The upfront costs of buying a home

After a one bedroom apartment close to the city? Maybe you’d love a big house with a garden in the suburbs. When you’re getting the money together to afford your perfect property, it’s important to know about the upfront costs that come with buying a home. Factoring in associated costs outside the deposit - such as government taxes - can help you avoid potential surprises.

Our stamp duty and LMI calculator can give you an idea of what they’ll add up to. And to help you understand a bit more about some of these fees, here’s our guide to upfront home buying costs.

Guide to upfront home buying costs

Stamp duty

This is probably one of your largest upfront costs. It’s a state or territory government tax that’s charged for your legal documents to be stamped. Depending on your circumstances and where you live, you could get stamp duty exemptions or concessions when you buy your first home. The laws on stamp duty are always subject to change, so be sure to check your state or territory government’s housing website for the most recent information.

Can stamp duty be added to my mortgage?

It might be possible to add stamp duty (and other fees) to your mortgage, but keep in mind that it would depend on your product and the LVR after the added cost is factored in.

A Home Lending Specialist will be able to chat you through how it could work for your personal situation.

Title transfer fee

A state or territory government fee for transferring the ownership of title, and the cost varies from state to state.

Title search fee

The fee to search for information on the legal identification and ownership of the property you’re buying, as well as any legal issues concerning the property.

Mortgage registration fee

A state or territory government fee to register the mortgage on the property title.

Conveyancing fees

These are for a lawyer or licensed conveyancer to carry out the process of transferring the property from the previous owner to you. It could include services like reviewing your contract and preparing your settlement documents.

Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI)

When you borrow more than 80% of your property’s value, you usually need to pay LMI. This is insurance to protect your lender if you’re unable to make your loan repayments down the track. LMI is a cost you can pay upfront or, depending on how much LMI you need to pay, it may be added to your home loan amount.

Loan application fee, and other bank fees and charges

A mortgage loan application fee is charged by your lender to process and set up your loan. It’s usually one of the bank fees and charges that come with your home loan - be sure to check what they are with your lender. Some Bankwest home loans don’t have an application fee. To see more information about the fees that come with our home loans, check out our comparison table.

Valuation fees

Fees for bank or independent valuations of a property.


Building and pest inspections are essential to ensure the property is structurally sound, and that there are no termites or other pests.

Home insurance

For settlement to go through, you must have building insurance. Also consider getting contents and portable contents insurance. Find out more about home insurance.

Moving costs

You’ll probably need to pay for a removalist to help you move. Also allow room in your budget for the connection of utilities like electricity, gas, water and internet.

Ongoing costs

Once you’ve moved in, there are costs besides your home loan repayments that you need to consider, such as council rates, strata fees, utility bills, insurance and property maintenance.

Understanding the costs that come with buying a home in addition to the property’s purchase price helps you plan your savings accordingly. It also gives you a clear idea of what you can afford, so you can narrow down your property search and find the home that’s right for you and your budget.

Crunch the numbers

What are my upfront costs?

Get an estimate on stamp duty in your state, LMI and other non-standard home buying fees that come with purchasing a property.

About this article

We take care of all the BS (bank stuff) so you can access the knowledge you need to make informed decisions. When we write a guide or article, we take steps to make sure the information is relevant, accurate and most of all, helpful.

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The information contained in this article is of a general nature and is not intended to be nor should it be considered as professional advice. You should not act on the basis of anything contained in this article without first obtaining specific professional advice. Also to the extent permitted by law, Bankwest, a division of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 AFSL / Australian credit licence 234945, its related bodies corporate, employees and contractors accept no liability or responsibility to any persons for any loss which may be incurred or suffered as a result of acting on or refraining from acting as a result of anything contained in this article.