Loans for your first home

Buying or building your first home is one of the most rewarding journeys life has to offer, and one of the major financial decisions you will have to make.

Getting familiar with some financial terminology can give you a leg up on your journey.

Our team of home loan brokers have an established reputation as leading First Home Buyer specialists, who strive to make a positive impact guiding you on your journey toward sustainable home ownership.

Establishing how to fund the purchase of your first home can be a difficult process to begin, but one that we can simplify with our professional first home loan service. Our brokers will guide you from how much deposit is required, all the way through to settlement and beyond. We can first start talking about your position and how you to get started:

  • Your Property Type
  • Your Budget
  • Your Deposit
  • Your Home Loan Options
  • Your Home Loan Pre-Approval

Your property

Deciding whether to buy an established property or to build your own is a key decision that will determine the size of your deposit, your budget to spend, and what home loan options are available to you. It can also define whether or not you are eligible for any Government assistance, such as the First Homeowners Grant or the First Home Guarantee.

Buying an established property can be the quickest pathway to home ownership but may be a more expensive way to go about buying your first home. Buying an established property may increase the variety of home loan options that are available to you, depending on the size of your deposit and the how much home lending is required.

Typically, there is a higher amount of Stamp Duty payable with established, which is based on the value of land & building combined. Buying an existing home may also reduce some Government assistance available to you to help you along the way. This might be the type of property purchase for you if you have a goal such as buying a character home, a fixer-upper, or just simply buying into the neighbourhood of your dreams.

Building a brand new home

Building a brand-new home can be a cost-effective solution to enter the property market. Property costs are considerably lower, with Stamp Duty payable on land value only. You could also have greater access to Government grants and guarantees which can reduce the minimum amount of deposit required to purchase.

Typically, construction loans are interest only during the build, which means you have reduced repayments whilst the home is completed. You may find that there is less variety of products for construction lending, with lenders having specific products used for building progress payments. Although building your home can be a lengthy and intimidating process, it can also be a wholesome journey to create your very own home from scratch.

Your budget

There are two main considerations when determining how much you can borrow:

What will the lender allow you to borrow?

The amount a lender will actually allow you to borrow may be very different to what you believe you can actually afford.

What you are comfortable with and confident in repaying to the lender each month?

This is the consideration should be ultimately focusing on to ensure you can comfortably repay the loan that will assist you with buying your home

Your deposit

The minimum deposit required might range from three to ten percent of the property price, depending on the lender and the type of loan product. Furthermore, you will require sufficient funds to cover the government duties and fees associated with the purchase. This can add another four to six percent to what you will pay for the home.

Some lenders will require you to provide proof of at least five percent genuine savings via bank statements. Your aim should be to demonstrate that you have saved your deposit over a minimum period of at least three months, and in some cases six months.

Your home
loan options

Choosing the right loan for you should come down to your individual circumstances and what works best for you to manage your finances in the short and long term. We assist you in weighing up the following considerations when deciding what could work best for you.

Variable rate

You should consider a variable interest rate loan when:

  • You want ultimate flexibility with your loan
  • You want to be able to make large principal repayments on your loan
  • You want to benefit from any interest rate reductions, but also have the capacity to absorb interest rate increases

Fixed rate

You should consider a fixed rate loan when:

  • You are on a tight budget and need certainty of the repayment amount each month
  • You are an investor looking to achieve a fixed return on your investment
  • You believe interest rates may rise significantly in the future; however, you should also consider break costs that generally apply


  • If you want to have the best of both worlds then you might consider a split, or combination loan where part of the loan is fixed, and the remainder is on a variable interest rate.

Your home loan

Purchasing your first home is an exciting time and certainly one you’d like to make with confidence. Obtaining your home loan pre-approval will give you both peace of mind and allow you to focus on the exciting part of searching for your first home.

There are a few lenders who provide home loan pre-approval, and whilst it gives you an approximate guide of how much you can afford to borrow, it is still conditional on a lender approving the home you purchase, a satisfactory property valuation, and Lenders Mortgage Insurance approval (if applicable).

Real Estate Agents and vendors may look favourably upon your pre-approval when placing your offer, as it’s a great first step in gaining full home loan finance approval and reflects your commitment to purchasing your potential home.

What does a
pre-approval involve?

  • Establishing your home loan needs and requirements
  • Providing evidence of your income, savings, debt, and expenses
  • Assessment of your borrowing capacity and purchase scenarios
  • Choosing a lender and product suitable for your needs and requirements
  • Lodgement of your application with the lender that you’ve chosen
  • The lender’s assessment of your application and pre-approval decision

Meet our

Your first home loan is a journey. Wouldn't it be nice if you had an expert guide who would give you a hand in making the best decisions and avoiding the pitfalls?

Well that is exactly what Bernie Lewis Home Loans brokers do. In fact we have been doing this for decades. Best part – it doesn’t cost you anything extra. So what are you waiting for?


As I was a first home buyer three years ago, I was very nervous to say the least, applying for a home loan and actually taking responsibility.

With the pressure of the whole process and the thought of owing that amount of money I started looking for home loan agents and contacted a big four bank thinking that’s who you call, they were very rude and had no time for a little first home buyer like myself who had so many questions, it seemed they just didn’t care.

I called Bernie Lewis Home Loans which was just around the corner from my workplace and got an appointment the same day in the afternoon. I left 30 minutes early and attended the appointment and was astounded at how relaxed and informative they were, all of my 20 questions were answered and more. After submitting my documents and finding out how much I could borrow, and the best options (which by the way was around 7-8 different lenders), they made it real easy to understand my circumstances and who to choose.

As I was already looking at houses the next day, I put an offer in straight away and it was accepted the next day. Within 2 weeks Bernie Lewis Home Loans had my application approved and I was now a first home buyer.

I cannot thank Bernie Lewis Home Loans enough, not to mention my Mortgage Broker who made it all possible and so easy that I was amazed that something so complex was so easy to do. It was because of this I also recommended my brother not long after, and he himself has now bought his first home. Since then, I have returned to Bernie Lewis Home Loans for advice, thanks again.

Russel J

Happy First Home owner

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Lending terminology explained

The following is a list of terms and their meanings that you may come across when purchasing a home and arranging a home loan.

This is the person who acts on your behalf for the purchase of the property. They will attend the settlement and ensure that you get clear and unencumbered title or ownership of the property. They may also conduct various searches of the title to ensure that everything is in order as well as collect and disburse all funds in the transaction and provide you with your detailed settlement statement. A solicitor can also perform this function.

Any contract to purchase property, may have conditions imposed on it by either the vendor or purchaser; however a contract for a property purchased at auction usually cannot have any conditions, These could be conditions such as subject to a satisfactory building or pest inspection, or subject to finance. In fact, any condition can be placed on a contract but it must be agreed to by both vendor and purchaser. If a condition is not met by the nominated date or time then either party can cancel the contract, usually without penalty.
The purchase contract will specify a deposit amount that must be paid prior to the end of the cooling off period, or in the case of an auction, on the fall of the hammer. This amount is usually 10% of the agreed purchase price; however it is open to negotiation. The money is held by the selling agent in their trust account until settlement. You should ensure that you are issued with a receipt for the deposit paid.

When you sign a contract to purchase a property, you then have until midnight two clear business days later to cancel the contract without penalty. Any deposit paid will be refunded in full.

A property purchased at auction does not have cooling off rights. Cooling off rights can also be waived by signing the appropriate document prepared by a solicitor. This is generally done for a property going to auction and purchased prior to the auction.

This is a once only premium payable by the borrower at establishment of the loan. Most lenders will insist on LMI cover whenever the loan is greater than 80% of the value of the property. It protects the lender (only) in case of default on the loan. If the lender takes possession of a property after a borrower defaults and there is a shortfall on sale of the property, the insurer will cover that shortfall. The insurer will then seek reimbursement from the borrower.
This is the document that is lodged with the Land Titles Office (LTO) detailing the change of ownership of the property. This is usually prepared by the conveyancer for the purchaser.
Is the legal document that registers the lender’s financial interest in the property, and gives them the legal power to sell the property if the Mortgagor is in default on the loan.

The lender who is providing the loan and therefore holds the mortgage on the property.

The lender will register their financial interest in the property by way of a notation on the title. This is done by the LTO and they will charge a fee for this.
This is you, or the person borrowing the money to fund the property.
This is the process by which the conveyancer acting on your behalf lodges the Memorandum of Transfer with the LTO to transfer ownership of the property. The LTO charges a fee for this based on the contract price of the property.
This is a fee levied by the State Government on all property transactions. It is calculated on the contract price, or fair market value of the property and is payable on settlement.