Buying Real Estate in South Australia


Here is everything you need to know about buying South Australian property.

With its expansive wine regions, great coastal areas and the inimitable City of Churches, South Australia has a lot to offer people seeking to buy real estate. But you have to give a lot of effort to make sure the process is done right! Here is everything you need to know about buying South Australian property

How can you buy property in SA?

There are a few different ways you can purchase SA property. Picking which one works best for you is a difficult process, so talking at length to your real estate agent about the decision is a good idea. Here is an overview of the main ways people buy SA real estate.

Private treaty

In private treaty, you or your agent make an offer based on the vendor's listed price, and negotiate with them or their real estate agent until both parties are in agreement. You have to sign off on each and every offer made, and there can be conditions placed upon the deal. 


Auctions are a single event where you compete with other bidders to make the highest offer on a home. A reserve price is set, and if it is not reached then the property does not sell immediately.  If the reserve price is met and the property sells, the contract is signed straight after the auction, so it is a good idea to have everything prepared before you walk into the auction room. If it doesn't reach reserve, you might still be able to negotiate for it. 


At tender, there is no listed price. You make a blind offer accompanied by a 5 or 10 per cent deposit, and the vendor accepts or rejects it. 

Buy now build later

This is a process wherein you purchase a block of land, and build a home upon it at a later date. There may be conditional clauses stating when you can and cannot begin construction. 

Buying off-the-plan

When you buy off-the-plan, you are investing in a home that has not yet been completed. These can come at a good price, but the property may differ slightly from initial plans, and the construction time frames can blow out. 

Financing a property purchase in SA - how much you can afford?

Working out how much you can afford

The next step is understanding how much you can afford. A deposit is usually 10 to 20 per cent of the purchase price, depending on loan value ratios (LVR) on offer from your lender. If you cannot reach this point, you may have to pay Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI). There can also be grants available if you are buying SA property as a senior ($8,500) or member of the Defence Force, purchasing off-the-plan, or building your own home.

Now is a good time to talk to LJ Hooker Home Loans, as they can help you create a budget and give you an understanding of how much you will be able to borrow. Getting home loan pre-approval is also recommended, as it gives you a clear budget. 

Hidden costs of buying SA property

Costs big and small will pop up during the SA buying process, and it's important to make sure you understand all of them. 

  • Stamp duty is $19,306.50 on a $400,000 home and scales with price,
  • Land Title Office fees,
  • Land tax ($385 on a $400,000 property),
  • Emergency Services Levy (anywhere from $20 to $400, depending on your home and where it is),
  • Legal fees for solicitors and conveyancers ($1,500 to $3,000),
  • Loan application fees (up to $1,000),
  • Building and pest inspections ($300 to $500),
  • Title search fees (up to $300 per request, depending on what you ask for),
  • Council or strata fees upon settlement (allow for $500 at least),
  • Moving costs ($500 to $3,500)

The use of a professional real estate agent from LJ Hooker can help you ascertain each and every cost you will face when buying SA real estate, so that nothing takes you by surprise. Consumer and Business Services South Australia is also handy for understanding the buying process.

Finding SA property to buy


To begin with, you might want to engage a real estate agent that understands the SA property market. LJ Hooker has a wide range of professional agents, and our website ( and Open Market report give you in-depth snapshots of local SA property markets.,, Australian Property Monitors, Residex and CoreLogic RP Data are all excellent sources for your SA property research as well. 

This will not just give you in-depth market knowledge, it will help you decide on what type of property you want to buy - an apartment or unit, detached home, or something else altogether.

Where to look

Once you understand the parts of South Australia you want to buy property in, a professional real estate agent can narrow your search further. LJ Hooker has teams right across SA that can get your foot in the door on excellent homes wherever you are.

State and community newspapers and listings will also prove useful for finding property to buy in South Australia. 

Additionally websites such as, and are an important resource to use when searching for properties. You can also set up property alerts so you are advised via email when a new property that matches your criteria comes on the market.

The importance of inspections 

Conducting a thorough property inspection is essential before you move forward with the SA home buying process. Download our handy apartment open for inspection guide here and our house inspection guide here - it will show you what to look for and if you use a different one for each property you inspect, it’s a good way to keep track of them. Additionally getting a building and pest inspection is highly recommended so as to ensure you are not buying a property with serious issues. 

When buying SA property, the vendor should also provide you with a buyers' information notice, which outlines any structural issues, as well as problems with infestations or asbestos.

Getting the full picture on SA property gives you more power at the negotiating table, and will be part of the negotiations of the contract of sale. 

The SA buying process

Private treaty

As you and your LJ Hooker agent negotiate with the vendor or their agent in private treaty purchases, you may be required to make a holding deposit - usually $100. It is returned to you if an offer is not accepted - keep in mind that an offer itself is not binding in any way. 

Inspections and the buyers' information notice should give you a good depiction of the fair price. Once both parties reach a satisfactory figure and conditions (such as inspections or specific moving dates) are agreed upon, contracts of sale can be drawn up, exchanged and then you pay a deposit (normally 10 per cent of the full price).

You then have a cooling-off period of two business days in which you can withdraw from the sale. From there, the settlement process begins. 


If you buy at auction there is no cooling-off period and the sale is final and binding as soon as the gavel falls. You must provide the deposit on the day, and contracts are signed and exchanged there and then. 

Make sure you read the vendors' statement before the bidding begins - this outlines everything you need to know about the property. Once you have registered to bid and won and paid the deposit, it goes into a trust account until final settlement.

Contracts of sale

This document holds all details of the SA property you want to buy, who the vendor and buyer are, as well as who any professionals involved in the process are - real estate agents, conveyancers and solicitors in particular.

It details the property price, how much a deposit will be, who holds it, as well as the final settlement date. It is crucial to get a solicitor or conveyancer to go over the contract of sale, as it can be quite a complex document. 

Settlement of SA property

Once all details have been ironed out, settlement of the transaction usually takes between 30 and 90 days. At the close of this period, you transfer the remainder of the money you owe, titles are transferred, and the keys are handed over. Congratulations, you have successfully purchased SA property!

For any further questions, get in touch with the team here at LJ Hooker.

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