Your First Home Buyer Guide to Victoria
Written by Veronica Morgan.
First-time homebuyers often have a lot of questions and concerns as they navigate the process of purchasing their first home. Below we have answers to the top five questions you probably have, plus links to podcast episodes and case studies about buying your first home in Victoria. And keep scrolling, because we also have specific information on the essential property buying rules in Victoria. In case you didn't know, every state and territory in Australia is very different...
Here are the top five things that first home buyers in Victoria typically want to know:
1. Budget and Affordability:
- How much can I afford to spend on a home?
- What state based first home buyer grants are available?
- What is the required deposit?
- What other costs are involved, such as stamp duty, inspection costs, and homeowner's insurance?

Now, of course the answers to the first question will depend on exactly where in Victoria you are looking to buy and what type of property you're after. Your budget will depend on your deposit, your income and your borrowing capacity, which is why we recommend you speak with a mortgage broker to get advice sooner rather than later.

In Victoria there are grants and concessions for first home buyers and these are subject to certain requirements like income limits and purchase price caps. The Victorian Government has a number of schemes for first home buyers, including a shared equity scheme, stamp duty concessions and a first home buyer grant.

Check out this LINK for the most up to date information. Just be wary of any grant that is contingent on buying a brand new property as these can be risky for first home buyers.

The standard deposit in Victoria is 10%, although you can often request to pay less and some vendors and agents may agree. It's important to understand that the deposit required to secure a property is different to the deposit the bank may require of you. For example, you may be able to sign a contract with a 5% deposit, but if the bank expects you to pay the full 20%, that will be part of the settlement arrangements. Your conveyancer or lawyer can explain all of this to you.

We've covered all the other first home buyer costs in this article and as a general rule of thumb, we recommend setting aside 5% of the purchase price for additional costs.

2. Mortgage Options:
- What types of mortgages are available, and which one is best for me?
- What is the interest rate, and how does it affect monthly payments?
- What is the difference between fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages?

As mentioned above, we highly recommend that you speak with a mortgage broker early in your first home buyer journey, even before you have saved what you think you need to save. You might be surprised to find that you can buy sooner than you thought once you get the right advice around your borrowing strategy.

3. Location and Neighbourhood:
- What neighbourhoods or areas are suitable for my lifestyle and needs?
- Are there good schools, public transportation, and other amenities in the area?
- What is the potential for property value appreciation in the chosen location?

Locations across Victoria vary substantially and you'll find you'll become a local expert while you're house hunting. We've had conversations with students who have purchased their first homes in regional Victoria on the podcast, including this one with buyer's agent Cate Bakos, where we discussed buying in Geelong and Ballarat.

"Where should I buy?" is the number one question we get asked by first home buyers Victoria. There are a number of things to consider when you're working out where to buy and it pays to take the time to explore different areas. The starting point for this exercise is a thorough inventory of what you need, both now and in the future, and a good understanding of the demands of your lifestyle.
4. Home Inspection and Condition:
- What should I look for during a home inspection?
- Are there any red flags or potential issues with the property?
- What is the age and condition of major components like the roof, plumbing, and electrical systems?

You'll find different types of property in different locations will have different types of building issues. For example, in Victoria, ensuring that there's adequate heating is an absolute must. You'll also want to check for insulation, double glazing and whether old windows and doors let in drafts in winter. Termites are an issue everywhere in Australia, but less so in colder climates, whereas rising damp in brick construction is something you really want to avoid.

You should always get a building & pest inspection before you purchase so that you're aware of any deal breakers, as well as both short and long term maintenance requirements.

5. Real Estate Process:
- How does the homebuying process work from start to finish?
- What is the timeline for going unconditional on a home?
- What are the roles of real estate agents, lenders, and other professionals in the process?

You may be surprised to know that the laws governing real estate transactions vary substantially across Australia, which is why we compiled a podcast series on state based rules. We interviewed buyers agents who are local specialists in state and they shared what you need to know before buying your first home in Victoria.

Here's what we covered in the episodes:
Victoria is the only state where bidders don't need to register before bidding at auction.
There is no limit to the number of bids the vendor can make.
It's generally accepted that there is a problem with under-quoting in Victoria, so it's crucial that buyers know how to work out a reasonable price to pay before attending an auction.

Making an offer
You can make conditional offers in Victoria, and you can add more conditions when it's a slow market than you would be able to in a hot market.
The sorts of conditions that are typically used include subject to finance and subject to a satisfactory building & pest inspection.
Under certain circumstances, buyers can get a cooling off period, however being able to make conditional offers can make this unnecessary.
We also cover what you need to do to make sure that your is offer binding so that you can't get gazumped.

Vendor disclosure
There is certain information that a vendor must tell buyers and this is contained in a Section 32 Statement. But it doesn't cover everything that you need to know to buy with confidence.
In this podcast episode we discuss what information is missing and how hard it is to get additional information.

There is a difference between buying a strata property as opposed to a torrens title - or freehold property. We explore whether there are areas in which houses don't always outperform units and cover the biggest risks buyers in Victoria need to be aware of when they are hunting for strata.

Local experience
People from interstate or overseas can easily make mistakes when they try to buy in Victoria. In this episode, each one of our experts shares these common pitfalls plus the one thing they know now that they wish they knew as a first home buyer.

In addition to these key considerations, first-time homebuyers should also be aware of the importance of a good credit score, the need for pre-approval for a mortgage, and the value of researching and comparing multiple properties and mortgage options. It's recommended that first home buyers Victoria learn the complete buying process and ask the right experts to help guide them to make informed decisions.

How ready are you to buy your first home?

Veronica Morgan & Meighan Wells 

Veronica & Meighan are both licensed real estate agents who exclusively help buyers. Together they have nearly 40 years experience as property professionals.

Veronica is principal of Sydney based Good Deeds Property Buyers and is also co-host of The Elephant in the Room property podcast as well as Location Location Location Australia on Foxtel and author of Auction Ready: how to buy property at auction even though you're scared s#!tless!

Meighan is the multi award winning principal of Brisbane based Property Pursuit, chairperson of the REIQ Buyers Agent Chapter & a regular media commentator.

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