How to Own a Property in Australia – an Overview for Singaporeans

Australia is often the country of choice, but it is not the easiest place to acquire real-estate if you are a foreign citizen.

A lot of Singaporeans consider buying a property somewhere overseas. Australia is often the country of choice, but it is not the easiest place to acquire real-estate if you are a foreign citizen. There are numerous legislation rules and procedures that you need to follow in order to successfully purchase a property there. This article will give you a rough estimate of what needs to be done before you can finalize a property deal in Australia.

The Foreign Investment Review Board

In the land down under, The Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) is the main body that regulates foreign citizen property purchases. All of the applications for residential properties will have to be approved by the board before you can make a final purchase, unless you hold a permanent visa or are an approved migrant. This applies to all residential properties, regardless of their construction status – it doesn’t matter whether the property is still in its planning phase or already constructed, the boys at FIRB need to say yes in order to proceed. And they won’t say yes if they have reason to believe you are buying the property to make an easy buck (that includes renting it out or speculating on the future price level) either. That essentially means you can only buy a property in Australia for residential and long-term investment purposes. For further information and online application, you can visit FIRB’s website.

How to proceed?

You will usually find out if your application was approved within a month from your application date. Now how to proceed when you get approved? You can’t do all the necessary work yourself, especially the legal part. That means you will need legal assistance from an Australian solicitor. Finding one should be easy enough, but be aware of Australian law – it is a bit tricky. The solicitor must have a license to carry out real estate transactions in the state where you want to purchase your property, so choosing the state you wish to live in is something you need to decide on before starting the search.

Finding a Mortgage Broker and an Agent

Getting a good mortgage broker will be very important in your  hunt for a property. Finding one that has experience with home loan applications for foreigners can save you a considerable amount of both time and money. He will be able to assist you with selecting the mortgage package that will serve you best in the years to come. When comes to choosing an agent, make sure you are aware of the fees and negotiate the price structure before entering an agreement. If you intend not to use an agent, do get a valuation on the property to prevent yourself from overpaying.

Finalising your buy

Once your legal aid has advised you that it is safe to proceed with the contract exchange, you will need to put down a deposit. This is normally 10% of the property price agreed between the seller and buyer, but it may differ. Remember to add a clause states ‘subjected to FIRB approval‘ is included in the contract of sales as it is a requirement done by FIRB. Once the contract has been finalised and signed, forward a copy of it to the FIRB. They will take about 30 days to process your contract. Your bank will only send you the loan documents after your formal approval by the FIRB.

Property buying in Australia as an investment is fairly restricted compared to getting a property or home in Singapore. Therefore, if you are planning to buy a property in Australia for your kids to live while they are studying,  will be a much acceptable reason for your  application approval. Be aware that different states in Australia practice different home buying regulations. Taking all discussed aspects  into consideration, doing your research  precisely into the selected state  prior to initiation will save your time, money and effort.

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