Legal Home Loans

Buying a home: The upfront costs

When taking out a mortgage, there are fees and expenses you need to account for in addition to the property cost. Amidst the stress of applying for a home loan, these can easily be forgotten. Be prepared with our guide below and avoid last-minute panic.

Here are some of the extra costs that you’ll need to consider when you take out a home loan.

  • Mortgage application fees – This is a lender fee for setting up a mortgage. Most lenders charge additional fees such as loan service fees costing up to $1000. Be sure to ask your lender to itemise everything and see if they can offer reduced fee deals or package. A good broker will check this for you.

  • Mortgage registration fee – This is a government fee for registering your mortgage on the title of your property costing you up to $200.

  • Registration of transfer fee – You as the new owner of the property need to be registered at the Land Titles Office. This cost varies significantly across Australia, you can find details of the charges on the website of the state/territory revenue office here.

  • Stamp duty – This would be your biggest upfront cost. Stamp duty is a tax by your relevant state or territory government that is calculated based on the price of the property. Special exemptions may apply if you are a first home buyer, read our blog to find out more.

  • Lenders Mortgage Insurance – If you don’t have 20% of the property price or the value of the property, the lender will require you to pay for a lenders mortgage insurance policy that covers their risk in the event you default on your repayments and can cost you tens of thousands dollars. However, if you are a legal professional with a practising certificate you could be eligible to have this cost waived. 
  • Solicitor/conveyancing fees – Your conveyancer or settlement agent should be engaged before you make an offer. They handle the transfer of ownership of the property on your behalf, which can cost up to $2500. This can include:
    • Completing a property and title search to ensure that the seller is legally entitled to sell.
    • Reviewing and exchanging the contract of sale
    • Arranging to pay stamp duty
    • Organising strata inspections and checking the body corporate records
  • Building and pest inspection fees – It is recommended that you organise for these inspections of the property to avoid unexpected issues later such as pest infestations or structural problem. The inspections can set you back by up to $1000, but it’s well worth the cost.

  • Set up fees- The costs of connecting your utilities such as electricity or internet and paying any upfront council and water rates can all add up. The amount can vary depending on when you settle and your agreement with the vendor. Also, organising connections for before or day of moving day will make the moving process a breeze. It is recommended to keep aside at least $1000 for these costs but it is wise to check with your conveyancer as well.

  • Body corporate fees – If you buy an apartment or Strata Titled property, be sure to request a strata report. This is useful to check if there are any disputes or debts and if it is managed well. In many cases buyers may skip this step and end up with an unpleasant surprise. A strata office or your lawyer can do the search for you and provide you with legal advice. The strata report can cost around $400 plus any extra legal fees depending on your situation.

  • Maintenance costs – Don’t forget to make provision for unexpected maintenance on your home, even if you decide not to undertake significant renovations. Maintenance costs can include lawn care, plumbing and small repairs. 

  • Moving/furniture costs – Depending on whether you are moving with existing furniture or purchasing new furniture, the costs of this can add a few thousand dollars to your upfront costs.

  • Home & contents insurance – Most homeowners insure their home and contents against a range of threats including burglary, fire and storm. If you have a mortgage, building insurance is compulsory can cost $1000 a year. Contents insurance, however, is not mandatory but recommended.

  • Life and income protection insurance – Although this is not compulsory, you should consider protecting yourself and your income while you have a mortgage. Income protection provides cover in case you cannot perform your usual occupation due to sickness or injury. Life insurance on the other hand can provide money to your nominated beneficiaries in the event of your death or diagnosis of illness to cover outstanding mortgage or debts.

It’s a long list of fees we get it! Don’t be overwhelmed, a lot of these costs can vary and a good broker will try to reduce your mortgage and bank fees as far as possible. Speak to our team today to find out what the best home loan option is for you.

Land Titles Office:

NSW – https://www.nswlrs.com.au/

VIC – https://www.propertyandlandtitles.vic.gov.au/

QLD – https://www.business.qld.gov.au/industries/building-property-development/titles-property-surveying/titles-property

ACT – https://www.accesscanberra.act.gov.au/app/answers/detail/a_id/2108/~/land-title-lodgements%2C-registrations-and-searches

SA – https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/planning-and-property/buying-and-selling/property-transfer-fee-calculator

NT – https://nt.gov.au/property/land/get-or-change-a-land-title/land-titles-forms-and-fees

WA – https://www0.landgate.wa.gov.au/titles-and-surveys

TAS – https://dpipwe.tas.gov.au/land-tasmania/land-titles-office

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