The following is a brief, step-by-step guide to the property buying process in Australia and how it actually works.
Step one: Find the right property
The internet is always going to be the first place that most people turn to in order to find their new property overseas. While we also recommend spending some time in the actual area that you wish to buy, we recognise that this may well be more difficult given the distance to Australia. In this case, it could be a wise idea to get on some expat forums and ask others who have done the same as you wish to do for their opinions before you can get out there for a trip. Speak to some reputable estate agencies, preferably ones that have been recommended to you, and assess whether you could conceivably organize a viewing trip.
Step two: Visit the property and local area
A dedicated property viewing trip to Australia will allow you to view a selection of relevant properties, so you can see for yourself that the property is right for you, instead of relying on your estate agent before making such a permanent commitment. We also recommend seeing as much as you can of the local and surrounding areas, as this gives you the chance to see if it feels right for you, or anyone else who you wish to stay in your Australian property. If you can, speak to local residents and business owners as you explore, and find out more about what it’s really like to live and work there.
Step three: Get the financials in place
When you’ve found the property of your dreams, now is the time to make an offer! However, there are still a few financial matters you need to consider before you do so.
- Have you factored in the currency exchange implications on the process of your property and all other costs associated with your Australian home? Speak to Halo Financial for guidance early on in your process
- Do you know how you are going to pay for the property – and if you are planning to get a mortgage, will this suit your needs?
- Have you set aside money set aside for hidden costs on top of the purchase costs, such as legal fees or agency commission? These additional costs may well amount to at least 5% of your property price.
Step four: Make an offer
One you know that your finances are in place, you can work with an expert independent solicitor to make an offer. Your estate agent will be able to negotiate the best offer for you during this process, and your solicitor can explain everything to you in full, in terms of legal requirements. We recommend asking your solicitor to summarise your key points for the purchase in writing for the vendor, as this will ensure there is less chance of any misunderstandings as you move further through the process.
Step five: Due diligence
Once you have made your offer, you will usually have between 30 and 60 days to ensure all is correct and in place before you move ahead with the purchase. It’s always important to make sure that you have your trusted solicitor arrange a survey and building inspections on your property. Should any issues then be found, you will be able to pull out without incurring any financial damages. Providing all that is found is satisfactory to you, at this point, you will be able to move ahead with your purchase and move ahead to sign the deeds for your property.
Step six: Deposit
Once all of the above has been completed and you are happy to move ahead, you will sign the contract. This will confirm the date you expect to complete on the property, and it is at this point that you will need to pay the deposit for your new home.
Step seven: Completion
Before completion, we recommend you arranging property insurance and paying all and any necessary property taxes – it’s a good idea to speak to an expert tax professional in Australia.
At completion you will usually sign both the title deeds and the mortgage deed (if you are using one for the purchase). If you are unable to be present in Australia for this signing, you can arrange for your solicitor to have power of attorney – but this must be organised within good time.
You must ensure that all your funds are in place, as it is at this point that they will be transferred to the vendor, and you will receive the keys to your new home! If these payments are being made from another country, talk this through with a currency specialist such as Halo Financial, so you can ensure you are protecting the funds for your property purchase from exchange rate uncertainty and get the best rate available.