Hero Image

Buying FAQ

Property Buyers Guide

Information for People Buying a Property

Whether you're a first home buyer or seasoned investor with an extensive property portfolio, owning property is still one of the biggest goals, and one of the most daunting experiences a person will encounter in their domestic lives. Your property journey can take many turns, so Harcourts Solutions would like to set you on the right path by answering some of the most commonly asked questions from buyers in the real estate industry.

Can I Afford The House I Want?

Whilst real estate agents don't provide professional financial advice, it is one of the most frequently asked questions. Buyers should seek independent financial advice to ascertain what their spending limits are. Organising your finances, obtaining pre-approved finance, and knowing the process to follow with your financial institution before you start searching for property can make it a whole lot easier for you.


Compare mortgages including the terms, clauses, fees, interest rate, additional features, flexibility and suitability to your circumstances. Financial Services

What Are The Costs Involved In Purchasing A Property?

  • Loan application or establishment fees (determined by your lender).
  • Up to 10% of the agreed contract price will be required for a deposit when you make your offer.
  • The price set by your building and pest inspector for creating a report on the property you're purchasing.
  • Government Taxes - Mortgage Stamp Duty and Stamp Duty on the transfer of the property.
  • Solicitor's fees for conveyancing/legal representation on transferring the property.
  • Bridging Finance if waiting on the sale of your current property (meaning you will own two properties at once, with the intention of selling one to pay for the other).
  • Title transfer and registration fees.
  • Insurances - house and contents is the most common form of comprehensive insurance for buyers.
  • Mortgage repayments.
  • Utilities and Council Rates.
  • Body Corporate fees for units, townhouses and apartments.

It is important to research whether you are entitled to any Government rebates or incentives. These do change periodically, so visit http://www.qld.gov.au/housing/ to find the most up to date information from the QLD Government.

How Do I Decide What Property To Buy?

If you're spoilt for choice, it's a good idea to start refining your search criteria to really find that dream home. You can do this by asking yourself:

  • Which suburbs am I interested in? Research those suburbs and ask for people's opinions.
  • What sort of property do I want to live in? Consider how many people will be living in the home, the effort you want to put in to maintaining the property and what will suit your needs. Options can include single level houses, multi-level houses, townhouses, duplexes, apartments and units.
  • How many people do I have to accommodate, and for how long? You may have a young family, or teenagers that require lots of space or are nearly ready to move out of home. Think about the long term requirements for accommodating you and your family.
  • Will I require any additional storage space? This can almost certainly narrow your search to only those properties with suitable or potential storage capacity.
  • Do I need car accommodation? This can also impact heavily on the results your property search yields.
  • How much am I prepared to maintain in and around the home? The land area, age and size of the home will determine the amount of ongoing maintenance you will likely be required to carry out.
  • What amenities do I need to be close to? Schools, public transport, childcare, work, shopping, recreational facilities are all considerations that can affect whether a property is suitable.
  • Are there any special requirements or fancy extras that I'd like to have? These may include wheelchair access, swimming pool, off a main road, study/home office, views etc.
  • Am I prepared to renovate or refurbish a property to buy in a lower price range? This will likely be determined by your budget, and the answers to the above questions.

Where Do I Find Suitable Properties for Sale?

  • Online (Harcourts Solutions Website or your preferred search portal).
  • Local Real Estate agency window displays.
  • Local property publications including magazines, community newspapers, mainstream newspapers.
  • Viewing signboards outside of properties whilst driving through desirable streets of the suburbs you're interested in.
  • Contacting local Real Estate agencies to register your details and requirements. You may be able to find out about suitable properties before they are advertised to the wider public.

Where to start

Start your property search on http://brisbanecity.harcourts.com.au and talk to one of our friendly property consultants about your property needs.

How Do I Make An Offer On A Property?

Firstly you need to let the selling agent know that you'd like to put an offer in - the sooner you do this the better, as you don't want to miss out because you waited too long. Your agent will then draw up a contract based on the conditions you advise, and once completed and you're happy with it, the agent will then present it to the seller.

Buyer's Tip

Legal representation ensures you don't miss anything and that your purchase is 100% legally binding. The best way to ensure you've got all of your bases covered is to employ the services of a conveyancer, who is a professional in the field of property transactions.
You should also organise to have a building and pest inspection conducted ASAP.

What Am I Looking For At A Property Inspection Or On My Building & Pest Report?

Not only do you need to visualise your own possessions fitting nicely into your desired new home, you also need to check out things that may cause or result in large, costly issues down the track. Your property inspection should detail the condition of the structure, external finishes, safety and see if there are signs of infestation of any pests.

Pay particular attention to:

  • The quality of work in building the home.
  • Fire safety.
  • Signs of rising damp, waterproofing, gutters, leaks and any other plumbing issues.
  • The structural integrity and condition of the internal and external floors, walls, ceilings, joists, doors, windows, cladding and roof.
  • The quality of plumbing, electrical, water, sewer and drainage in and around the home.
  • Signs of pests including termites, borers, cockroaches, fire ants, mice etc.
  • Signs of decay and fungal damage.

Does My Offer Have To Be Presented To The Seller If It's Too Low?

Real Estate agents are legally obliged to communicate any and all offers to the seller of a property, whether they believe it will be accepted or not.

Can Anyone Else Make An Offer On The Property I've Made An Offer On?

Yes. The property will continue to be marketed and other offers presented to the seller until the seller accepts one of the offers presented to them. If you find that the seller is taking too long to decide, you may include a cut off date for when your offer will be withdrawn.

What Are Some Of The Common Conditions Found On A Contract Of Sale?

  • Finance approval
  • Building & Pest Inspection
  • The sale of your current property
  • Included or excluded chattels, fittings and fixtures

When Do I Sign A Contract?

Chances are that you'll put your offer in writing on a contract when it is presented to the seller. Although you've signed a contract, it is not binding until the seller agrees to the terms and counter-signs the document. Once negotiations are complete you may be asked to re-sign a contract with just the final agreed conditions and price stated on the document.

What Is The Cooling-Off Period?

This is the time in which you can change your mind about purchasing the property. Currently in Queensland, you are afforded 5 business days to rescind your offer once you've signed the contract. If you choose to pull out of a contract you may be liable to pay or forfeit 0.25 percent of the purchase price (taken from the deposit paid).

Loan Approval

Confirming your loan approval during the cooling off period is imperative if you have any hesitations with following through with the purchase.

What Is The Settlement? And What Happens At This Time?

The Settlement of a property is the duration of the contract. Generally, the settlement of a property is set at 30, 60 or 90 days depending on the conditions of the contract and the confidence of the buyers.

On Settlement Day, the money will be exchanged between financial institutions, the conveyancer will instruct on the changes to be made to the title of the property, and the buyer will be entitled to the keys and occupancy of the property.

You will receive a signed transfer of the title deed, and the Registrar General will register the transfer and any applicable mortgage attached to the property. These documents are held by the lender until the property is fully paid off and you own the property outright.

What Is The Most Common Mistake Made By Buyers?

Sometimes a buyer will commit to purchasing a property before they have sold their current property. If this occurs, there are financial pressures and time constraints that may cause the buyer to sell their property below market rate which is never a desirable outcome.

Have a Question?