching! Searching for your first home can be a bit of a journey and for a lot of first home buyers, it can seem like you spend all of your weekends at open homes! Try to remain level-headed and re-visit the “must haves” and “nice to haves” criteria that you created before you started your search.  

Step 6: Review of contract and vendor’s statement

When you find a home that you’d like to make an offer on, your property lawyer should support you through the offer process. Before making any offer, you will need your property lawyer to review both the contract of sale and the vendor’s statement. This is vital as it is “buyers beware”- make sure you know what you are buying. Is there a covenant? Is the property subject to a heritage overlay which means you can’t knock it down? It is an absolute MUST for a review to occur.

Step 7: Make an offer

How you submit your offer will depend on how the home is being sold. The real estate agent may present informal offers to the vendor in a “blind offer” process where you are given the opportunity to present your best and final offer along with other potential buys. Alternatively, the vendor may be willing to enter into negotiation or the vendor may take the property to auction. If you are bidding at auction, your property lawyer will work with you to ensure that you are ready for auction day.

Step 8: Preparing for settlement

If you are successful and purchase the property, you need to advise your lawyer and your broker immediately as they will work to settlement. If you do not settle on the date as specified in the contract you will usually be charged penalty interest as well as the vendor’s legal fees so make sure you work with your team to ensure you will settle on the contract date.

Step 9: Complete settlement

At settlement, the property is yours! The title will be transferred to you, the mortgage will be lodged on the title, and you get to focus on setting up your new home.

Further information

If you’re looking for a supportive and friendly property lawyer, to guide you through buying your first home, give our team a call. Our property lawyers are based in Richmond and Croydon, in Melbourne’s east, we work with clients in our local area as well as throughout Victoria. We’re here to help ensure that the process of buying your first home runs smoothly and you get to focus on finding and enjoying your first home. Get further info on our Property Law page.

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