FAQs

Can’t find the answer you’re looking for? Take a look through the following frequently asked questions.

How HomeSeeker SA Works

HomeSeeker SA and SA Housing Authority are unable to provide financial advice. You can obtain financial advice from a licensed financial planner, accountant, bank or lender.

If you’re ineligible to purchase a house through HomeSeeker SA, you may be able to apply for an exemption. 

Email homeseeker@sa.gov.au and address the specific eligibility requirements you do not meet and why you believe your situation should be considered as an ‘exceptional circumstance’.

When calculating your income to work out how much you can borrow, consider the following.

Centrelink

  • Use a Centrelink Income Statement or letter confirming the benefit and any other income paid in the previous fortnight
  • Any income or pensions from Department of Veterans’ Affairs 

Employment

  • Gross salary or wages (including any regular overtime and allowances) as outlined in an employer’s Declaration Form, payment summary/group certificate, pay slips or your last tax return

  • For casual employment, use the last four consecutive weeks of gross income averaged over 12 months

  • Your net business income (before tax income minus expenses) as outlined on your tax return for the previous year

Other income

  • Overseas government payments

  • Workers compensation payments or insurance payouts

  • Spousal maintenance payments

  • Investment dividends

  • Accessed superannuation (superannuation is not included in income calculations unless you are 55 years old or over and have accessed your superannuation).

Assets are:

  • household and personal effects

  • cars, boats, and motorhomes

  • money lodged with a financial institution

  • shares, bonds and investments

  • overseas assets converted to Australian dollars

  • superannuation (if you have accessed it).

HomeSeeker SA properties are sold at a fixed, listed price. Any price enquiries should be directed to the property’s sales agent.

HomeSeeker SA homes will be shown as available until they are sold. Homes that are under offer will be labelled ‘under offer’ in the property listings.

Sign up to HomeSeeker SA and opt in via ‘My Account’ to receive periodic emails listing the latest homes for sale. 

If you are interested in specific types of homes in certain areas of South Australia, sign up then search our Homes for Sale using the available property filters. 

If you know exactly what you're looking for you can make your search very specific by selecting the regional area or suburb; type of home; number of bedrooms, bathrooms and car parks; and price range. After you hit the 'Search Homes' button and go to the results page you can select the 'Save Search' button (with the star on it) to save this property search as a favourite - even if there are no properties currently available that meet your saved search criteria. We'll automatically send you email when there are new properties available that match your saved search criteria. You can set up a search for every area and type of property you are interested in buying. And if at any time your preferences change, you can delete your favourite searches or opt out of receiving emails via your My Account page (go to 'My Saved Searches').

Please note: HomeSeeker SA is not able to advise individuals about the availability specific properties in advance of listing them on homeseeker.sa.gov.au or realestate.com.au.

The best way to increase your odds of being first-in-line to purchase a property that meets your preferred criteria when it becomes available for sale is to follow these steps.

  1. Keep your borrowing information up-to-date and have a valid finance pre-approval ready to send the property’s real estate agent – this will ensure you are put on the list of interested buyers.
  2. Complete your Declaration of Eligibility and send it back to the real estate agent as soon as possible – no later than five days after you receive it.
  3. Sign up for HomeSeeker SA, save your favourite searches and opt in for email alerts – you’ll be advised as soon after a new property that meets your search criteria is listed on homeseeker.sa.gov.au*
  4. Keep checking HomeSeeker SA’s Homes for Sale.

Please note: HomeSeeker SA is not able to advise individuals about the availability specific properties in advance of listing them on homeseeker.sa.gov.au or realestate.com.au.

*Properties are generally listed between 9.10am and 6.15pm, Monday to Friday. 

Home Purchase Process

Finance pre-approval is confirmation from a lender (bank or financial institution) for a specific type of loan up to a specific borrowing amount. To obtain finance pre-approval, you will typically need to contact the lender of your choice, discuss your financial situation, and undertake the appropriate verification process to enable the lender to assess your eligibility for a home loan.

Once you receive your pre-approval letter, you can look for properties with confidence that your lender is likely to loan you what you need to buy a house. Pre-approval normally lasts for a set period of time, depending on the lender.

Common documentation and information a lender may need to work through your finance pre-approval include:

  • details of your income (e.g. net annual salary, Centrelink income)
  • your employment type (e.g. full-time, part-time, casual, contract, self-employed)
  • details of any financial commitments (e.g. personal/car loans, credit/store cards, childcare/school fees, AfterPay/Zip Pay)
  • credit history (any paid defaults, insolvency, bankruptcy)
  • evidence of savings (and/or rental payments) and your banking/transactional statements
  • details around your monthly living expenditure (e.g. food and groceries, transport, clothing, rates, utilities, home insurance).

Other documentation may be required depending on which product or lender you choose.

When a lender considers your home loan application, they generally assume about 30% of your gross income can be used to make loan repayments. They then factor in any other debt, assets and spending habits to anticipate your borrowing capacity and ability to repay your loan (known as your ability to service a loan). 

We recommend you look at our tips to help you work out a budget and determine how much you can afford.

When buying a property there are a number of costs that you need to factor into your budget.

  • Government charges: stamp duty, mortgage registration fee, Transfer of Title fee
  • Lender’s fees: loan application fees, legal fees, and lenders mortgage insurance
  • Other buying costs: solicitor and conveyancing fees, strata search if applicable, home and contents insurance, pest inspection, moving costs, building/council inspection, connecting utilities, land tax and council rates.

To find out more about the buying process, see our How to Buy a Home section of HomeSeeker SA.

Generally yes – but you will need to provide the lender with evidence of a reliable income as your employment might be viewed as unstable. The lender will still require you to go through the usual loan approval process

There shouldn’t be any major differences in terms of home loan options, rates or fees.

Using an online calculator is one of the easiest ways to work out what your repayments will be once you have successfully applied for a home loan. There are a range of home loan calculators available. 

As an example, a $320,000 loan (for a $400,000 home with a $80,000 deposit) over a 30-year period and a 3% interest rate would require repayments of around $310 per week. 

Stamp duty is a government fee that is charged when you purchase a home. Stamp duty is paid on the land value of a house and land package, or the full value of a completed home. There are online calculators available to show you how much stamp duty you might have to pay. 

While there were previously concessions on stamp duty for new homes, as of 2018 these no longer apply. 

There are several factors which lenders consider before deciding how much they will lend you. These factors will depend on how much you earn, how much debt you have and how much deposit you have managed to save. Online calculators can help you work out how much you can afford to borrow. 

You should always make sure you only borrow what you can comfortably afford to repay. 

Depending on the loan you take out, you might need to pay 20%, 10% or sometimes 3% of the purchase price as an upfront deposit. For example, if you are going to purchase a $400,000 home and need a 20% deposit, you can calculate the deposit like this: 400,000 x 0.2 = 80,000 ($80,000 deposit)

There is not one place to find the best interest rates, so it is best to shop around.

There are many loan products available so it can be difficult to work out which is right for you. Comparison websites are useful to review the different home loan rates. However, these websites often have commercial arrangements with the lenders and might not present you with all the options. The same goes for mortgage brokers. Refer to our How to Buy a Home section of the site for more information. 

If you are a Housing SA tenant who has signed the conditions of tenancy, you may be able to buy your public housing property (note that not all properties are for sale). 

Shared Equity

A shared equity arrangement is when a third party (most likely the lender or the government) purchases a stake in your home (often 25% of the loan amount) which helps to bring your overall loan (and repayments) down.

For example, if you purchase a $400,000 home with a 25% shared equity, you will only make repayments on a $300,000 loan (minus any deposit you paid up front). Keep in mind that you are still required to pay 100% of the deposit, stamp duty, council fees and any other costs associated with the home.

When it comes to selling you home, your equity partner (the lender) receives their share back plus a proportionate amount of equity (if the property has risen in value).

Some homes available through HomeSeeker SA can be purchased under a shared equity arrangement.

Yes. The shared equity arrangement is only for the home loan amount, not for the deposit. This means, you will still need to meet the lenders deposit requirements.

Absolutely, it is your home and you can renovate or make alterations as you wish. We recommend you speak to your equity partner (lender) before starting on major renovations that will increase the value of your home.

Yes. You can rent out your shared equity home once you have lived in the property for the minimum period specified in your shared equity agreement (usually 12 months).

Affordable Homes Assist

Affordable Homes Assist (or ‘Assist’) was a special shared equity scheme offered 2019–2020.

If you purchased a home under this initiative and are looking for further information please refer to your initial loan documentation or contact HomeStart Finance, who manage the Assist loan.

Renting

Rental bonds amount to four weeks rent if the rent is $250 per week or less, and six weeks rent for weekly rentals more than $250 per week. Usually, you will also need to pay two weeks rent in advance to secure a new rental home, which means you need the equivalent of six to eight weeks rent to secure a property.

For example

Bond: $300/week x 6 weeks = $1800

Upfront rent: $300 x 2 weeks = $600

TOTAL: $1800 + $600 = $2400

Refer to our rental support resources for a list of services supporting people to access affordable rental housing. 

If you are a vulnerable or low-income eligible household and cannot access or maintain other forms of accommodation, you can register for public and community housing online.

You may be asked to provide more information or attend an appointment to talk about your situation.

You will be sent a letter telling you if your registration has been successful.

Using the website

To receive HomeSeeker SA emails you need to sign up for an account.

Once you have signed up you can save searches, opt in for emails and register your interest in properties for sale.

To receive HomeSeeker SA emails you need to sign up for an account.

Once logged in to HomeSeeker SA, go to My Account and scroll to the bottom of the page to manage your subscription preferences, including opting in to receive emails or unsubscribe. We send a weekly 'latest homes' email plus occasional emails on special offers and educational resources for buyers and renters.

You can also opt in to receive property alerts for your favourite searches. After saving a property search, go to your My Account page and select the 'Saved Searches' link. The next page will list all of your saved property searches and you can click on the envelop and bell icon to opt in (on) to, or opt out (off) of, receiving property alerts.

Property alert opt in icon

Have you completed the sign up process?

Step 1 requires you to complete the sign up form.

Step 2 Once you fill in the form and select the ‘Create an account’ button, you need to check your email inbox for an Account Details verification email from HomeSeeker SA (check your spam/junk folder too, just in case).Click on the link in the email to return to the website and finish sign up.

Step 3 requires you to set a password for your account. It should be at least 12 characters long and a mix of lower and upper case letters, numbers and symbols. A complex password is required to keep your account safe. 

Watch a video to see if you've followed the sign up process correctly.

Yes, I've followed all these steps and successfully signed up

If you have completed the sign up process and have received the sign up confirmation email, and are still having problems logging in, try resetting your password

I've signed up and reset my password, but I still can't log in

If you have completed sign and still can't log in, contact us. It's always helpful if you can provide us with screenshots or details about the steps you are taking to try and log in. 

If you are using our property search to find a home to buy you can use filters such as region, suburb, property type, price, bedrooms, bathrooms and car spaces to narrow your search.

Using them all may make your search too narrow and mean you don't find any homes that meet your criteria. For example, there may be no 3-bedroom, 1-bathroom, single car space properties in Findon, but there might be some with two bathrooms!

Try one or two filters to start with, for example: Suburb + Type = Findon + House

If you can’t find any properties in your chosen suburb, try searching by region, for example: Region + Bedrooms = Western Adelaide + 3 bedrooms 
There could be something in a nearby suburb that suits your needs perfectly.

Use the property search on the HomeSeeker SA homepage or Homes for Sale page, select your search filters (e.g. location, number of bedrooms) and select the Search button.

On the search results page you'll see a 'Save Search' button. Even if there are no properties listed currently matching your search criteria, saving the search and opting in for property alerts will ensure we notify you when matching properties become available.

After saving a property search, go to your My Account page and select the 'Saved Searches' link to see all of your saved searches. Whenever you visit the HomeSeeker SA website you can log in and use these saved searches to find your ideal properties.

By default you will receive property alerts that match your saved search criteria. Select the envelope and bell icon to opt out (OFF) for property alerts. Select it again to opt in (ON). 

To delete a saved search, select the adjacent trash can icon. 

Saved search icons

Search and find a property you like and select the 'Save Home' button below the property photos. 

Save home button

You can review your favourite homes via your My Account page.

To remove favourite homes, simply click the 'Home Saved' button.

Home saved button