Apps and online tools
With lots of online tools and apps to help home buyers, these may be your first stop in your search. Here’s a few to check out.
- realestate.com.au - iOS and Android. Search for properties Australia wide. Lots of filter options help narrow down searches. Can set up property alerts.
- Domain - iOS and Android. As above. Can also view school catchment zones, property histories and sale price estimates.
- Homely - iOs and Android. As above. Find inspection times and share favourites with friends and family. Website has open Q&A forums, handy if you can’t physically visit.
- Houzz - iOS and Android. 20 million + high-res images lets you have fun with design. Connect with local professionals including architects, builders and interior designers.
Real estate agent
Real estate agents are licensed to buy and sell properties on behalf of clients. Their local knowledge means they understand the local property market, so be sure to tap into it. They can offer you useful insights into everything from streets, trends and growth right through to neighbourhood quirks.
Bear in mind that agents earn commission on sales, so with any negotiation between you and the seller, be sure to get written responses from the owner.
Buyer’s agent (or buyer’s advocate)
These specialists work exclusively on behalf of the buyer. So rather than doing the search yourself, you can engage them to find your dream home – for a fixed fee or percentage of the purchase price.
Good to know is that under Australian law, buyer’s agents can’t act for or accept a commission from both transactional parties.
Downloadable property guides
Real estate and buyer’s agents often provide a value-add in the form of free downloadable local info and guides. Some property listing sites offer the same. Guide details include the sales history of the property, trends in the local area and more.
You can check state government sites for guides too, such as this one from the NSW government.
Government help to buy your own home
- First Home Guarantee – helps eligible homebuyers get into the market.
- Family Home Guarantee – helps eligible single guardians with at least one dependent child buy a family home.
- Regional Home Guarantee - helps eligible regional homebuyers to buy a home
If you can, visit the area where you want to live. Nothing beats chatting with locals. Wander around. See what’s on offer. Make sure it’s a great fit before you set your heart on a property or neighbourhood.
Pest and building inspectors
A pest inspection could save you money by finding any problems like termites before you exchange contracts. Likewise a building inspection. If a building inspection finds defects such as rising damp or structures not built to code, you may be able to negotiate a lower purchase price.
Builder and architect
A licensed builder or architect should be able to help you figure out if the property has good bones. They can also spot cosmetic fixes covering up larger problems, or suggest work needed that may reduce the purchase price. If you’re planning on doing a significant renovation, having one or the other there with you from the start could really help.
When applying for a home loan you are asked to provide certified copies of various documents, and will need someone to do this for you. Typically this is a JP or Justice of the Peace – and they’re mainly found at places such as pharmacies, libraries, police stations, court houses, and the office of your local member. A quick online search should help.
Buyer’s lawyer, solicitor or conveyancer
A conveyancer prepares, reviews and lodges all documents relating to the purchase of a property. They may be cheaper than a solicitor, especially with a straight forward purchase.
A solicitor or lawyer offers conveyancing as well as the other legal services you may need. This includes reviewing the contract of sale before you buy and dealing with the bank up to and including settlement.
Just like you, your bank has solicitors. Their role in your world as a buyer is to issue the bank’s contracts. They may also represent the bank at settlement.
We’ll speak on behalf of ourselves. We offer friendly home loan support, whether you’re just getting started on your deposit, learning how home loans work, or making your first repayment. It’s about helping you feel confident and on top of what’s going on, whenever you need it.
Keen to learn more?
Explore the range of Bank Australia home loans or read our thought starters on when is the best time to buy property.