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Frequently Asked Questions

Important Information For Buyers & Sellers

What Are The Costs of Buying a Home?
When deciding on how much you can afford when buying your new home or property, there are some additional expenses above and beyond the purchase price you need to take into account.

Government Stamp Duty & Government Charges
You can calculate Government duties, charges and taxes by visiting the Office of State Revenues web site at Each time you buy a property you are liable to pay the following fees, duties or charges.

  • Stamp Duty on Purchase Price
  • Stamp Duty on Loan Amount
  • Mortgage Registration Fee
  • Transfer Duty

Additional Stamp Duty Notes:

Concessional Rate - Transfer duty is assessed on the greater of the consideration paid for, or the value of the home acquired. The rate of duty increases with the consideration or value.
All home buyers (including first home buyers) benefit from a lower rate of duty on the first $250,000 of the cost of their home ($1 for each $100, or part of $100.) Duty at the normal rates applies to the excess price over $250,000. First home buyers benefit from an additional concession in the form of a reducing rebate which cuts out at $160,000.

In the case of mortgage duty, the first $100,000 of a loan to buy or build a first home secured by a mortgage is exempt from duty. Mortgage duty applies to the excess loan amount over $100,000.

First Home Owner's Rebate - Property must be first home and intended as principal residence.

First home buyers will get a full exemption from conveyance duty on homes up to $250,000. Then for every $100 or part thereof above $250,000, $13.20 duty is payable, up to $350,000.
First home purchasers buying vacant land and building a home will receive full rebate on land values up to $150,000 and a partial rebate on land values to $200,000.

Loan Establishment Fees
The banks can sometimes also charge a fee for the work involved in establishing a loan. They need to send valuers out to assess your property and prepare documentation. You can get the establishment fees waived by many banks, especially if you are borrowing a lot, or have other business with them, or the banks are competing for new customers. But watch out as sometimes the exit fees are much higher to cover the lack of fees when establishing the loan.

Legal Fees, Rates & Assessments
Settlement agents fees plus the cost of title searches, rate searches and so forth make up the other component of your buying costs. These fees are generally between $800 and a $1,200 and most settlement agents will give you a pretty good quote if you ask them.

Building Inspections and Pest Inspections
Any other inspections you want done as part of your contract clauses will need to be paid by you. Building inspections range from $300 upwards and termite inspections are generally $120 or more.

Moving Costs & Insurance
The cost of moving all your furniture from your current location to your new home needs to be considered as well. This varies greatly depending on the carrier you choose. You will also have the standard utility costs such as the connection of power and phone, adjustment of council and water rates, insurance and re-direction of mail.

We are thinking of buying our first home. What is the First Home Owner's Grant and are we entitled to it?
For First Home Buyers, some of the financial outlay can be reduced by the Government's First Home Owners' Scheme. Approved first time buyers receive $7,000 for an established home or new home.

The First Home Owners Scheme (FHOS) is an initiative by the Federal Government but administered by each State and will apply from July 1, 2000. The scheme is not means tested and does not vary depending on the value of the home.

The only requirements are that it be your first home, and principle place of residence. Neither you nor your partner should have owned property before. The contract must be signed after 30/6/00 and the assistance is deposited into a nominated bank account on settlement.

Visit the relevant web site as it has a lot of useful information for first home buyers: The Federal government is hoping that State governments will remove stamp duties now being charged by 1 July 2005.

How will the GST affect me when buying a house?
For individuals and businesses that are registered, the GST treats properties differently depending on whether they are new or established and whether they are for domestic or commercial purposes.

All new residential properties purchased after 1 July 2000 will have GST charged on the cost of the property and all other purchase costs.

No GST will be charged on the purchase cost of established residential properties. The definition of an established residential property is one that has not been sold before. Residential properties include houses, flats, apartments, units, etc.

When someone purchases a property the costs they pay will depend on whether it is an established property or it is being built. Established properties would include houses that have been built several years ago or a new house purchased after the builder has completed it.

A purchaser pays legal fees, conveyancing fees, costs associated with obtaining notices from councils and other authorities and stamp duty based on the purchase price.

Where anyone buying or selling a property pays costs to someone who is registered for GST they will have GST included in the cost they pay.

The Federal government is hoping that State governments will remove stamp duties now being charged by 1 July 2005.

Should I Buy An Established Home Or Build My Own?
This is a personal choice but you should be aware that there can be many costs involved in building which may not be included in your initial budget or your mortgage loan and there may also be unforeseen delays in construction. When buying an established home, total costs are known from the outset. One advantage of building a home is that Government Stamp Duty is reduced as you only pay the stamp duty on the land value.

How Much Can I Afford To Spend On A Property?
Speak to a Mortgage Broker. They offer a free, no obligation service. We recommend RFS Finance. Feel free to visit their website at

How Do I Make An Offer On A Property?
Once you have found a property that you like, advise your agent that you wish to make an offer to the Seller. You will then sign a contract with your offer and the agent will begin negotiations with the sellers. Any further negotiations between the parties must continue to be in writing with all changes intialled by both parties until you both come to a mutual agreement.

What Does The Settlement Agent Do?
A Settlement Agent / Conveyancer is responsible for legally transferring property ownership from one party to another. The Settlement Agent will prepare the legal documents, adjust rates & taxes, liaise with any financial institutions and attend settlement.

Am I Required To Attend At Settlement?
No. Your nominated Settlement Agent / Conveyancer will attend on your behalf and the relevant Banks will also be in attendance. Documents will be checked and exchange of the Title and monies will take place.

How Can I Be Sure That The Property Is In The Same Condition As The Day I Initially Inspected It?
Prior to settlement, you are entitled to a "Final Inspection" of the property (with your Agent present to guide you) whereby you are able to inspect the property and ensure that all is to your satisfaction. Should any problems arise from this inspection, your agent will advise you of your rights.

When Can I Take Possession Of The Property?
Once we have received notification from both parties solicitors informing us that settlement has been effected, we are then allowed to release keys to the buyer. Immediately upon this notification of settlement, this property is in your possession.

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