When it comes to buying a home, there is a lot of focus on how much deposit you need, the price of the property and how much your monthly repayments will be.
However, there are many other costs associated with buying a home. They can put a strain on your finances if you aren’t aware of them, so we've compiled a list to help you prepare. Use our quick calculator to add up these costs.
Pest and building inspections
Building and pest inspections are not compulsory, but they are recommended to confirm if the property has any structural defects or is harbouring termites or other pests. The buyer pays for these inspections if they want them to be carried out. The cost is usually in the $250-500 range depending on the size of the property and scope of inspection required.
Loan establishment fee
If you are borrowing money to pay for the purchase, some financial institutions require an establishment fee to cover the set up costs of your loan. The amount of this one-off payment is determined by your financial institution. Speak with your broker or lender to find out if this fee will apply to your loan.
Lenders mortgage insurance
If your deposit is less than 20 per cent of the property value, your lender will require you to pay a one-off mortgage insurance fee. This covers the lender if you have difficulty repaying the loan. It does not protect you. You may be able to add this to the amount you borrow.
If you take out a mortgage, it is a requirement the deed be registered with the Western Australian government. This registration requires a one-off processing fee.
Ongoing mortgage account fees
Depending on which financial institution your mortgage is with, you may be required to pay a monthly or annual account fee. Speak with your lender or broker to find out what ongoing fees apply to your loan.
Transfer Duty, also known as 'Stamp Duty', is a State Government tax based on the purchase price of the property. On a $500,000 home you can expect to pay about $18,000.
First home buyers are exempt from paying transfer duty on homes valued up to $430,000; a reduced rate applies to homes valued between $430,000 and $530,000. They also receive exemptions for land purchases up to a certain value.
To see how much you might have to pay use our stamp duty calculator.
If you engage a conveyancer or settlement agent, you will need to pay a fee for their services, which will vary depending on your circumstances.
Conveyancers/settlement agents set their own fees and are required to provide you with their fee in writing before you enter into an agreement. They must not charge above this amount unless there is a significant change in the scope of work.
You can find out more about settlement agents and fees here: Conveyancing Fees - AICWA
Before moving into your new home, you will need to pay for utilities and services to be connected. These connections are a one-off payment and include things like water, gas, electricity and internet.
Council rates are an annual fee determined by your property’s location and its overall value. You will be required to pay a portion of the current year’s rates based on settlement date and will pay the full rates when they fall due for each year from then on.
Strata fees (grouped homes)
If your property is part of a shared development, eg. units, apartments and townhouses, you may have to pay strata fees to cover the cost of maintenance to common areas. These fees are usually billed quarterly and depend on the type and quality of property and shared facilities you have.
While building insurance is generally an optional cost, some lenders may require it for a loan approval.
For homes that exist on their own block, the responsibility of building insurance lies with the owner. The amount you pay depends on the type of home you have and how extensive you wish your cover to be. For homes in shared developments, building insurance may be covered by strata fees so it’s best to check with the strata manager to avoid duplicating.
You may also want to take out contents insurance to protect your possessions.
Your REIWA agent will be able to talk you through these costs. To find a REIWA real estate professional in your area, visit reiwa.com AgentFinder. Look for the Accreditation symbol to find an experienced agent with the highest level of professional training and qualifications, beyond the mandatory government courses.
You may also need to factor in other costs such as hiring removalists or renovating and redecorating.
If you are buying your first home you may need to budget for new furniture, white goods and even items like crockery and cutlery which can quickly add up. Our budget planner calculator can help prepare you for this huge step in life.