Buying Your First Home

Your first home journey

Getting the keys to your first home is one of life’s rich moments. It’s an exciting time but it can be daunting too. We can help you with each step to get you through your new front door.

Step 1

How much can I borrow?

Before you hit the open homes, a good place to start is to get an idea of how much you can borrow. This depends on how much you’ve saved for a deposit (or will have saved), your income and your partner’s (if buying together), and your outgoings like living expenses and any loan repayments.

How much can I afford in repayments?

When considering your repayments, be realistic about how much you can afford. Always add in a bit extra so you’ve got some breathing space and leave enough left over so you can comfortably live. Also think about your future plans and how they may impact your finances.

Important information Important information Show content

Results are based on a single, full time PAYG income with no dependants. Any upfront costs that may be associated with the loan are capitalised in the loan amount. The results from this calculator should be used as an indication only. Results do not represent either quotes or pre-qualifications for a loan. The actual amount you can borrow may vary depending on factors including your verifiable net income, other debts or liabilities you have and the number of dependents you have. Lending is to approved applicants only and all lending is subject to a detailed credit assessment.

Fees and charges are payable. The calculations do not take into account fees, charges or other amounts that may be charged to your loan (such as establishment or monthly service fees or stamp duty). If you are borrowing more than 80% of the value of the property, Lenders Mortgage Insurance may apply. Any of these additional amounts will increase repayments under the loan.

Repayment is for principal and interest and is indicative only based on the stated information. Changes in interest rates, repayment frequency and loan term will affect the repayment amount.


Expense Details and Default Values
The calculator initially assumes that the borrower has a minimum set of annual expenses of $17,004.
Maximum percentage of income available - currently set at 100% of income

All months are assumed to be equal. In reality, many loans accrue on a daily basis this can lead to varying interest in different months.

Number of Weeks & Fortnights in a Year
One year is assumed to contain exactly 52 weeks or 26 fortnights. Thus the assumption is for a 364 day year.

The calculator uses the unrounded payment to derive the amount of interest accrued over the full term of the deposit, however, institutions round repayments to the nearest cent.

Important information Important information Show content

The calculations provided are estimates only and based upon the information entered into the calculator by the user. The calculations do not include upfront or continuing credit fees and charges. The resulting calculations do not constitute a loan application or variation to an existing CUA facility, loan offer or loan approval.

Rates current as at 13 April 2021 and subject to change.

Your needs and financial circumstances have not been taken into account. Terms, conditions and Lending critieria apply and are available on application. Other fees and charges may apply. A General Information , Terms & Conditions brochure and Schedule of Fees are available online or from your local CUA branch. You should read both these documents before deciding whether to purchase this product, issued by CUA.

Comparison rate calculated on a $150,000 secured loan over a term of 25 years based on monthly repayments. WARNING: This comparison rate is true only for the examples given and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate.

Make sure you have the right deposit
The more you save for a deposit the less you’ll pay in interest. Use our handy tool to calculate your savings potential.
The minimum deposit depends on the type of loan. As a guide try to save about 20% of the property’s value, plus a bit extra for other costs. If you’re borrowing more than 80% of the property’s value, your lender may require Lenders’ Mortgage Insurance (LMI).
The LVR is the loan amount as a percentage of the value of the property. If you want to borrow $450,000 to buy a property valued at $500,000, that’s an LVR of 90%. Almost all home loans have a maximum LVR. Typically you can borrow up to 95% of the value of the property (a 95% LVR), but this varies between financial institutions. Depending on your LVR, you may have to pay a higher rate of interest and/or Lenders’ Mortgage Insurance.

Step 2

How much will I need upfront?

As well as a deposit, there are other upfront costs to keep in mind. Some common ones are:

  • Lenders’ Mortgage Insurance
  • Lending fees
  • Moving costs
  • Stamp duty
  • Legal and conveyancing fees
  • Building and pest inspection
  • Utilities connections
  • Home and building insurance

Important information
Important information
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The results from this calculator should be used as an indication only and is based on the accuracy of the information you provided.

What do these costs mean?
If your deposit is less than 20% of the property’s value, almost all financial institutions will require Lenders’ Mortgage Insurance (LMI) to cover themselves for the higher risk. LMI is taken out to protect the lender in case you default. It’s a one-off cost to you and is generally added to the total value of the loan.
Before you buy, make sure you get a building and pest inspection to check the property is structurally sound and free of pests like termites. The inspection needs be done before contracts are exchanged.
Stamp duty is a state government charge or tax. The amount is based on the purchase price of the property and is different in every state and territory. Some first home buyers may get a discount or not be required to pay it at all. We can help you work this out.
If you or your partner haven’t owned a home before, you may be able to get a First Home Owner Grant. The grant is administered and funded by the state and territories, and the amount and eligibility vary. It’s usually paid directly to your lender. We can help you apply for the grant when you take out a home loan.
Find out more

Step 3

What’s the best home loan for me?

When choosing a home loan, think about your personal circumstances and finances. Do you need to know exactly what your repayments are so you can plan? Will you benefit from offsetting interest with money in your accounts? Do you want to make extra loan repayments and have access to them? Here are some things to consider when deciding.
Fixed interest rate loans

  • Give you more certainty and make it easier to budget because you know exactly what your repayments are for a set period of time.
  • Protect you against interest rate rises, but if interest rates fall you miss out on the savings.
  • Often have a higher rate than variable loans because you pay to ‘lock-in’ your rate.
  • If you decide to change your financial institution, sell your home, or pay off your loan within the fixed period, you may be charged an early payout fee.

Variable interest rate loans

  • Are subject to market conditions – if rates fall it’s likely your variable rate will fall too and your loan repayments will decrease. If rates rise, so might your repayments.
  • Usually give you more features and flexibility – like an offset account, the ability to make extra repayments and to pay off or move your loan without penalty or an early pay out fee (but they may have a discharge fee).
Offset accounts

  • Offset lets you use money in linked accounts to ‘offset’ your home loan. This means the balance in your accounts is offset daily against your loan, reducing the amount of interest you pay and your loan term. For example; if you have a loan of $500,000 and a balance of $10,000 in your offset account/s, you’ll only pay interest on $490,000 instead of $500,000.
  • Can have different features. 100% offset means you can deduct the full balance of your linked account/s from your loan.
  • Often have a minimum balance requirement that applies to your linked accounts.
  • No interest is earned on offset accounts.

Extra repayments

  • Allows you to pay more than the contracted or minimum loan repayment amount. If your monthly repayment is $2300 you may decide to pay $2500 instead.
  • Helps you to pay off the loan faster and reduces your interest payments.
  • You can also make lump-sum repayments, for example, if you receive a bonus or an inheritance.


  • This feature provides access to the extra and additional repayments you’ve made on your loan.
  • You can take out (redraw) money from your ‘repayments in advance’ or ‘redraw balance’ whenever you need to, which can come in handy.

Comparison rate

  • When comparing loans, always look at the comparison rate. While one loan may have a lower interest rate than another, it may have fees and charges that actually make it more expensive.
  • It can help you compare the overall cost of each loan.
  • In Australia, comparison rates are always calculated on a standard loan amount of $150,000 and a loan term of 25 years with monthly repayments.
  • Although a useful guide, the comparison rate calculation doesn’t include benefits like offset accounts and the ability to make extra repayments and some fees may be excluded.

Getting a home loan
  • Getting pre-approval means when you do find that perfect place you can act quickly and confidently, knowing how much you can offer.
  • To get pre-approval, your income, outgoings and savings are considered to work out how much you can afford to borrow.
  • It’s obligation free (you don’t have to take out the loan) and is usually valid for 90 days. If you don’t find a property during this time, it can be easily renewed.
  • Pre-approval is different from final approval. Pre-approval is only based on your ability to borrow. Final approval is given when you’ve found your new home and you want to make a formal loan application.

Which home loan suits me?

Will this be your primary place of residence?
Do you want a fixed or variable rate?
Do you require an offset facility?
Do you require a redraw facility?

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Get great value on your CUA home loan
Important information Important information Show content

This is only intended as a general guide in relation to issues you may want to consider. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all relevant issues and you should take into account your own particular circumstances, and obtain independent expert legal advice where needed, before proceeding.

Rates current as at 13 April 2021 and subject to change.

Loans are issued by Credit Union Australia Ltd ABN 44 087 650 959, AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 238317. Lending criteria, limits, conditions and fees apply. Ask us for details.

The "Choose your own CUA home loan" tool is an indication only. Results do not represent pre-qualification for a home loan.

^ Comparison rate accurate for $150,000 secured loan over 25 years. WARNING: This comparison rate is true only for the examples given and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate.

# On expiration of the fixed period, loan reverts to the relevant Standard Variable Principal & Interest repayment rate.

Δ Maximum Loan to Value Ratio (LVR) is inclusive of Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI) where applicable. Maximums based on standard security. Lower LVR limits apply for non-standard security types.

>< Offset is not available on all home loan products. You must maintain a minimum balance of $500 in each offset account to obtain the benefit of the offset from that account. Your offset account will not earn any interest.

>| A $200 minimum withdrawal amount applies for redraws conducted in-branch.

>> A daily transfer will refund any amounts paid in advance in excess of the total advance repayments allowed during the fixed rate period (being $50,000 for Premium Fixed and $5,000 for Fixed) unless sufficient to pay out the loan in full (in which case an Early Payout Fee may apply). Excess funds will be transferred to the nominated deposit account, which must remain open for the fixed rate period.

>|> For Premium Fixed Home Loans, any amount in excess of $50,000 in offset accounts will not be taken into account when calculating interest.

1 Achieve Variable and Achieve Plus Variable are available to new to CUA home loans only. Minimum loan amount $100,000. Not available for switching or restructuring of existing CUA home loans or to applicants for another CUA home loan fully approved prior to 30 April 2019. Maximum LVR limits apply based on standard security types. Published interest rates and discounts available and applicable to home loans submitted on or after 30 April 2019. Interest rates and discounts may vary by loan purpose (owner occupied and investment) and by repayment type (principal and interest, interest only and construction loans). The discounts specified in your loan contract will not change for the life of the loan provided you do not vary your loan contract. If you vary your loan (for example, changing the loan purpose or repayment type), the rates and discounts may change.

2 Available to new loans of $100,000 or more. Maximum LVR limits apply based on standard security types. New loans only. Offers not available for switching of existing CUA home loans or to applicants for another CUA home loan fully approved prior to 04/07/2018 . Rates vary by repayment type (principal and interest vs interest only) and construction loans.

3 You must maintain a minimum balance of $500 in each offset account to obtain an offset benefit. The maximum in your offset accounts that is able to be offset against your Achieve Variable home loan when calculating interest is $15,000. Offset account balances in excess of $15,000 will not be taken into account when calculating interest on your loan. You will also not receive any interest on the funds in your offset accounts.