Expatify

Travel & Expat Lifestyle Magazine

Buying Real Estate in Australia

Australia is experiencing a real estate boom that has been developing for the past decade which in turn is enticing people into moving to Australia. Both the cities and the countryside are affected by this, and both locals and foreign nationals are taking part in it. Keep in mind that you will have to get government approval before you embark on your real estate journey in Australia.

Attorneys and Real Estate Agents

You will have to deal with real estate agents for the sellers of specific homes or properties. This is the person you make an offer to. When you make an offer for a house, you must hire a surveyor to look it over.

It is a good idea, but not necessary, to hire an Australian lawyer in the process. They will help you with some of the paperwork, and transfering the title of the property from the seller to the buyer.

Rules, Regulations and Restrictions

Any time a foreigner wishes to purchase real estate in Australia, they have to apply their case to the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB). This is to ensure that the greater community and community needs/interests around the area of proposed real estate are protected. The FIRB then repotrs to Treasury and reviews the application. The FIRB review process takes 30 days. It does not follow a general reviewing guideline, as each case is completely different. They will usually disapprove your application if they feel as if you as just setting up property to rent it out or you are speculating on its value and intend to sell it in the future.

Foreigners are allowed to rent real estate in apartment or condomium complexes. There is a rule that none of these communities can be inhabited by over 50% foreign interest. If you plan to buy an apartment, you should have a legal representative do a Strata Records Inspection, in which they will analyze facilities and your rights as a tenant.

General Process

It is a good idea to get pre-approved by FIRB before you start your real estate search and before anything else. This is the most difficult part to overcome; after your approval, the process is pretty straightforward.

You must first settle on a piece of real estate ; you should then have it surveyed. Some parts of Australia have termite problems, so you want to have surveyors take a look at this. You can have a survey done by an employee of the public or private sector.

If the property looks like it doesn’t have too many problems, then make an offer to the seller’s real estate agent. This agent will then submit your offer to the sellers in writing. Your offer isn’t set in stone; you can withdraw it. If both parties decide to settle on your offer, you and the sellers can both sign this document, the Contract for Sale.

If your offer and surveys go through to everyone’s satisfaction, you should hire an Australian lawyer. Your lawyer will help you sort out and handle some of the following paperwork and legal steps.

The final step is to sign the Contract to Purchase. The final contract should include all of the information about the property and what you have to pay. You will also have to pay some fees, such as a circa 10% deposit to secure the purchase, and possibly legal fees, stamp duty, mortgage application fees and possible insurance fees. Different areas of Australia have different rules, which means they may have different fees.

More Information

Read an overview of Moving to Australia and Australian visas. Sometimes, those investing in Australia real estate qualify for a “Special Category Visa.”

Always consider that before you take the plunge and move, it might be a smart idea to test the waters and rent an apartment in Australia first and see whether you like it enough to put down roots.

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