Buying Your First Home

Buying Your First Home

Competitive Property Market

Buying your first home is an exciting milestone, but it can also be a daunting process especially in Melbourne's competitive real estate market. As a first time buyer, you'll need to navigate rising prices, fierce competition, and complex processes. But with the right knowledge and preparation, you can successfully purchase your dream home in Melbourne. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the key steps and considerations for first-time buyers looking to enter the Melbourne property market.

Understanding Melbourne's Property Market

Before diving into your property search, it's important to understand the current state of Melbourne's real estate market:

  • Melbourne house prices have risen significantly in recent years, with the median house price now over $1 million.
  • The market is highly competitive, with properties often receiving multiple offers.
  • Certain suburbs and property types are in especially high demand.
  • Interest rates are on the rise after historic lows during the pandemic.
  • Housing supply remains tight, contributing to price growth.

While the market is challenging for first time buyers, there are still opportunities available if you're strategic in your approach. Being informed about market conditions will help you set realistic expectations and make smart decisions.

Determine Your Budget and Borrowing Capacity

The first step is to get a clear picture of your finances and how much you can afford to spend:

  • Review your income, expenses, savings, and debts to determine a realistic budget.
  • Get pre-approval for a home loan to understand your borrowing capacity.
  • Factor in additional costs like stamp duty, conveyancing fees, and moving expenses.
  • Consider using the First Home Owner Grant and other government incentives.
  • Allow for a buffer in case of interest rate rises or unexpected costs.

Be conservative in your budgeting to avoid becoming "house poor." Aim to keep your mortgage repayments below 30% of your income if possible.

Research Suburbs and Property Types

With your budget in mind, start researching areas and property types that fit your needs:

  • Consider factors like proximity to work, transport, schools, and amenities.
  • Look at median prices in different suburbs to find areas within your budget.
  • Decide if you prefer a house, townhouse, or apartment.
  • Research capital growth potential in different areas.
  • Attend open homes to get a feel for different suburbs and property types.

Create a shortlist of suburbs and property types that tick your boxes while staying within budget. Be open to considering up-and-coming areas that may offer better value.

Get Your Paperwork in Order

To move quickly when you find the right property, have all your paperwork ready in advance:

  • Gather proof of income, bank statements, and other financial documents.
  • Have your deposit funds readily accessible.
  • Engage a conveyancer or solicitor to review contracts.
  • Consider getting pre-approval for your home loan.
  • Research and choose your preferred lender.

Being organised will allow you to act fast in Melbourne's competitive market. It also demonstrates to sellers that you're a serious buyer.

Understand the Buying Process

Familiarise yourself with the different ways to buy property in Melbourne:

  • Private treaty: Negotiate directly with the seller or agent.
  • Auction: Bid against other buyers at a public auction.
  • Expression of interest: Submit a confidential offer by a set date.

Each method has its own strategies and considerations. For auctions, attend a few as an observer first to understand the process. For private treaty sales, be prepared to negotiate.

Work with Professionals

Don't try to go it alone - work with experienced professionals who can guide you:

  • Engage a buyer's agent to help find properties and negotiate on your behalf.
  • Use a mortgage broker to compare loan options and secure the best deal.
  • Work with a conveyancer or solicitor to handle the legal aspects.
  • Consider getting advice from a financial planner or accountant.

While there are costs involved, the right professionals can save you money and stress in the long run.

Be Prepared to Act Quickly

In Melbourne's fast-moving market, you need to be ready to act when you find the right property:

  • Have your deposit and finances ready to go.
  • Be prepared to make an offer on the spot at open homes.
  • For auctions, set your maximum bid in advance and stick to it.
  • Consider making a strong initial offer to beat out other buyers.
  • Be willing to compromise on some aspects to secure a property.

While you shouldn't rush into a decision, being decisive can give you an edge over other buyers.

Don't Get Discouraged

It's common for first-time buyers to miss out on several properties before being successful. Try not to get disheartened:

  • Learn from each experience and refine your approach.
  • Be patient and persistent the right property will come along.
  • Consider expanding your search area or property type if needed.
  • Remember that it's better to miss out than overpay or buy the wrong property.
  • Stay positive and keep your long-term goals in mind.

With persistence and the right strategy, you will eventually find success in Melbourne's property market.

Conduct Thorough Due Diligence

Once you've found a property you want to buy, it's crucial to do your due diligence:

  • Get a professional building and pest inspection.
  • Review the Section 32 statement carefully.
  • Research the property's history, including past sales and any issues.
  • Check council zoning and future development plans for the area.
  • Consider factors like natural light, noise levels, and privacy.

Don't let FOMO (fear of missing out) cause you to skip important checks. It's better to lose a property than buy one with major issues.

Negotiate Strategically

Whether buying via private treaty or auction, strategic negotiation is key:

  • Research comparable sales to determine a fair price.
  • Start with a lower offer to leave room for negotiation.
  • Be prepared to walk away if the price exceeds your budget.
  • Consider non-price factors like settlement terms that may appeal to the seller.
  • Stay calm and professional throughout negotiations.

Remember that everything is negotiable don't be afraid to ask for what you want.

Finalise the Purchase

Once your offer is accepted, there are several steps to finalise the purchase:

  • Pay the deposit (usually 10% of the purchase price).
  • Arrange building and contents insurance.
  • Complete all necessary paperwork with your conveyancer.
  • Conduct a final inspection before settlement.
  • Arrange utilities connections for your move-in date.
  • Attend settlement to receive the keys to your new home.

Careful planning and organisation will help ensure a smooth settlement process.


Buying your first home in Melbourne's competitive market is challenging, but certainly achievable with the right approach. By thoroughly researching the market, getting your finances in order, working with professionals, and being prepared to act decisively, you can successfully navigate the process and secure your dream home. Remember that buying a property is a significant legal and financial transaction. For personalised advice and assistance, including a free review of the Section 32 contract, contact the experienced team at Pearson Chambers Conveyancing. 

Our conveyancers can guide you through every step of the purchase process, ensuring your interests are protected.To learn more or book your free contract review, call Pearson Chambers Conveyancing on 03 9969 2405 or email With the right support, you'll be unlocking the door to your first home in no time.