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How can I buy Australian property from overseas?

By Rich Harvey, CEO, propertybuyer.com.au

With Australia's rich property market currently experiencing a wonderful period of growth and Sydney leading the way, it's no surprise that there is a lot of overseas interest in Sydney property. But how do you go about getting involved?

Are there extra fees involved?

When you buy property in Australia from overseas, you have to apply to the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB). Generally, applications must be for redeveloping an old house, buying a unit in a new apartment area, purchasing land or investing in a new home. There are exceptions to this, which are available on the FIRB website. However, there are no fees for applying to buy a property in Australia. Once you obtain approval there will be regular home buying fees involved. Some states have passed laws enabling e-conveyancing, which means you can handle some of this process electronically.

Do I need a visa to buy in Australia?

Not necessarily. If you wish to be an owner-occupier then you will need to apply for a visa to become a resident, but they are not required in applications for investment property.

How long does the process take?

Usually the process of applying for the FIRB does not take longer than 30 days, and with the right knowledge by your side in the form of a buyers agent, the house hunting process will not take long either. Sydney has a constantly growing housing market, with new homes being built all of the time - prime targets for overseas investors.

How do I get involved in the housing market from overseas?

When you want to invest from overseas, it can be difficult to determine the best places to buy, or even to make stable contact to close deals. A buyers agent will act on the ground on your behalf, representing your desires and interests. With a detailed knowledge of the market and access to properties before they are publicly listed, they can keep in touch with you daily and negotiate the best price on the best property for you. When you apply to invest here you're required to have a specific property in mind, so it is important to have this organised well  in advance.

Buying property in another country can seem like a daunting task, but with the right help from a buyers agent you will find the process as simple as buying a house down the road.

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