When buying a home, there are some costs you expect and some you don’t. To help you avoid any surprises we’ve put together a list of things you might need to think about when working out your budget.

Not all of the following costs apply to all situations—so think about which ones might to yours.

Stamp duty

Stamp duty is a tax that you need to budget for when buying a home. It is levied on the purchase value of the property, and although stamp duty on mortgages has been abolished, you can expect to pay government charges to register your mortgage.

Stamp duty is charged by the state and territory governments, so the amount you pay will depend on where you buy the property.

If you are a first home buyer, or you are building a new home, you may be eligible for some stamp duty concessions. For all other buyers, stamp duty can add quite a bit to the cost of purchasing a property.

For more information take a look at the website of the revenue office in your state or territory:

ACT | NSW | NT | QLD | SA | TAS | VIC | WA

Pest and building inspections

Pest inspections can be relatively cheap, particularly when compared to the cost of dealing with the problem after the property is purchased.

A combined pest and building inspection can cost upwards of around $400 depending on the size of the property. However, this expense is dwarfed by the potential cost of dealing with a major building issue.

Talk to your legal rep about these inspections—they’ll often organise them on your behalf.

Aussie Fact Sheet: Pest and Building Inspections

Real estate agent's fees

If you’re selling your current home and buying another you’ll probably sell through an agent and there will be an agent’s commission to pay.

First home buyers don’t have to worry about paying commissions, as the commission is charged to the vendor of the property, usually as a percentage of the sale price.

Legal costs

There are a handful of legal costs involved in a property transfer:

  • Conveyancing—You need a professional to legally transfer ownership of the property you are buying or selling. The services of a conveyancer or legal rep generally cost from around $1,000.
  • Searches—Your legal rep will need to perform property and title searches to be sure that the seller is legally entitled to sell the property. If you’re moving into a strata property, then your legal rep will probably arrange a strata inspection and a check of the strata body corporate records.

Borrowing costs

There may be a range of fees imposed by your lender such as application, valuation and settlement fees.

Make sure you ask your lender or broker about these fees.


There are a few types of insurance you might be up for:

  • Lenders Mortgage Insurance—if you have to borrow more than 80% of the purchase price of the property, you’ll need to pay Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI). This type of insurance protects the lender if you default on the loan. The amount depends on the sum you borrow and the value of your home.
  • Building insurance—if you’re not buying a strata property your lender will probably ask you to take out building insurance dated from the time of exchange.
  • Contents insurance—a good thing to get from time of exchange if you want to cover fixtures and fittings included with the sale.
  • Mortgage Protection Insurance—this is not necessary but can be handy. It covers your mortgage repayments if you get hit by illness or injury.

Other things to think about

  • Moving costs—unless you have some really good friends with a truck you’ll need to pay for removalists and possibly storage.
  • Council rates and strata fees—the seller is responsible for rates up to and until the day of settlement but you’re responsible from the day after settlement.
  • Renovations and furniture—do you need whitegoods? Are you planning to freshen up the place with some paint and new carpets before you move in? You’ll need to count these costs as well.

Continue to information about the first home owners grant.