Your ultimate first home buyer checklist

We’re making buying your first home less confusing. With the ultimate checklist, you'll know what to expect at every step of the way.

Steps to tick-off to buy your first home

Who you’ll need to speak to throughout the process:

  • Home Lending Specialist or broker
  • Parents or family
  • Real estate agents
  • Settlement agent/conveyancer.

❏ Talk to a Home Lending Specialist

Book a chat with a Home Lending Specialist – it’s obligation free, easy, plus they can even come to you. It's never too early to speak to our experts, they'll guide you through the process step-by-step. They can also provide you with free property reports with handy info about a property or suburb.

❏ Check your credit score

Your credit score is something lenders look at when you apply for a home loan. Once you know how you score, you can then take steps to build a healthy credit report if you need to. You can access your credit score and credit report for free.

❏ Sort out your deposit

Generally, you'll need 20% of the value of the property. If you don't quite have the full deposit, a guarantor could help you get there. Chat to your parents or family about a guarantor option. You can find out more about how a guarantor loan works. Otherwise, with less than a 20% deposit, you'll need to pay Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI).

❏ Apply for conditional pre-approval (approved-in principle)

If you’re serious about buying soon, apply for conditional pre-approval before looking at properties. Having conditional pre-approval shows real estate agents and sellers that you mean business and could help to make your offer more appealing. Contact your Home Lending Specialist or broker to apply.

❏ Hire a settlement agent

You’ll need a settlement agent or conveyancer to work on your behalf to sort out the legal contracts and manage the settlement process.

❏ Make an offer on a property

It's getting exciting – you've found the home for you. Your home loan conditional pre-approval (approved-in-principle) is sorted, and your deposit is ready. This is where you make a formal offer in writing to the seller via their real estate agent. You'll put forward your proposed purchase price and any conditions (things like, subject to building and pest inspection). Ask your settlement agent for advice on making an offer.

❏ Apply for your First Home Owner Grant

Apply for any grants you may be eligible for – like the First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) or First Home Super Saver Scheme (FHSS). Your Home Lending Specialist or broker will help you with the paperwork and documents needed for this.

❏ Choose your home loan

There are different home loans, so you'll need to select the one that's best for you. If you're building your first home, you'll need a construction loan so chat to your Home Lending Specialist and review your home loan options.

❏ Submit all your documents to request full home loan approval

Once your offer has been accepted, contact your Home Lending Specialist and they'll kick-start the full home loan approval process. They'll talk you through everything you need to provide.

❏ Sign the home loan contracts

Sign the contracts to finalise your home loan. It's at this point, you'll need to transfer the deposit to your lender.

❏ Set up your banking and offset accounts

Set up your everyday banking and offset accounts so your salary and any savings can help you to offset the interest on your mortgage.

❏ Arrange a building and pest inspection

Arrange a building and pest inspection to make sure the property you're buying is in the condition you expect. If there are any issues that hadn't been disclosed as part of the sale, you may have the option to negotiate with the seller to cover the costs of repairs if this has been included as a condition of your offer.

❏ Get home insurance

Get home insurance for your new home. The insurance will need to cover the cost of rebuilding should anything happen to the property. You'll need to prove you have sufficient home insurance to cover the replacement value as part of the settlement process.

❏ Carry out your final inspection

For most people, this is the first time you've seen the home without the seller's furniture or other potential buyers viewing the property. So, take the time to make sure the property is as described and in the condition you expected. If there are any issues, contact your settlement agent to discuss your options.

❏ Set up utilities

You'll need to set up utilities at your new address. Contact the gas (if the property has a gas stove or gas water heater), electricity and internet companies to arrange connections. Booking the utilities in advance will mean you're good to go and can have a hot shower on move-in day.

❏ Get packing

Organise and pack up your personal items, homewares and clothes. Get ready to move into your first home. If you're in a rental, you may need to arrange an end-of-lease clean to meet the terms of your lease and get your bond back.

❏ Arrange removalists

Ask friends and family for help, or book professional removalists to transport your furniture and belongings to your new home. Booking removalists in advance can help you get the day and time you want.

❏ Change your postal address and redirect your mail

You can change your mailing address online with a lot of companies. Some of the most important addresses to update are your bank, superannuation, insurances, your driver's licence and electoral roll. Redirecting your mail to your new address is a good way to track any other updates you'll need to make and to avoid missing out on your mail.

❏ Sort out your home loan repayments

Mark your first home loan repayment in your calendar and set up scheduled payments in the Bankwest App.

❏ Set up Easy Alerts

You can set up Easy Alerts in the Bankwest App to get a reminder before the repayment is debited from your account.

Ticked everything off the list?

Congrats, you did it. Enjoy settling into your new home.

What's next?

Whatever stage you're at, get less jargon and more guidance on your first home ownership journey.

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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.