Are you looking to make a big financial purchase?

Whether you’re buying a property, a car, or going on a bucket-list holiday, it’s important to have a plan to fund your goal. Research and planning can help you explore your options, reduce the overwhelm, and avoid any financial pitfalls. And if you apply for a loan or credit, you’ll need to understand the lending process and how your credit score can influence your application.

In this article, we offer valuable tips for purchasing property, buying a car, and planning for your next holiday. We also share what you need to know about your credit score. Let's get started!

Buying a property

Decide the property type

Your first step is to get clear on why you’re buying the property. If it will become your next home, what type of property best suits your needs now and into the future? If the property will be used as an investment, what are your objectives, timeframes, and desired return?

You can explore different property types like apartments, townhouses, houses, or commercial properties and weigh their pros and cons. Do some research online and visit properties in person to get a better idea of what's available in the market. If you're interested in renovating or building new, talk to builders to discuss timeframes, costs, and ideas on finding land to build on. This research can help you focus and guide your next steps.

Determine affordability

Once you have a wishlist, the next step is to see what you can afford and make changes as needed.

  • Start by reviewing your finances, including your income, expenses, savings, and debts.
  • Calculate the total cost of buying a home, factoring in upfront and ongoing costs like stamp duty, rates, and maintenance.
  • Add some buffer so you can cover potential price increases or make up for low estimates.
  • Calculate how much you have for a deposit and how much you can afford to repay each month.

TIP: Use an online borrowing capacity calculator to find out how much you can borrow and what the repayments would be for different loan amounts.

Secure pre-approval

To getting ready for the property hunt, consider seeing a mortgage broker for pre-approval. They will review your finances, let you know on how much you can borrow, and organise pre-approval paperwork in advance. In some cases, sellers and agents may prefer buyers who have already organised finance, which could increase your chances of securing a property.

Compare mortgage options

When getting a mortgage, it’s important to look at the different options available. This includes comparing fixed and variable rates, as well as features like interest rates, fees, offset accounts, and loan terms. Also, consider your long-term goals and which mortgage structure would best work with your plans.

Choosing the right building professional

If you’re renovating or building a property, working with a reliable building professional can help you get your desired outcome and avoid costly mistakes. Our top tips include:

  • Look for building professionals with a proven track record, positive customer reviews, and a portfolio of projects that reflect your vision.
  • Check the building professional is licensed and holds the necessary insurances to protect you against any unexpected issues during construction.
  • Find out if the building professional is transparent, responsive, and will keep you informed throughout the process.
  • Obtain detailed written contracts and itemised quotes that outline all project costs and timelines.
Is your building professional iCIRT-rated?

iCIRT is Australia’s star-rating system for the home building industry, measuring a building professional’s trustworthiness, likelihood of delivering a quality build, financial viability, and willingness to deliver a safe, compliant, durable building outcome.

Download The Homebuyers Guide to Choosing a Rated Building Professional for details on what you should know about your building professional before you sign a contract. Visit to find out more.

Tips for buying a car

Research your options

Start your search by researching different car makes and models. Compare prices, value, and the availability of spare parts for chosen models. Set a budget and consider the purchase price and ongoing expenses such as maintenance, petrol and insurance in your calculations.

Another key consideration is choosing between buying a new or used car. Budget often influences this, but it can also come down to personal preferences. For example, new cars typically lose 30% of their value in three years, so a newer second-hand car can be a suitable alternative.

Choose the model

Once you’ve got a feel for the market and your options, it’s time to decide which car best suits your needs. Things to consider include:

  • How often you’ll drive the car
  • How many kilometres you’ll be driving
  • Where you’ll be driving the car - for example, in the city with lots of stopping and starting, or longer drives on highways
  • Who you’ll be driving with
  • Any future plans such as starting or growing a family or hobbies that require more boot space or towing capacity.

Make a list of the essential features and use this information to narrow your choices.

Check the car in person

Whether you’re buying a new or used car, test driving a car allows you to experience how the car runs before buying it.

If you’re buying a used car, a visual inspection is also a must. Look for rust, damage, and check under the bonnet for any issues. It's also a good idea to hire a mechanic to conduct a thorough check. If you’re still interested, a car history report can give you additional peace of mind by helping you identify any potential problems, such as finance owing or incorrect odometer readings.

Negotiate the price

When buying a new car, you may not have much room to negotiate on price. However, you can still try to negotiate for additional benefits such as an extended warranty, feature upgrades, or discounts on older model stock.

If you’re buying a used car, you can use your research on the market and the car’s condition to make an offer. Set a maximum budget, but start with a lower offer and be willing to negotiate based on your budget. Always make sure to finalise the contract in writing, including the agreed-upon terms and responsibilities of both parties.

Planning a big holiday

Research destinations and deals

Research can make a big difference to your holiday experience and budget. Start by researching seasonality, major events or holidays, experiences, travel time, weather patterns, and accessibility at your destination. Read advice on forums and ask for tips from like-minded travellers amongst your friends and family. To get an idea of costs, check out travel comparison websites to compare prices and sign up for deal alerts to find discounted travel packages, flights, and hotel stays.

Set a realistic budget

A realistic budget helps you get clear on how much you’ll need to fund your trip and also helps avoid overspending. Things to consider in your budget include transport, accommodation, meals, activities, insurance, shopping, and visas.

Plan your finances

With your budget in mind, it's time to figure out the best way to fund your holiday. You could use existing savings, plan to build your savings, apply for credit or a loan, or a combination of these to fund your trip. Decide whether to save and delay your trip, or borrow money and pay it back later to take your trip sooner, and make sure to set aside enough in your budget to meet those commitments.

Applying for credit and your credit score

A credit score is a number that represents your level of risk as a borrower and is based on your past credit history and behaviour.

When you apply for credit, lenders and credit providers will check your credit score to help assess your level of risk. Generally, the higher the number, the lower the risk, and the more likely you will repay the credit or loan amount. This improves your chances of approval, and can also lead to more favourable interest rates and loan terms.

Do you know your credit score? You can find out your credit score and check for any errors that may negatively affect your application by getting a copy of your credit report. Download a copy for free with Equifax.

Go for your goals with confidence

Getting your next big financial purchase right involves careful research and planning. Taking these steps can help you make informed decisions and make your next big purchase with confidence.