If you want to know the real cost of buying a home, you’re in the right place. It’s likely you’ve already considered some of the costs associated with buying. These include:

However, you may not realise there’s a number of lesser-known fees associated with buying your first home. These can catch unsuspecting buyers unaware. Therefore, it’s important to understand exactly which fees apply to your property so you can avoid any nasty financial surprises.

Below we look at the real costs involved in buying a first home in Western Australia in 2021.


For this article, our calculations are based on the following:


Even though your deposit is technically not a cost, it’s money you’ll need to have available to secure your home loan. Currently in WA, the deposit required can vary from 5% (sometimes lower) to 20% or above. With a deposit of 20% of the purchase price you’ll be borrowing 80%. If your deposit is less than 20%, you will need Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI), covered in a later section.

Loan-to-Value-Ratio (LVR) The LVR represents the amount you’re borrowing (your mortgage) as a percentage of the value of the property you’re buying (purchase price). Therefore, the larger your deposit, the lower your LVR. In the case of our $500,000 property, a 10% deposit of $50,000 equates to a LVR of 90% and will require LMI. When considering financing, we recommend that you speak with a qualified Mortgage Broker or your bank.

Home Buying Costs

Transfer (Stamp) Duty – $13,433

Transfer or stamp duty is a state government tax placed on legal documents during the transfer of property. Stamp duty is payable by the purchaser. In WA, First Home Buyers may be eligible for exemptions or concessions on stamp duty, as long as the home they purchase is their primary residence. If this is the case for you, you’ll be exempt from paying stamp duty on homes of up to $430,000 in value. Above this level, concessions are available on homes priced between $430,001 and $530,000.

At the First Home Buyers concessional rate, the stamp duty payable on a $500,000 property in WA is $13,433 (The full rate is $17,765.) Follow this link to calculate the stamp duty on your specific property.

Conveyancing – $2,000

Conveyancing fees are the costs associated with the settlement of a property transaction. They are split into two types of charges:

  1. Professional service fees which the conveyancer charges for their work on your behalf.
  2. The disbursements charged by government agencies and third-party institutions.

As a home buyer, you’ll need to pay conveyancing fees to purchase your home. Estimated conveyancing fees on a $500,000 property are: Professional Service Fees – $1200 Disbursements – Government, Statutory and Third Party Charges

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Mortgage Registration Fee – $181

If you’re taking out a mortgage, you’ll be required to pay a fee to Landgate for the registration of the mortgage on the property title. Yes, we think it should be paid by the banks, too, but that’s an argument we’re probably not going to win. The exact amount you’ll be required to pay is $181.30.

Loan Establishment Fee – $500

Loan application or establishment fees are charged by your lender to process your mortgage application and create your mortgage documentation. These fees vary depending on the lender’s guidelines, the loan structure, your credit rating and the perceived risk for the bank or lender. Currently, many of the big banks are waiving this charge on straightforward loans. However, other lenders can charge from $250 to $950, depending on your circumstances.

Property Valuation Fee – $500

The valuation fee is charged by your lender to assess the value of your property. It will vary depending on their charges and how much you borrow. Some lenders may waive the cost of valuation, but others could charge from $200 to $600.

Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI) – $14,000

As mentioned earlier, if you borrow over 80% of the price of your property, you’ll usually be charged Lenders Mortgage Insurance. This insurance can usually be added to your loan but keep in mind you’ll be paying interest on that amount for the life of the loan. The cost of LMI is calculated on the amount of your mortgage. On a $500,000 property with a 90% LVR and a $450,000 loan you’ll be paying around $14,000.

Water and Local Council Rates – $2,450

Water Corp and local government councils levy annual rates and charges to all residential home owners in WA to pay for services and amenities. These need to be paid upfront at settlement, so the pro-rata amount must be available.

Estimate $1300 – $1600 annually but expect to pay $150 – $250 up front.

Each council charges a different amount so estimate $1800 – $2200.

Title Insurance – $600

Title insurance offers you protection on your property’s title. It covers you for financial loss and associated legal expenses if there is an issue or challenge with your property title. This insurance is a one-time premium determined at the time of purchase. It is optional but highly recommended at approx. $600.

Property Inspections – $1,000

During the home purchase process, it is recommended that the property is inspected for structural issues and timber pests. Although not absolutely necessary, these inspections are recommended for ordinary residential homes.

Companies may offer both services at reduced rates.

Insurance – $1,500

Although these costs are ongoing and can be paid on a monthly basis, you still need to account for these expenses up front. To assess your insurance needs always consult with your provider. Many will offer reduced premiums for combined home building and contents policies.

Total Cost Of Buying A Home In 2021 – $36,164

Additional Costs

Strata Levies

Depending upon the type of property you purchase, strata levies, insurance and corporate fees may not apply. Generally, a free standing, green titled lot without shared areas or services and will not attract these fees. However, if you purchase a villa, unit, duplex, townhouse, apartment or home with common areas or services some fees will usually apply. Levies can range from $50 to $1500, or more, per quarter, especially if your complex has a pool, gym, entertaining area or lifts. This is why it is essential to identify these fees before proceeding with your purchase.

A young couple who have just purchased their first home.

Moving Costs

The costs involved in relocating to a new home involve your time, effort and money. For removalists, the general rates range from $165 to $200 per hour for a team of two people and a specialised truck. Depending on the amount of home contents you have to move and the distance between your old and new locations, this can take four to eight hours to complete, or more. According to your circumstances, allow for approx. $1000.


As you can see, each property transaction will have its own set of costs. It is up to you and your qualified advisors to calculate your specific figures. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at Residential Settlements.

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About the Author

Peter Fletcher

Peter began his real estate career in 1985 selling tin shacks and red dirt in Kalgoorlie. Moving to Perth in 1989 he quickly moved into agency ownership. By 2006, Peter had built a thriving agency managing over 600 rental properties. He then sold the business, taking time out of the industry to complete Honours in a Bachelor of Arts. Peter is now the Managing Director of Residential Settlements in Burswood and an active Army reservist. Peter has had just one hot shower since the 10th of May 2008.