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How to Buy a House 🏘 (Step-By-Step Case Study)

Today you’re going to learn How to Buy a House.

The best part?

You won’t need to a massive deposit to secure your dream home.

In fact, there are THREE different ways of buying a home with no deposit.

And in this case study, I’ll walk you through the step-by-step process to securing your house.

Let’s get started.

Don’t have time to read the whole guide right now?

No worries. Let me send you a copy so you can read it when it’s convenient for you. Just let me know where to send it (takes 5 seconds):


Decide it’s time to buy

Here’s the deal:

Buying a house isn’t easy…It can be a long process (sometimes taking up to 12 months) and can be expensive.

On the other hand, owning a house can be an incredibly rewarding experience.

This chapter will go through the difference between renting and buying. 

So whether you got the deposit or not, it’s time to get ready.

Renting vs buying

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of buying compared to renting.

The first step in all of this is just deciding if it’s time to buy, if its time to invest in property or if its better to keep renting.

Furthermore, it can help you build equity in a property, grow your wealth and give you security in owning your own place.


Realistically there is no right or wrong answer for anyone, it is up to your personal preference…

But the first step to buy a house is deciding you are ready to buy!

With that being said, if you live somewhere where property prices are unaffordable for you there is another strategy which you can consider called Rentvesting.


This is where you buy where you can afford, and live where you like.

Giving you the best of both worlds.

Read More: Can’t Afford to Buy Where You Live? [We’ve got the Answer!]

Benefits of Buying a Home

There are some definite positives in buying a home, including:

  • ✅ You can benefit in the property price increases over time: According to numbers, thew median house price in Sydney increased more than 70% between 2013 and 2018. 
  • ✅ Tax benefits from owning a property: With negative gearing on investment properties, and no capital gains tax paid on your owner occupied home there are some serious tax benefits in buying your own home.
  • ✅ Extra Stability, and you make the decisions: If you want to paint your walls bright pink you can. You also have a bit more stability compared to renting where you might only have a 6 to 12 month lease. 

There are some strong benefits in owning a home, including benefit from price increases. 

Negatives of Buying a Home

Buying a house does come with some negatives, and it’s worth considering these before starting putting down offers.
Some negatives of buying a home include:

  • ⛔️ You need to pay for the interest on your repayments: With an average interest rate of below 3.50%, if you were to borrow $300,000 to buy your first home you’d pay $184,661 in interest over a 30 year loan.
  • ⛔️ Purchasing Costs: The RBA estimates the cost of buying a home including stamp duty to be around 4.3% on average. This is lower for first home buyers because stamp duty is waived – but still worth keeping in mind that home buying doesn’t come cheap.
  • ⛔️ You are going to need to cover the costs of maintenance, and upkeep: Older houses need more love than newer ones, if the hot water system kicks the can or the air conditioning breaks you will need to look after these costs.

renting vs buying a house


Find a home loan that works for you

Forget about looking at all the different home loans and getting confused.

At this point, it is good to speak with a Mortgage Broker to help you find a loan that’s best for you. 

In this chapter we’ll look at different loan options like no deposit and gifted funds to help you find a loan that works for you.



Loan types

In the old days, there was only one type of home loan so you didn’t have any choice in what kind of loan you got.

Nowadays there are literally hundreds of home loans available in Australia all with different features and benefits.

how to buy a house home loan

Which Home Loan is right for you? There are hundreds to choose from.

Crunching the numbers and comparing different loans can be so confusing, so speak with a mortgage broker at this point.

A Mortgage Broker works on your behalf to arrange a home loan through a bank.

They look at what you are wanting to achieve and find a home loan that works for you.

Not only this a Mortgage Broker will also help you work out a price range and budget (also including costs like stamp duty) for you to buy a home and give you an idea on what you can spend.

Your mortgage broker can also explain other benefits you might be entitled to like the first home owners grant.

Read More: The Definitive Guide to Home Loans in 2019

How do I buy a home with no deposit?

As I said above, there are currently THREE different ways to buy a home with no deposit.

Buy without deposit

  • Guarantor Home LoanBuying a property with your parents as a guarantor lets you borrow up to 105% of the purchase price! This means you don’t need any savings as your parents provide a guarantee secured on their property.
  • Gifted Funds – If you have a family member or relative who is willing to give you the deposit, you can buy a home effectively with no deposit!
  • First Home Buyers Grant (Great Start Grant in Queensland) – In Queensland, you can purchase a brand new property or build a new home and receive $15,000 from the government which can be used towards your deposit plus stamp duty benefits.
  • Bonus: If you are a Medical Professional or Doctor you can get 100% LVR home loans with no deposit.

Example of a typical guarantor home loan structure

Read More: How to Buy a Home with No Deposit


Get a pre-approval

In this chapter you’ll learn all about pre-approval.

Specifically, what it is, what you need to look out for and how it can save the day. 

But first, let’s kick things off with the pre-approval process.

What is a pre-approval?

Let’s get one thing straight.

A pre-approval is a preliminary loan approval from a bank letting you know what you qualify to borrow.

To get a pre-approval you just need to give your credit history to your broker or lender who then will verify your income and give you fairly clear guidelines on what you can afford to borrow.

In effect, it’s like the lender is telling you that they will lend you $X amount of money provided your income and personal circumstances don’t change.

This allows you to make stronger offers on the property with shorter finance terms, meaning you can get a better deal and into the home of your dreams sooner!


How can a pre-approval save the day?

Pre-approval can save the day because different banks have different policies when it comes to pre-approvals. Some are valid for three months and some for up to 6 months. 

  • ✅ A pre-approval is a preliminary loan approval from a bank or other lender
  • ✅ With it, your property search can now begin
  • ✅ You can put an offer on a property or bid at auction
  • ✅ Only valid for 90 days
  • ✅ Allows you to make strong offers on property with shorter finance terms

Beware! Not all pre-approvals are reliable.

Not all banks are the same when it comes to assessing a pre-approval home loan…

Also known as a conditional approval, indicative approval, approval in principle or home seeker depending on the bank you use.

In most cases a pre-approval is just an indication that the bank is ok to consider approving your loan. They may just complete a credit check and not check any of or your documents and wait until you lodge a full mortgage application to do this.

home loans paddington brisbane

Our Mortgage Brokers have helped lots of home owners around Paddington and Brisbane.

Read more: How reliable is your pre-approval?



Find the right house

Finance? Check.

Pre-approval? Check.

Now it’s time to dive into advanced strategies to find the right house, that you can use to figure out the best option for you.

Let’s do this.

Let’s do this

Having a pre-approved loan allows you to think ahead and plan your property search wisely.

Create a list of essential features that you look for in a house in Brisbane.

This will keep you focused on purchasing a home that is suitable for you and meets your requirements.


Property can be a largely emotional purchase, so you need to consider a few things before falling head over heels on a property:

  • ✅ What is your “why” for buying this property? Is it to live in, are you going to rent it out in the short term, what is the properties main purpose?
  • ✅ Do you plan on staying in the property for a few years? Your first home is not likely to be your forever home, it is just your first step towards your future mansion!
  • ✅ Can you afford repairs and upkeep on the property? If it is an older Queenslander style property have you budgeted for ongoing repairs and maintenance? Will it need a new kitchen and bathroom in the short term?
  • ✅ If you bought the property, who would buy it from you in a few years? I like to start with the end in mind, when buying a property I always think about who I will sell it in a few years. If it’s going to be a very narrow market like retirees, is this going to harm the growth potential of the property?


House Buying property checklist.

Download now: Property Location Checklist

Download now: Home Buying Checklist

Bonus: Property Inspection Checklist

When I bought my first home, I had no idea. Like most people, I’d go and see 4 to 5 properties on a Saturday then get home and want to put an offer on all of them.

Which is fine, except the place I ended up buying DIDN’T HAVE CURTAINS. 

home buying checklist

(Which ended up costing me over $4,000 to install) 


I didn’t even realise, I was in such a rush at the inspections I didn’t take time to even notice if there were curtains. 

So learn from my mistake, and download the home buying checklist.


Research your potential home

Market research is key. 

And without it, it’s like moving into your new home with a blind fold.

In this chapter, we’ll show you why.

Researching a property

Regardless of what you intend to buy, carrying out market research is really important to identify the right price and reasonable quality of a product.

Because purchasing a home is a huge investment, you must conduct local market research to find out the current prices of a type of property you are looking for, as it will enable you to avoid paying above the market value.

Check out flood zones which can be found through the Flood Awareness Map.

The Flood Awareness Map lets you know what the history of flooding is at your property and is an important tool to use.

Read More: How to Research your suburb and surrounding areas?

Other Awesome Research Resources

Information is power when researching a future home, so check out these great (FREE) tools before you make an offer:

  • Herron Todd White Month in Review: One of Australia’s biggest property valuation firm puts together their data each month to let you know what’s happening in your local property market. 
  • Walkscore: Super powerful report to let you know what cafes, bars, and bus stops are near your new home. I particularly love the ‘walk map’ that tells you what is 5, 10, 15 minutes walk from your home. 
  • RP Data Electronic Valuations: These are seriously powerful, and I use them whenever I am negotiating a home price. They tell you what the property should be worth, and most importantly what has recently sold in the area. 
  • RealAs: Another Free tool which goes way beyond what Real Estate and Domain show you. 
  • Flood Maps, Brisbane Property Market Data, School Zones and More: Our comprehensive guide to the Brisbane property market has links to the new flight path tool, Brisbane’s school catchment areas and 5 suburbs to watch in 2019. 
  • Bonus: Steps to researching the property market – In this guide I step you through the process I use to research, and make an offer on a home this year!


Complete your property inspection checklist

There is no substitute for physical inspection when it comes to purchasing a home.

(And I know I mentioned this above)

But I cannot stress how important taking the time to complete your inspection checklist is. 

It allows you to see other attributes that you would have otherwise ignored while searching for a property, such as its local area and your commute time to work.

Using a property inspection checklist can help you make sure the property ticks all of your boxes!

Whenever you plan to visit a property, plan a building and pest inspection before making a purchase as it will disclose the problems beforehand that would otherwise be costly to fix.

Download now: Property Inspection Checklist


Make an offer

Now for the exciting part.

Making an offer on a property is an easy process.

In this chapter, we’ll show you how.

Make an offer

You do not need to sign a contract of sale to make an offer on a property, I get my offer accepted by the agent (and the sellers) before taking time to fill out the contract of sale.

You do not need to sign a contract to make an offer on a property 

I have personally used this template to purchase properties in the past, it’s worth keeping your offer short and to the point including:

  • ✅ Purchasing Entity: I.e. your full name, including middle names.
  • ✅ Price:
  • ✅ Deposit
  • ✅ Finance and building and pest terms
  • ✅ Settlement Dates
  • ✅ Lawyer details

Read More: How to make an offer and questions to ask the real estate agent and download the offer making template.


What happens in a Multiple Offer Situation?

A multiple offer situation happens when there is more than one person trying to buy the same property.

It can happen, so make sure you are prepared with these tips:

  • Ask for the Multiple Offer Form – In Queensland there is a multiple offer form you can request, which is basically a declaration from the real estate agent confirming they are being genuine and you need to put your best and final offer forward. 
  • Move the Settlement Date – If you do not want to increase your price, you can try to move the settlement date forward this could help sellers who have bought another property move in faster. 30 days settlement is standard in Brisbane, if you’re organised you could try to reduce these slightly. 
  • Increase your Deposit Amount – The higher the deposit you put down on the contract, the stronger your offer presents to the real estate agent. This can make you seem more secure and even help you win when your offer price is lower than the competition. 
  • Have your finances in order – Generally speaking, the more days for finance you make your offer subject to, the less appealing it will look. Aim for 14 days or less when making your offer subject to finance. 
  • Drop the Building & Pest –  Instead of asking for 14 days for your building and pest, you can drop this back to 5 days to again sharpen your offer without having to give a higher purchase price. 

Read More: Multiple Offer Situation


Questions to ask before signing the Contract of Sale

Now for the exciting part.

Making an offer on a property is an easy process.

In this chapter, we’ll show you how.

The contract of sale (it looks like this) is a legal agreement that contains terms and conditions agreed upon by both the seller and buyer in a clear manner.

It is prepared by a lawyer or in Queensland by a real estate agent and typically includes the following:

  • 📝 Name and address of the seller
  • 📝 Plan number, reference number, and address of the property
  • 📝 Fittings and removable items, such as appliances, blinds, or any other easily removable items, included in the sale
  • 📝 Deposit amount and purchase price of the property
  • 📝 Details about the settlement
  • 📝 Information about the property as to whether it is vacant or on lease
  • 📝 Sometimes includes reports, such as building inspection, pest inspection, etc.

It is very important to look at the terms and conditions of the contract before signing it as it may involve special conditions that aren’t in favour of the buyer.

Ask these 5 simple questions to the Real Estate agent before signing your contract of sale

Question 1: Are You Getting What You Are Looking For?

In a real estate market, buying a property doesn’t always go as planned. There are a lot of things you have to consider and at times, you have to come to a compromise. What you can do, however, is look at the copy of the registered plan that is normally attached to the contract and check if the property description is the same as inspected. If something doesn’t seem right on the plan, hire an independent surveyor to inspect the property and prepare a plan.

An unregistered or registered easement is what you should be looking at next. If the house has any easements, there might be restrictions as to how you should use that portion of the land.

As discussed earlier, it’s important to get a clear idea about the fixtures you will be getting along with the property. This is things like light fittings, carpeting, pool equipment, stove, blinds, or curtains. Clearly ask what is included in the contract of sale, because it is not right to assume that everything you saw during the inspection will be included in the sale.

Question 2: How Much Deposit Do You Have to Pay?

This is the second question you should be asking when going ahead with the purchase. Buying a house is a big decision and you should be fully informed before taking any steps toward it.

The amount of deposit you are required to pay will be included in the contract, in Queensland, it is divided into two parts:

  1. ✅ The first is a holding deposit (also called the initial deposit) and is usually a small amount of $500 to $2,000 (or up to 0.25%) to secure the property.
  2. The holding deposit shows you are serious about wanting to buy the property and needs to be paid within 3 business days of signing the contract of sale and can range from $10,000 to 5% of the purchase price…


The deposit in Queensland is split into two parts on the Contract of Sale, (1) the holding deposit and (2) the balance deposit. Both need to be paid for the contract to become unconditional.

Read More: Signed a Contract of Sale steps to follow

Question 3: Does the Contract of Sale Involve Any Special Conditions?

As discussed, you should definitely ask about any special conditions included in the contract of sale, because these are the things you should be reading over and over again to get a clearer picture. An example of special conditions can be anything from paying a penalty to delay the settlement to a transaction being subject to tenancy.

As a buyer, you can also include special conditions in the contract, such as a satisfactory report of pest or building inspection, or sale are subject to selling your own property.

Termites are surprisingly common in Brisbane homes, so you can add a building and pest condition to give you time to get a report completed.

Question 4: How Long is the Settlement Period?

It is crucial to choose a reasonable settlement period, keeping in mind your particular situation. For example, if you are in the process of selling your house and want to move to a new home by a particular date, it’s important to negotiate the date that is suitable for you.

Normally, the settlement date can be 30 days, 60 days, or 90 days. Some sellers might not want to go with the longer settlement period while others may not want a shorter period. So consult with your real estate agent as to what the motivation of a seller is.


Typcially settlements in Queensland are 30 days from contract signing, but you can extend this to 45 or 60 days depending on your situation (and the sellers willingness to accept it!)

Question 5: Does the Purchase Involve Cooling Off Period?

The cooling off period is mentioned in the contract of sale. You must be aware of what can happen if you plan to withdraw from the contract after signing it.

Also, find out about any financial penalties in case of withdrawing from the contract.

Once you have paid your deposit on a property, you have legal right over the property called a financial interest… Make sure you get your insurance sorted ASAP.

Buying a property comes with huge financial responsibility. Therefore take your time, carry out due diligence, and make sure the terms and conditions are satisfactory. Speak to our team of experts today for more information.

We detail the steps in signing a contract of sale in this article.

Read More: Signed a Contract of Sale on a Home? ✍️ [5 Simple Steps to Settlement]


Follow the home buying steps

Once your offer has been accepted its time to get moving with your unconditional finance approval.

In this chapter we’re looking at the steps to making that home yours.

The key to the home buying steps

How exciting, you are getting close to owning your own home! 

From here you need to get your finance unconditionally approved, 

  • 1. Sign the contract of saleIf you haven’t already done so, sign the contract of sale to get everything formally moving. 
  • 2. Take out property insuranceIn Queensland if you are buying a home, as the buyer you are responsible for insurance and must have it in place on the property from 5pm the next day. 
  • 3. Get in touch with your mortgage broker to get your loan formally approvedNow the easy part, assuming you have a pre-approval in place your mortgage broker will order a valuation and get everything rolling
  • 4. Engage a solicitor or conveyancer: Hit up your solicitor and conveyancer to get them moving on any additional searches you would like to complete on the property.
  • 5. Move forward with a building and pest report: It’s also at this stage that you will get moving with your building and pest report. 

Home buyers in Brisbane need to engage a lawyer early in the process if they are wanting to go to auction.

Sign your loan contracts

Once you have taken all the above-mentioned steps, a copy of the signed sale contract will be forwarded by your mortgage broker to your bank where they will arrange a property valuation. 

If the result of the valuation is fine and other loan terms have also been met, the lender will grant full approval of a loan.

This is where your broker and solicitor come into play as they transfer the property into your name and make sure the settlement takes place within a specified period.

After successful completion of the entire process, all you have to do is pack your belongings and wait for settlement (which typically takes 30 to 90 days).

Now you are at the easy part, signing the paperwork!

Move into your new house

Woo you made it! Time to arrange the movers and get the keys because you are now a homeowner!

Time to invite the family around to your new castle!


Solicitor or Conveyancer: What’s the difference?

In this chapter we’ll show you a few bonus tips for finding solicitors, what they do and how they can help you out!

Solicitor or Conveyancer…?

When you’re going through the process of buying a house, you’ll need the legal services of a professional who can help you with the property transfer.

Both lawyers and conveyancers are the right people for the job as they’ll help in preparing the documentation required for property settlement.

They usually do the following tasks:

  • Completion of documentation to the titles office: In other words, they put your name on the title of the property at settlement! 
  • ✅ Making inquiries about the title and zoning: They do searches and checks to make sure everything is above board on the property before you buy it.
  • ✅ Preparation of settlement papers: They coordinate the money and arrange it to be paid from the banks, to sellers on settlement.

Unlike other states, in Queensland, it is not legal for a licensed conveyancer to have their own firm. In fact, all the conveyancing work is managed and executed by a law firm. 

In our experience, Conveyancers do as good a job (if not better) than solicitors when helping with your property settlement. 

Read More: What are the differences between a solicitor and conveyancer

Make a List of Recommended Solicitors

You would need the services of a conveyancer or solicitor to take care of the legal matters.

They review the contract or sale of any property you wish to buy and handle the settlement process. Therefore, always make a list of good solicitors recommended by colleagues, family, or friends when you are purchasing a home.

Hunter Galloway’s tip: Ask us for advice on this one!.



Step-by-step guide to buying a house

As an added bonus, we have detailed the home buying process in as much detail as possible.

You can use this as a checklist to help you go from finding to settling your new home.

You can follow our step by step guide to buying a home in Australia. 

how to buy a house infographic

Download: Step by Step Home Buying Process or Download this infographic here.

Now It’s Your Turn

If you are looking to build a home in Queensland, or buy a new home using the first home owners grant our team at Hunter Galloway can help.

Our team here at Hunter Galloway helps first home buyers with navigating the home buying process.

To chat about your deposit, lending and first home ownership options book in a time to sit down with us, or feel free to call on 1300 088 065.

More Resources for first home buyers


Ready to take the next step toward buying? We’re happy to help. Schedule a call today with a Home Loan Expert from Hunter Galloway, the home of home buyers.

Schedule a call


The information on this page is general in nature and should not be considered as advice. Before you act on this information you must seek independent legal and financial advice.