Hi! I’m hoping some of you on here could give me some help and guidance as to the process I should follow in buying my first home. I have only started looking this year and that’s only been online, but it’s all pretty daunting and I’m a bit unsure how to go about actually buying. I don’t want to come across as a complete newbie when making a deal or talking to the real estate agents (as I’m sure they’ll take advantage of that), so am wondering what’s the actual process I should be following to buy my first place? A bit of background, I’m in my 40’s, single (never married - no kids) and currently have full time work. I don’t really have anyone close to talk to about real estate and have never thought about property until now, but it seems like it may be a good time to buy before prices start going back up. I have done some reading up on it over the last 6 months but am still confused about the steps, and stuck on a few things I can’t work out. I have a lot of questions that may seam dumb, but please bare with me: Do I need a home loan pre-approval? Do I need this before going to open homes and making offers? (I have saved a lot over the years and have enough for 20-30% deposit. I’ve never been in debt and have always had a good credit rating.) Is there any point using a mortgage broker? or should I just use an online comparison site to find a loan? (I already have bank accounts with Rams, Ubank and ANZ). Is it worth getting a loan that has an offset account? Is this generally what people do? Do I need a lawyer? where do I find one? Do I need to get an inspection done? And what kind of Inspection is it? is this different per state? I’m in Tasmania. or is this something that they do? i.e should I ask for inspection papers? Who do you contact for the inspection? Do you make an offer straight away? (at the open home for example?) or do you wait for an inspectors report before making an offer? Is it worth offering less than the asking price? If they reject the offer do they normally come back with a counter offer? or would I stuff up my chances by offering lower? If they don’t counter can I request a counter offer? - or would this be weird? Also when they get more offers, do they just take the highest? or do they go back to everyone else who made an offer to see if they want to up it? reason is I would have a range of say $30K that I could offer, but obviously I’d like to be on the lower end of that… but could go to the top end if I really had to. Does making a larger deposit (like 20-30%) increase your chances of your offer being accepted, even if you offer lower? Would this with a written offer demonstrate I’m serious and really ready to buy, or is it simply they go with the highest amount offered? If the seller gets a higher offer do they normally tell you what that amount is? Is it normal to ask what the higher or highest offer they’ve received is? I keep reading about settlement dates and cooling off periods.. why are they so important? To put it in perspective, there’s a small 2 bedroom place I currently like the look of online. It’s listed as offers over $375K. So for me that seams a lot, so I’d like it a little less say around $360K, but if I really had to I could go up to $400K. If I offer less, will I get the opportunity to bargain up if others have put in higher offers? or is this not the done thing and I should just go in at the top of what I can afford at $400K? If the seller comes back with a higher counter offer, can I counter that again lower? or is that just stuffing them around? If I get pre-approval with one lender, do I have to use them? or could I change to someone else if I find a better loan? If my offer is accepted, how do I pay them the deposit? is it just like an online bank transfer? And when is it paid? If something happens through the process and I need to pull out of the sale, do I get the deposit back (remember I’m able to pay a fairly large deposit - I don’t want to loose this money!). My main experience with this sort of thing would be buying items on eBay and Gumtree where I generally am able to haggle a bit to get a better price, but not sure if this applies to buying a house. I really appreciate any advice and answers to those questions that I’m stuck on, I’d like to come across with a bit more experience than I have when dealing with agents / sellers.