Purchasing Your First Home

Purchasing your first home is exciting, but complex. Maatouks Home Loans can make it easier by helping you through the steps, and by assisting you with programs like the First Home Owners’ Grant Scheme.We also have the tools to answer that all-important question:

How much can I borrow?

Here are some Maatouks loans that may suit when buying your first home. Click on the loan name to see all the details.

What can you do next?
First Home Owners’ Grant Scheme
Deciding on the property that’s right for you
What happens after your loan is approved
Tips on house and land packages
Close that deal! Contracts, conveyancing & more
Steps to your first home

First Home Owners Grant Scheme

The First Home Owners’ Scheme is a Federal government initiative to encourage first home buyers to take that step from home renting to home buying. Following are some answers to key questions regarding the scheme for each state.

New South Wales

There are two government grants being offered to first homebuyers in NSW. The First Home Owners Grant Scheme (FHOGS) and First Home Plus (FHP), a New South Wales government initiative. Both offers are available to first homebuyers.

Who is eligible?

First Home Owners Grant Scheme (FHOGS)

  • All applicants must be individuals who are Australian citizens or permanent residents, buying or building their first home in Australia. In the case of joint applicants, all applicants must be eligible but only one needs to qualify as an Australian citizen or permanent resident.

  • A company or trust does not qualify.

  • An applicant or applicant’s spouse must not have received an earlier grant or previously owned a home before 1st July 2000.

  • Joint applicants will be restricted to one application on a single property and only one payment will be made.

  • At least 1 applicant must occupy the home as a place of residence, and you must occupy the property within 12 months of settlement or construction.

  • A contract to purchase or build a home must be entered into on/after 1st July 2000. In the case of owner builder, you commenced laying foundations on/after 1st July 2000.

First Home Plus (FHP)

  • There is no income or assets test to qualify

  • Exemptions and discounts apply to first home and land contracts signed on or after 1 April 2004

  • At least one of the purchasers must not have ever owned and occupied residential property in any State or Territory within Australia.

  • Companies, partnerships, trustees, a business premises, holiday house or renovations to an existing building do not qualify.

What can I receive?

With the FHOGS initiative, a once only payment of $7000 will be made to you. With the FHP initiative, homes valued up to $500,000 are duty-free for first home buyers. Discounts are available on stamp duty between $500,000 and $600,000. First home buyers purchasing a vacant block of residential land will pay no stamp duty on land valued up to $300,000. Discounts are available on stamp duty between $300,000 and $500,000.

How do I apply?

FHOGS You can apply in person at any Office of State Revenue (OSR) or through any participating agent. You can also print an application form from www.osr.nsw.gov.au

First Home Plus (FHP) You will need to complete a First Home Plus application available from the Office of State Revenue, your solicitor or conveyancer.

Are either schemes means tested?


What types of homes are eligible?

  • Established dwellings, including houses and units.

  • Newly built dwellings

When will the grant be paid?

  • If lodged through an authorised financial institution, payment will be available for settlement. Your financial institution will arrange payment with you.

  • If lodged via OSR, it will be paid two working days after evidence is received confirming that settlement has taken place or for newly built homes when a “Certificate of Occupancy” is supplied./li>

Where can I find more information?

Should you have any further questions about either scheme, you should contact the Office of State Revenue.

  • Internet: www.osr.nsw.gov.au

  • Phone: First Home Owners Grant Scheme 02 9685 2187 (Sydney) or 1300 130 624 (Other)

  • First Home Plus 02 9685 2122 (Sydney) or 1800 629 550 (Other)


Who is eligible?

You are eligible if:

  • You are buying or building your first home as an individual, not as a company or trust.

  • You, or a joint applicant, are an Australian citizen or a permanent resident.

  • You or your spouse has not previously owned an interest in land in Australia that had a residence on it prior to 1 July 2000. This includes investment homes.

  • If you are married or have been living in a de facto relationship for more than two years, neither you nor your spouse can have owned a home, individually or with any other person.

What types of homes are eligible?

It does not matter if you are building or buying a new or established home. The home can be a house, unit, flat or any other type of self-contained, fixed dwelling that meets local planning standards. The transaction is eligible if:

  • the contract to buy a home in Queensland is made on or after 1 July 2000

  • the owner of land in Queensland makes a comprehensive building contract on or after 1 July 2000 to have a home built

  • an owner builder starts building a home in Queensland on or after 1 July 2000.

Only one application will be accepted for each property, regardless of the number of applicants, and only one First Home Owner Grant will be payable.

How and when will the grant be paid?

Participating Financial Institutions

For the purchase of an existing dwelling, payment will be made at settlement. For a contract to build, payment may be made provided the total monies paid to the builders for building of the home is not less than $7000. This means the grant may be paid on the first progress payment to builder provided that amount is not less than $7000

For an Owner Builder the grant will be transferred into the account of the approved agent upon completion on your behalf.

Office of State Revenue

For the purchase of an existing dwelling, payment will be made after settlement. Upon production to Office of State Revenue of all supporting documentation.

For a contract to build or an owner builder, payment will be made following production of evidence to the Office of State Revenue that final inspection has occurred and the house is deemed to be a habitable dwelling. The grant will be electronically transferred into the account nominated on the application form.

When do I have to take up occupancy and for how long?

For applicant(s) purchasing an existing home, occupation of the home must be within 12 months of taking possession of the home. For applicant(s) having a home built, occupation of the home must be within 12 months of the home passing final council inspection and it has been deemed habitable as a home. The onus is on the applicant(s) to prove that they have lived in the property as their principal place of residence on a substantial basis if requested by the Office of State Revenue.

If I qualify for the grant, can I use it for my deposit?

There are no restrictions or guidelines set by the legislation that restrict how you must spend the $7000 grant. Once the $7000 is deposited into your account, it is yours to do as you best see fit. However, if you would like to use the $7000 grant as part of your deposit, you should note that the payment is made either on the settlement date or after. The vendor of the home or your Financial Institution may require the deposit to be made up front.

Where can I find more information?

Should you have any further questions about either scheme, you should contact the Office of State Revenue.


There are two government grants being offered to first homebuyers in Victoria. The FHOG scheme and a one-off grant from the Victorian State Government.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible to receive the grant, applicants must meet certain eligibility criteria. An applicant or spouse must

  • be an individual person (not a company)

  • be an Australian citizen or have permanent resident status

  • not have owned a home before

  • occupy the home as their principal place of residence within 12 months

  • not have received the FHOG before

  • not have entered into a contract to purchase or build a home before 1 July 2000, or not commenced construction as an owner builder prior to that date.

What types of homes are eligible?

The home must be a fixed dwelling that meets local planning standards. This includes new or existing dwellings such as a:

  • house

  • flat

  • unit

  • townhouse or apartment located anywhere in Victoria

  • Houseboats or mobile homes are not eligible

  • The dwelling must be used as your principal place of residence within 12 months of the date of settlement in the case of an existing home, or for a new home, 12 months from the date the building is ready for occupancy.

What can I receive?

With the FHOGS initiative, a once only payment of $7000 will be made to you. With the Victorian Government initiative, a one-off grant of $5,000 will be made to new homebuyers purchasing homes up to $500,000. This will run through to 30 June 2005.

How do you apply?

Application forms are available from the SRO and Approved Agents. Application forms and the required supporting documentation can be lodged at the SRO or with an Approved Agent when the applicant is borrowing funds from the Approved Agent.

How and when will the grant be paid?

If you are applying through an approved agent, the SRO will deposit $7,000 into the account of the approved agent on your behalf. This will ensure that you receive the funds for an existing home: at settlement; for a comprehensive building contract, at first construction advance if that amount is not less than $7,000; for an owner-builder, on completion of the home. If you are applying through the SRO, payment of the $7,000 grant will be deposited directly into your nominated account or by cheque. This will ensure that you receive the funds: for an existing home, after settlement; for both a comprehensive building contract and an owner builder, after completion of the home.

When applying at the SRO, you may request that the $7,000 grant be used to offset the stamp duty charges on the transfer or mortgaged documents. Applications submitted at the SRO may take several days to process.

Where can I find more information?

Phone: 13 21 61

Internet: www.sro.vic.gov.au


Deciding on the property that’s right for you

This could be the biggest financial decision of your life so it makes sense to consider what you will need before you go into it. Here are some tips to help:

Choosing your area

  • How close are the amenities you need to the home you are going to buy? Check for schools, shopping centres, childcare, parks and public spaces, public transport and hospitals.

  • Does the area suffer from airport noise or is your street a busy commuter shortcut?

  • Ask the council about any planned developments that could affect you.

Choosing your home

  • How many bedrooms do you need now and in five years’ time?

  • Bathrooms and toilets?

  • What size block of land do you need?

  • Do you need off-street parking and if so, for how many cars?

  • Are you prepared to renovate?

  • Do you have enough furniture to fill those interior spaces and if not have you included the cost in your overall budget?

Understand the value of the property

  • You should check with local real estate agents and read newspapers and real estate websites to get an idea of what sort of home you can afford to buy or what the home you are interested in buying is worth.

Building and maintenance

  • Make sure any additional building work has been approved by council. You don’t want to be stuck with the costs of any mandatory demolition.

  • Plumbing can be very expensive to fix so carefully check any upstairs bathrooms and ceilings for water leaks. If in doubt, make sure the property inspector is aware of your concerns.

Buying a unit or townhouse

  • Make sure you understand and can afford the cost of quarterly levies, and any additional levies that will apply once you purchase.

  • You can ask for a search of the body corporate records to confirm this and other planned spending


  • It may be worth talking to your potential neighbours for common problems such as noise and theft.

Take the time to work out what you really need before you start looking.


What happens after your loan is approved?

After you have in principle, approval to your loan, the search for your new property can really begin. Here is what you know should do:

Decide on a property that’s right for you

  • Set your budget after allowing for all purchase costs and stamp duties. Be strong and stick to your budget when considering properties.

  • Choose an area you want to live in.

  • Check newspapers, real estate websites and brief local real estate agents on what you are looking for.

Appoint your solicitor or legal representative

  • Ask the real estate agent for a contract of sale/vendor’s statement, and then take this to your solicitor or legal representative so they can check everything is in order. This should contain:

    • A copy of the title, showing boundary measurements of the land, location from the nearest street and any easements or covenants registered on the title.

    • Planning information, defining what the land can be used/developed for (e.g. residential or commercial purposes)

    • Details of any existing mortgage on the property, in case you agree to take that mortgage over.

    • Outgoings, e.g. Council rates, water rates, body corporate contributions.

    • Building restrictions

    • Building permits for any building or renovation work carried out in the past seven years. This work will be covered under the Housing Guarantee Fund. Beware of structural alterations made to a house without a building approval.

    • Any other agreements, which the vendor has entered into with others in relation to the property (e.g. regarding fencing or building over easements).

  • It is imperative that you know the exact condition of your future home, so you avoid costly surprises after you take possession.

    Take the time to check things like:

    • walls and ceilings for cracks

    • water pressure, by turning on several taps at the same time

    • fences and gates for stability

    • the condition of the eaves and guttering

  • Arrange a building and pest inspection so you can budget for any maintenance work that could be required.

Let your Maatouks lending manager know

  • Tell us the property address and details so we can arrange a valuation and confirm formal approval to you.

  • Then make an offer to buy. Remember not to exceed your budget.

Buy the property

  • Once you  have agreed on a price your solicitor or legal representative will co-ordinate the exchange of contracts.

  • Maatouks will arrange for your mortgage documents to be prepared and sent to you.

  • You will need to arrange building insurance (this isn’t required if you are purchasing a strata unit).

  • When you have signed the mortgage documents, Maatouks’s representative and your solicitor will attend the settlement.

Take possession and move in

  • Congratulations! Relax and enjoy your new home.

Note: The information on this web site is a guide only and is not legal, financial or real estate advice and is not suitable to be relied on by you as such advice. You should obtain professional legal, financial and real estate advice before applying for any loan or purchasing any property.


Tips on house and land packages

House and land packages can be an easy way to purchase a new home. To help you purchase a house and land package, here are some tips: (please read note*)

  1. Research the location and developer

    Most house and land packages are offered in areas of new development so, your choice of location is likely to be limited.

    When  comparing options, try to find the location that best suits your lifestyle. Consider these factors:

    Travel time – distance to work, family/friends shopping facilities, medical facilities, access to public transport.

    Educational facilities – childcare, pre-school, primary school, secondary school, university.

    Recreational facilities – parks, sporting facilities, beaches, libraries, entertainment.

    Environment  – appealing streetscape, low noise area (away from traffic, plane paths and industry), clean air.

    You also need to do your research when it comes to the developer. Find out  how long the developers have been in business and how many house and land packages they have sold. Ask for referrals from at least three of their previous customers.

  2. Select a display home

    When looking to buy a display home, spend time researching the various packages available. Almost all developers will have display homes you can walk through. Visit homes of various builders and look over several plans. You should compare not only designs and costs, but also the quality of the finished houses.

    In some instances you may be able to vary the design to suit your tastes. Check with the developer. Should variations be possible, find out exactly how these changes will affect the total cost.

    When you find the display home you would like to have built, read the contract thoroughly. Check all the details concerning materials and services included with the purchase. Do not rely on the salesperson’s word that particular services or materials will be included, make sure they are detailed in the contract.

  3. Decide upon the type of package you will purchase

    Developers usually offer two different packages. The first involves you purchasing the land from the developer before they build the house. The second option sees the developers build the house on their own land, which you purchase once construction is completed.

    Buying the land from the developer prior to construction will mean that you pay a deposit on the land (usually 10% of the purchase price).

    The balance of the land’s value is to be paid upon settlement, after which the builder will commence construction.

    Under this type of package you will need two different loans – a land loan and a building loan. The advantage to this arrangement is that stamp duty is not payable on the cost of building the house (only on the value of the undeveloped land).

    During the course of constructing your home you will be required to make progress payments. These payments will be made at various stages of the construction, e.g. when the framework is erected, after brickwork and tiling is completed and at lock-up stage.

    If, however, you choose to have the developer build on their own land, you will usually be required to pay a deposit of 5% before building begins. There are no progress payments; with the balance being due once construction is complete.

    This approach allows you to defer payments until the house has been built, an especially attractive option if you need to continue paying rent until this time.

    However, this package will be more expensive overall, as you must pay stamp duty on both the house and the land. Also, the developer is likely to increase the total purchase price to compensate for the interest costs incurred by purchasing the land and building materials.

  4. Understand the building process

    Should you decide to buy a house and land package, the following offers a guide to the building process:

    • Select the floor plan of the home your wish to have built or have a plan designed to suit your individual lifestyle.

    • The developer should now ensure this plan is suitable for the land you have chosen.

    • Once the design and features are decided on, a Contour Survey of your land will need to be carried out to ascertain accurately the extent of cut/fill requirements, connection points for power supply, storm water discharge and site clearing etc. An Engineer will be commissioned to carry out sub-surface investigations to determine the correct slab/footing system required for the site.

    • Once all the reports, investigations are finalised, you should obtain copies of these documents, along with a copy of your plans and the specifications. Review these carefully and consider having an independent architect review them as well.

    • When you are satisfied with the plans and specifications, you will then be asked to sign a Building Contract.

    • Building approvals can range from 2 to 8 weeks, depending on the shire. Once the approved plans are received, finance is arranged and construction insurances put in place, construction can begin. You should be kept informed during the construction by speaking with either the Construction Manager or Building Supervisor on a regular basis. If you are to pay periodic fees, these will coincide with particular stages of the construction.

    • Nearing completion, you should be advised the date of settlement to enable you to organise your finance. You are also entitled to walk through your new home prior to settlement to ensure the finish and workmanship is of the standard you expect.

    • Some developers will contact you after settlement to check that all is in order. They may even attend to maintenance items.

*Note: The information on this web site is a guide only and is not legal, financial or real estate advice and is not suitable to be relied on by you as such advice. You should obtain professional legal, financial and real estate advice before applying for any loan or purchasing any property.


Close that deal! Contracts, conveyancing & more

After you have negotiated an acceptable price there are still a few more things you will need to take care of: (please read note*)

1. Exchange Contracts

Before exchanging contracts it is always a good idea to contact your lender to ensure that your loan approval is still current. Always ensure that you have a loan approval in writing before you sign a contract.

If buying privately (i.e. not at auction), your lawyer/conveyancer will check the details of the contract of sale prepared by the vendor’s representative. The contract should detail the:

  1. Price

  2. Settlement date (the day on which you agree to pay the full purchase price and take possession of the property)

  3. Chattels (movable possessions which may be included in the sale)

  4. Special conditions (e.g. satisfactory property inspection or perhaps on-going work on the property you want the vendor to complete prior to settlement)

Your legal advisor is responsible for checking the details of the contract, ensuring it contains nothing detrimental to the purchase or intended use of the property, e.g. zoning conditions or title restrictions.

The contract is signed once all inspections are satisfactorily completed and the finance is approved in writing. Each party signs their own copy of the contract of sale, which has been prepared in duplicate. The vendor keeps the copy you have signed and you retain the copy they have signed.  This process is referred to as the ‘exchange of contracts’.

Once all parties have signed a contract, it cannot be altered or changed. However, there may be unforeseen changes of circumstance, which affect either party to a contract, between signing, and settlement, that may require a change to be made to the contract. Provided all parties agree changes can be made.

2.  Take note of the Cooling-off Period

The ‘cooling-off period’ refers to a period of time during which the buyer may cancel the contract. The cooling-off period is not available for properties purchased at auction. This period commences immediately after the exchange of contracts and lasts for a defined amount of time that varies between states, so check with your legal adviser.

In Western Australia there is no cooling-off period.

The cooling-off period has been put in place to allow buyers to make an offer and quickly sign a contract before seeking legal advice, undertaking a property inspection and receiving financial approval. This period ensures you are not ‘gazumped’ – which would involve another offer being received and accepted by the vendor following verbal agreement to sell to you.

3. Continue the Conveyancing

Even after you and the vendor have exchanged contracts, the Conveyancing process continues. Your legal advisor will now take the time to make more thorough inquiries to the relevant authorities, e.g. local council, the water authority, etc.

In all states, paper work for the Transfer of Land, Notice of Sale and Requisitions must also be prepared. Your representative is responsible also for ensuring all rates and taxes are paid when the property is transferred to you.

Other expenses include paying for rate, planning and other certificates from local government, as well as title searches and registration fees both on the transfer of land and on your mortgage at State government level.

Once the final contract is completed it is sent to the vendor to be signed. This document should be returned to you at settlement (when you take possession of the property). Close to the settlement, you should receive a settlement statement, detailing the final amount owing, including adjustments for taxes and rates

4. Finalise your loan

If you have already arranged provisional finance, you will now need to contact your lender and tell them that you have made an offer on a home. The lender will then arrange for a valuation of the property, and if it meets their requirements, will process your loan and arrange for the necessary money to be available by settlement.

If you have not yet investigated your home loan options, now is the time. Choosing the right home loan can be a daunting task, especially when you are time restrained.

5.  Settle

The settlement date is the day on which you finalise payment and assume possession of the property. In legal terms, settlement is the completion of the property transaction.

Your legal representative should arrange the settlement date, time and location and will inform the mortgagee (lender of funds).Generally, settlement takes place some four to six weeks following the exchange of contracts.

On settlement day the balance of the purchase price is paid and the title deeds (legal documents stating property ownership) are handed over. If you purchase the property without financial assistance, the transfer of title to the property will be given to you or your legal representative. Otherwise the lender will receive the transfer document and title deed. Finally, the keys are handed over.

6. Organise insurance

Immediately following settlement ensure you take out a cover note insuring both the property and any movable possessions included in the sale (e.g.  the oven). It may well be worth taking out this cover note even earlier, i.e. as soon as you sign your first contract. This will ensure that the property is fully covered should the vendor’s insurance be either inadequate or unpaid.

Financial institutions lending you money will require the property be insured. Most insurance policies will provide for either replacement or market  value. A replacement policy will give you ‘new for old’, whilst indemnity insurance will give you ‘old for old’.

*Note: The information on this web site is a guide only and is not legal, financial or real estate advice and is not suitable to be relied on by you as such advice. You should obtain professional legal, financial and real estate advice before applying for any loan or purchasing any property.


Steps to your first home


  • Work out what you really need in a home – make a list.

  • Work out how much you can borrow.

  • Look at prices and features of homes in selected areas Review and update your requirements


  • Apply  and receive approval for your loan.

  • Calculate the costs of a purchase.

  • Select a solicitor or conveyancer.

  • Choose a suburb/area.


  • Search for properties online

  • Contact real estate agents in the area

  • Attend open homes

  • Make a shortlist

  • Select your home


  • Contact Maatouks to confirm your finance is in place before you make an offer

  • A valuation of the property will be required

  • Order a building and/or pest inspection

  • Make an offer or a bid

  • Maatouks will arrange a property valuation and formal approval of the loan

  • If accepted, pay your deposit.


  • Exchange contracts

  • Your solicitor or conveyancer will perform a final search on the property and its title

  • Settlement will occur on a date agreed by you, the seller and the lender

  • Obtain keys and take possession

  • Make sure your loan repayments are organised

  • Relax and enjoy your new property!

*Note: The information on this web site is a guide only and is not legal, financial or real estate advice and is not suitable to be relied on by you as such advice. You should obtain professional legal, financial and real estate advice before applying for any loan or purchasing any property.