Determine your budget – how much can I afford to borrow?
There are two key calculations to make when you’re thinking about buying a new home:
what you can afford to pay – an upper limit that cannot be exceeded
what you are prepared to pay – always less than you can afford and possible to shift if you want an extra feature in your home
Most banks and mortgage companies provide access to free online calculators that can help you work out what you could be eligible to borrow and calculate your repayments. While the lender will calculate a maximum loan amount, you should consider what you can realistically afford based on your:
short and long-term plans (for example, starting a family, holidays, or changing jobs)
It’s important to consider your circumstances can change and interest rates fluctuate, so many advisors recommend you allocate around one third of your gross income to mortgage repayments.
What will my repayments be?
- Tools and calculators overview
- Loan repayments calculator
- Calculate My Repayments
- Rates, calculators and tools
Other costs and fees
One-off and other regular costs associated with your mortgage should also be considered. These could include:
lender’s fees for loan applications, valuations, account establishment and financial transfers, plus any ongoing account-keeping fees (and any fees for changing the features of your loan during its term)
mortgage insurance when your deposit is less than 20% of the property cost
State Government stamp duty paid to transfer the property to you
GST on new homes
conveyancing fees, which are legal costs for transferring the property to you
settlement agent fees for tasks undertaken in transferring the land, such as resolving special conditions or determining rates to be paid
fees charged by lawyers/solicitors involved in buying or building your home
property inspection costs if you arrange a formal inspection of a property, which might involve termite checks, soil tests or a land survey review
home building insurance on the property, which is often required by your lender
In addition to these costs, you should consider insurance for the property and your income - the premiums for which need to be factored into your budget. You should also factor in the cost of moving into your new home and fees charged by the experts/consultants such as architects, interior designers, engineers, building consultants, etc.
NOTE: If you are not a resident of Australia and wish to purchase land there are special conditions to apply. For further information contact the Foreign Investment Review Board.
Choosing the right home loan
With so many loan options available, it can pay you to shop around for the best deal on interest rates, fees and repayment options. It's important that you select a loan type that suits your individual circumstances and needs. Banks, building societies, credit unions and mortgage originators all offer special deals or packages that can help you manage your financial investment.
Mortgage brokers can provide details on behalf of a range of financial institutions. However, it’s always a good idea to establish whether the broker is independent or receiving commissions from lending institutions. They are required to disclose all fees and commissions before you sign up, and you should also make sure they are registered with the Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia
Whether you’re organising a loan through a broker or direct with a financial institution, ask about ‘pre-approval’. This means you have finance approval 'in principle' to buy a property and this can make the loan process quicker and easier when you find your ideal homesite.
It is recommended that you ask the lender for a letter outlining how much they are willing to lend you. Don't rely on online approvals or calculators.