Buyer's Guide

A Guide to Buying Your First Home

Buying your first home is exciting, a significant step in life, and there is quite a lot to consider. Thankfully, your Harcourts agent will help you understand every step in the purchasing process, which will allow you to make the best decisions for yourself and your family.

To accompany you through this thrilling adventure, we have put together a shortlist of items to keep in mind when purchasing your first property.


An excellent place to begin is drawing up a budget of what you can realistically afford, factoring in any additional expenses to homeownership (see below under Additional Expenses). Once you determine your budget, the next step is to talk to a mortgage broker about the best home loan on the market for you and the possibility of receiving home loan pre-approval. Pre-approval makes the lending process much easier when it comes time to apply for a home loan formally.

Our consultants can help you secure financing and share a wide range of home loan products and interest rates to help choose the best option suitable for you. Brokers work independently from lenders, so they're able to show you a broad range of home lending options and help you to find the lowest interest rate. Brokers also come at no extra cost to you, as their fees are paid for by the lender, so you're able to get independent financial advice at no additional charge.

Due diligence

It's vital to do your due diligence before buying a home. This process entails inspecting the property in person if possible and ensuring the proper building and pest inspections have occurred. Building and pest inspections incur a cost; however, they will confirm no structural damage or severe damage caused by pests, such as termites. Some contracts enable you to guarantee an inspection is carried out before escrow closes while blocking the seller from accepting any other offers during this time.

Buying at Auction

Knowing your budget and doing your due diligence is essential no matter what the method of sale might be. However, if the home you are interested in is up for auction, you will still need to carry out all building and pest inspections before the auction occurs, even if you are not the successful bidder. This action must happen because sales by auction are not subject to the usual sale contingencies. You can find out more about the auction process in our Guide to Buying at Auction.

Additional Costs

Apart from a home deposit and the ongoing cost of mortgage repayments, there are other fees you should be aware of before buying your first home.

  • Attorney/Escrow Fees (in Canada, conveyancing fees):It is a good idea to have a property lawyer look over the contract of sale and mortgage documents before signing a sale agreement. A lawyer can also assist with escrow (conveyancing in Canada) which means the transferring of titles. Fees vary.
  • Building and pest inspections:As mentioned above, it's worth investing in a one-off building and pest inspection before signing a contract or as part of a contingency, conditions, or subjects of sale to ensure your potential home is structurally sound and pest-free.
  • Home and contents insurance:Remember that home insurance is an essential part of the home-buying process. It needs to take effect as soon as you close on your property, not necessarily the date you move in. Ensure you have looked at your options and have chosen the premium that best suits your needs and budget.

Though there is a lot to consider when buying your first home, it should be an exhilarating experience. At Harcourts, we aim to make the buying process as smooth and straightforward for you as possible. This moment is a big step in life. Congratulations on reaching this milestone!