BUYING

YOUR FIRST HOME

PURCHASE WITH CONFIDENCE

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IT'S A MILESTONE

Welcome to our First Home Buyers' Information Page, your comprehensive guide to navigating the exciting yet often complex journey of buying your first property.

Purchasing your first home is a significant milestone in life, and it's essential to be well-informed throughout the process. Whether you're a first-time buyer just beginning to explore the market or already in the midst of your property search, this resource is designed to provide you with valuable insights, expert advice, and step-by-step guidance on the home-buying process.

From understanding your budget and financing options to finding the perfect property and making a successful offer, we're here to support you at every stage of this important endeavour. Your dream of homeownership starts here, and we're here to help you make it a reality.

THE PURCHASE PROCESS

1. FINANCIAL PREPARATION

2. FINDING A PROPERTY

3. DUE DILIGENCE

4. BUYING AT AUCTION

5. PRIVATE SALE - PLACING AN OFFER

6. SETTLEMENT

FIRST HOME BUYER GLOSSARY

We’re committed to providing expert advice and helping all Australians understand their money and financial situation inside and out. Below are the most common mortgage and real estate terms used when speaking about real estate finance.

A

Application fee:
The bank application fee is typically a one-time, upfront cost that borrowers pay when they submit their loan application. It is distinct from other costs such as origination fees or closing costs, which may be incurred at different stages of the loan process.

Adjustments:
Property adjustments, in the context of real estate, refer to financial calculations made to allocate various costs and expenses between the buyer and the seller of a property. These adjustments are typically made at the time of property transfer, such as during a real estate closing, to ensure that both parties are responsible for their fair share of certain ongoing expenses related to the property.

Auction:
An auction is a public sale or event where goods, services, or properties are offered to the highest bidder. In an auction, potential buyers compete by placing bids, and the item being auctioned is typically awarded to the person who submits the highest bid when the auction ends.

B

Body Corporate:
A body corporate is a legal entity established to manage and oversee the common areas and shared responsibilities of a multi-unit property or development, such as condominiums, apartment complexes, or townhouses. It is also commonly referred to as a “strata corporation” or “owners’ corporation” in different regions.

Borrower:
A borrower is an individual, organisation, or entity that receives money, goods, or services from another party with the understanding or agreement that they will repay or return what was borrowed at a later date.

C

Co-borrower:
A co-borrower, sometimes referred to as a joint borrower, is an individual who shares equal responsibility with the primary borrower for repaying a loan. Both the primary borrower and the co-borrower are listed on the loan application and loan agreement, and they are both legally obligated to make loan payments.

Common Property:
Common property refers to areas and elements within a multi-unit property or development that are collectively owned and shared by all the property owners or residents within that community. Common property is typically found in condominiums, apartment complexes, townhouses, and similar shared housing arrangements. This concept is a fundamental part of property ownership in such communities and is managed by a homeowners' association, body corporate, or similar entity.

Certificate of title:
A certificate of title is a legal document that serves as official proof of ownership for a specific piece of real property, such as land or real estate. This document is typically issued and maintained by the government or a relevant governmental authority, such as the local land registry or county clerk's office. It contains essential information about the property and its ownership.

Certificate of currency:
The bank will require a copy of the Building Insurance Certificate of Currency prior to settlement. This is the summary page of an insurance policy, which notes details such as the property insured, financial interest, date insured etc.

Contract of sale:
A property contract of sale, also known simply as a "contract of sale," is a legally binding agreement between a seller (usually the property owner) and a buyer for the sale of real estate. This document outlines the terms and conditions of the property transaction and serves as a key component of the property sale process

Conveyancer:
A conveyancer, also known as a property conveyancer or a conveyancing solicitor, is a professional who specialises in the legal aspects of transferring property ownership from one party to another.

Cooling off Period:
A real estate cooling-off period, often referred to as a buyer's cooling-off period, is a specific timeframe stipulated in some real estate transactions that provides the buyer with the right to cancel the contract shortly after signing it. This period allows the buyer to reconsider their decision to purchase a property without significant financial or legal consequences.

Covenant:
A property covenant, also known as a real estate covenant, is a legally binding agreement or restriction placed on a property's title or deed that dictates how the property can be used, developed, or maintained.

Credit report:
A credit report is a detailed and comprehensive record of an individual's or a business's financial history and credit-related activities.

D

Default:
A default loan, also known as a loan default, refers to a situation in which a borrower fails to meet the agreed-upon terms and conditions of a loan agreement.

Deposit:
An upfront deposit is required in real estate transactions, generally 5-10% of the purchase price upon unconditional approval, paid via bank transfer to a real estate agents trust account.

DTI:
DTI stands for Debt-to-Income Ratio, and it is a financial metric used to assess an individual's or household's financial health and creditworthiness.

E

Easement:
A property easement is a legal right or privilege that allows a person or entity to use a specific portion of another person's land for a particular purpose, even though they do not own that land. Easements are typically created to provide access, utility, or specific rights to individuals or entities while leaving the property ownership with the original landowner. Easements can be granted for various reasons and can take different form eg gas, water lines.

Encumbrances:
An encumbrance is a legal claim, restriction, or liability that exists on a property, which can affect its ownership, use, or transfer. Encumbrances can take various forms and are typically recorded in property records or title deeds.

F

FHOG:
FHOG stands for "First Home Owner Grant," which is a government incentive program designed to assist first-time homebuyers in purchasing their first home. The FHOG is typically offered by state or territorial governments within countries like Australia, where this program is commonly available.

Final inspection:
A final inspection, in the context of real estate, refers to the last step in the process of purchasing a property, typically a residential property. It is also known as a "pre-settlement inspection" or a "final walk-through."

G

Guarantor:
A loan guarantor, often referred to as a "co-signer," is an individual or entity that agrees to take on the responsibility of repaying a loan if the primary borrower is unable to fulfill their loan obligations.

H

Holding Deposit:
A holding deposit, in the context of a property purchase, is a sum of money provided by a potential buyer to the seller or the seller's agent to secure a property while the necessary steps are taken to complete the sale. This is usually between $2000-$5000 payable upon signing a COS and is fully refundable if finance approval/other conditions are not satisfied.

I

J

K

L

Loan offer:
A loan offer is a formal proposal or agreement extended by a lender to a borrower, outlining the terms, conditions, and details of a specific loan (eg. Interest rate, loan amount)

LVR:
LVR stands for "Loan-to-Value Ratio," and it is a financial metric used to assess the risk associated with a mortgage or home loan. VR = (Loan Amount / Property Value) × 100

M

Mortgage document:
The document or documents setting out the terms of a mortgage by reference to which the mortgage is created.

Mortgage Insurance (also known as Lenders Mortgage Insurance / LMI):
A form of insurance taken out by the lender to cover themselves in the event that the borrower defaults on their loan and the sale of the property is unable to cover the outstanding amount. Mortgage insurance premiums are usually payable by the borrower when the amount borrowed is over 80% of the property value and sometimes at lower loan to valuation ratios.

N

Non-Genuine Savings:
An amount of money that may have been gifted to you and received as a lump sum,

O

Owner Occupied:
A property in which the owner lives.

P

Passed In:
A property is ‘passed in’ at auction if the highest bid fails to meet the reserve price set by the vendor.

PEXA:

PEXA stands for "Property Exchange Australia," and it is an online platform used in Australia for electronic conveyancing and property transaction settlements. PEXA is a secure and efficient digital system that has transformed the traditional paper-based process of buying and selling property into a streamlined and electronic workflow.

Pre-Approval:
A pre-approval for a loan is a preliminary commitment from a lender indicating that a borrower is eligible for a loan of a specified amount, subject to certain condition (valuation etc)

Principal:
The capital sum borrowed on which interest is paid.

Private Sale:

In a private sale, the property is advertised and prospective buyers are invited to make offers to the seller or the seller’s agent, and the sale does not go to auction.

Property report:
A property report is a document or comprehensive set of information that provides details about a specific property. Property reports are commonly used in real estate transactions, whether for buying or selling properties, as they offer valuable insights and data about the property's characteristics, history, and current status. Please contact The Loan Room if you require specific property reports.

Q

R

Redraw Facility:
A loan facility whereby you can make additional repayments on your loan and then access these extras funds when necessary. They will often have limitations such as a minimum redraw amount and a fee for each withdrawal.

S

Sale by Set Date:
A sale by set date, also known as a "sale by fixed date," is a method of selling real estate in which the property is listed for sale with a specific closing date or deadline by which interested buyers must submit their offers.

Settlement:
Property settlement, in the context of real estate, refers to the final stage of a property transaction during which the legal transfer of ownership occurs. It is the process through which the buyer pays the agreed-upon purchase price to the seller, and the seller transfers legal title and possession of the property to the buyer.

Serviceability:
Loan serviceability, in the context of lending and mortgages, refers to the borrower's ability to meet their loan repayment obligations. It is an assessment conducted by lenders to determine whether an individual or entity applying for a loan has the financial capacity to make regular loan payments over the loan term

Shortfall funds:
Shortfall funds, in the context of real estate and property transactions, refer to the additional funds that a buyer or borrower is required to provide to cover the gap between the total amount needed for the property purchase and the amount of financing (such as a mortgage or loan) that has been secured.

Shortfall authority:
This is authority from the borrower to the bank to debit their bank account at settlement for shortfall funds

Surplus funds:
These are the additional/leftover funds from the transaction and will be returned to the borrowers nominated account.

Statement of adjustments:
A statement of adjustments, in the context of a real estate transaction, is a document that outlines the financial adjustments made between the buyer and the seller to ensure that the property's costs and expenses are appropriately apportioned at the time of settlement. It is a critical component of the settlement process and ensures that each party pays its fair share of expenses related to the property, such as property taxes, strata fees, and other ongoing costs. Your conveyancer will provide this to you the week prior to settlement.

Statement of account:
A statement of account is also provided by your conveyancer prior to settlement, which provides a breakdown of the funds and proposed disbursements.

Subject to finance:
An offer is placed subject to receiving a loan approval (generally 7-14 days)

Subject to building and pest:
An offer is placed subject to receiving a satisfactory building and pest inspection by a licensed inspector (generally 7-14 days to complete)

Strata title:
Strata title, often referred to as strata ownership, is a legal property ownership system commonly used in multi-unit or multi-story residential complexes and commercial developments. Under the strata title system, individual ownership of a portion of a larger property or building is recognised. Each individual owner typically owns a "lot" or "unit" within the complex while sharing ownership of common areas and facilities with other owners.

T

Tenants in Common:
Where more than one person owns separate, defined portions of a property. If one person dies, the relevant portion passes through the deceased’s estate rather than to the other property owner/s as with joint tenancy. Each owner can hold a specific share of ownership and has the right to dispose of their interest.

Torrens Title:
Torrens title is the most common form of property title in Australia. The Real Property Act (RPA) is the legislation that governs the operation of Torrens title. Ownership of the property is registered with the Land Titles Office and evidenced by the Certificate of Title, which shows the current owner’s name and any other interests in the property e.g. mortgages.

U

Unconditional Sale:
An unconditional sale refers to a property sale where the buyer has waived or satisfied all of the conditions. The sale is finalised, and the buyer has committed to purchasing the property without any remaining conditions that need to be met.

V

Valuation Report:
A property valuation report is a formal document prepared by a qualified valuer or appraiser that provides a professional assessment of the value of a specific real estate property.

W

X

Y

Z

Zoning:
Property zoning refers to the classification and regulation of land and real estate within a specific area or jurisdiction, typically by a local government or municipal authority.

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