Steps in buying a property

  • Private treaty or Auction
  • Meet with Mortgage Broker first
  • Know your price range and limit
  • Research the market
  • Get legal advice before signing
  • Arrange pest/building inspections
  • Study up on auctions
  • Make offers confidently
  • Organise your deposit
  • Allow 6 weeks for settlement

It can be a very exciting and challenging time when buying a property. At Time Finance we understand this and will help you get prepared with your loan requirements so that you can buy with confidence. There are two main ways of buying a property.

Firstly you can purchase a property by Private Treaty. This is where you (the prospective purchaser) negotiate either directly with an owner, or most commonly through a real estate agent to buy a property. The property is advertised for sale, with varying pricing scenarios, which is usually a set price, or can be in a price range, a 'from' price, by tender or 'make an offer'.

The second method is by Auction, which is where a property is placed 'on the market' for sale by an auction process where multiple prospective purchasers can bid on the Auction Day for the property and the best bid results in the purchase of the property.

Buying by Private Treaty

Before you purchase or start looking for a property to buy, you really should understand the property price range in which you can afford to buy. This is basically dependent upon your deposit amount and how much you can borrow (and comfortably be able to repay).

  1. Make an appointment to see one of our Time Finance Loan Consultants to understand what your financing opportunities are and what the total expected costs will be, in particular how much you can borrow and what your repayments will be (you can start by using the various borrowing calculators)
  2. Get the documents ready for which you will need to get a loan-pre-approval or for the loan application process (see checklist)
  3. With confidence in your borrowing and purchase price range, research the market of listings and sales in the area and price range you want to buy
  4. Arrange for your solicitor, conveyancer, or settlement agent to advise you in the legal process, including looking through the contract for sale on any property you wish to purchase before signing the contract.
  5. Arrange for any pest or property inspections you may want conducted on the property, either pre exchange of contracts or as a condition of sale. If buying by auction, these must be conducted before the auction.
  6. Obtain the Contract for Sale from the real estate agent or private seller. When you are ready, make an offer on the property. 
  7. 'Exchange of contracts' occurs when you and the seller have both signed the contract for sale. Once you have exchanged contracts, ring your Time Finance consultant to get the formal loan approval process started.
  8. Subject to the terms of sale contract, a deposit is normally payable. This is usually 10%. If buying by auction, the deposit is normally required at the auction when signing the contract. If buying by private treaty, a 'holding deposit' (approximately 1%) is required to be paid showing 'good faith' until the full deposit is payable when you exchange contracts. Note that a holding deposit does not mean that the property will be held exclusively for you until exchange of contracts.
  9. After you exchange contracts in a private treaty sale, a legal cooling-off period may apply. During this time (varies from state to state) you may be able to withdraw from the contract to buy the property. There is no cooling off period if you buy at auction. Make sure you understand your obligations by obtaining advice from your legal advisor, as you may lose your deposit if you change your mind during the cooling off period.
  10. The settlement of the property is usually arranged for around 6 weeks after the exchange of contracts. This date varies between sellers and is disclosed in the contract for sale. This is when the balance of the property's purchase price is paid and you take ownership. Discuss this process with your appointed legal representative who will handle these details of settlement. You don't usually need to attend this settlement process.
  11. Once settlement has occurred, the seller (or their agent) will hand you the keys to your property!

* This list does not contain all eventualities and possible outcomes relevant to any purchase you may be considering - seek professional advice from your legal and real estate representatives.

Buying at Auction

Auctions are exciting and nerve racking for buyers and sellers because everyone has to make quick decisions. As a buyer at an auction, it is essential that you do your preparation and homework first so that you can confidently bid and win at auction.

Unlike buying a property by private treaty, if you make the winning bid at the auction, you are legally bound to exchange contracts and pay the deposit on the day, and there is no cooling off period.

Before the auction

  • Go to as many 'trial' auctions as you can to watch and learn the process.
  • Get a feel of the auction market by going to some of the open houses of the trial auctions, and get a feel for the difference between what an agent quotes as the expected price and the actual sold price.
  • When you find a place you like, get a contract from the agent-read it yourself and have your legal representative check it.
  • Get building and pest inspections done if you require them.
  • Arrange finance-get pre-approval on your loan.
  • Decide on the maximum amount you want to pay for the property.

At the auction

  • Depending on your state or territory, you may need to register to bid when you first arrive at the auction venue, so take some ID as well as your cheque book.
  • Watch the other bidders to see who is showing their hand.
  • Wait until the property is "on the market" before making a bid (this means that the reserve price has been reached and the property will be sold).
  • Bid in good increments taking the auctioneers guide, and not more than you need to - you might get the property for less than what you were expecting to pay. You don't have to bid in the increments the auctioneer is seeking.
  • Don't go past your limit.
  • If the property was not declared 'on the market' (it didn't reach its reserve price) it will be 'passed in'. There is a benefit of you being the last bidder because you have the first right to negotiate with the seller.
  • If you weren't the highest bidder, you should still let the real estate agent know of your level of interest.

After the auction

  • If the property was declared 'on the market' and the property was sold to you as the highest bidder, this means you have bought it.
  • The auctioneer or agent will sign the paper work (exchange contracts with you) and you will need to pay the required deposit (usually 10% of the sale price).
If you haven't started the loan process, now is the time to contact your Time Finance Loan Consultant.

More Information about Auctions

For more info about auction rules and regulations, visit the fair trading or consumer affairs authority in your state or territory.

With over 800 different loan products in the market from all lenders, it can be a daunting time to go shopping for a home loan if you are doing it yourself or don't know what to look for. The benefits of why you should use a professional Time Finance Mortgage Broker are guaranteed.

It's time! Contact us now to get started

Have a Time Finance expert contact you to get your loan requirements arranged on a no charge, no obligation basis.

Please call me

Takes just 45 seconds

Enter loan details now

Free service & no obligation

Take a few seconds to tell us your loan needs first

Free service & no obligation


Time to contact us

Free service & no obligation

Home loan calculators
Saving time & money with extra payments

Find out how much time extra payments will reduce the life and interest of your loan.

Extra payments calculator

More home loan calculators

Depends on the size of your deposit, the value of the property, and your servicing capacity (based on your income and how much you are able to repay).


Most mortgage lenders will require a deposit of 20% or more of the property price. Less may be required however will require mortgage guarantee insurance in most cases


Depends on the type of loan, intrerestr rate, payment term, and whether you pay monthly or fortnighly. Use us mortgage calculators to guide you.


Every state is different and may depend on the value, whether you are building or buying an established home. Read more in our FHOG article


It is a rate that includes both the interest rate and the fees and charges relating to a loan, combined into a single percentage figure that lets you compare loans from differengt lenders on a fair comparison.


This 'in principle approval' is usually valid for 3 months. Gives you the confidence on how much you can borrow before your purchase a property.


The cost of Stamp Duty varies between States and Territories. Subject to your personal loan circumstances, the cost of stamp duty can be included in the loan amount you borrow.

View more FAQs

Time is at once the most valuable and the most perishable of all our possessions

John Randolph