Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Moving to Australia – Buying a House in Australia

If you are moving to Australia on a permanent basis, whether for work, the endless sunshine or to be closer to family or friends, then at some stage you may decide to buy a property. Buying a home in Australia however, is not something you should enter into lightly.  There are major decisions to be made – such as where to buy and what sort of property might suit your needs. It can take a while to adjust to an international move, getting used to the new way of life, culture and dramatically different weather. So many migrants, when moving to Australia, choose to rent for a while in an area they like the feel of, to see if  they feel comfortable. Then once they have settled in to their new life in Australia, they will then go on to buy a property.

As with the housing stock in the UK, there are a number of different architectural styles in Australia that date from separate times in the country's history. Their Victorian era is of course, the same as ours, dating from1840 - 1890 but from then on, things change a little. The Federation Era is relatively short, spanning just 22 years, from 1891 to 1913. Then there came the war years , 1914-1945, the post-war years 1946-1959 and finally, the contemporary years, those lasting from 1960 right up to the present day. Read on for more information on the types of property that were born in the different architectural eras.

Victorian Era 1840 – 1890

Much like the Victorian era in England, Australian houses were built on a grand scale and built to last. You will notice the build style is very similar, if not the same as Victorian houses in England.

Federation 1891 – 1913

Houses built in the Federation Era, tended to be slightly more Asian in appearance. Spires and pitched roofs were fluted with more ornate tiling and this was combined sometimes with mock Tudor décor.

War 1914 – 1945

The war years gave rise to a good many functional rather than pretty or ornate bungalows. During this time, when money and resources were needed to help with the war effort, houses needed to be built quickly, efficiently and cheaply. Less time and money was available for attention to detail.

Post-war 1946 – 1959

Post war building saw the return of 2 and 3 storey homes, less ornate than before but more interesting than those produced during the war years.

Contemporary 1960 – present. This era saw the building of two styles of home. The project style and the custom built style. Project style homes were built to a set plan and the custom built house was built to a unique design.

The process of buying a property in Australia

Houses for sale in Australia are listed with estate agents or sold by auction, as is the case in the UK. Holding an “open house” is a common method of sale in Australia and one that UK home buyers are becoming more  familiar with. What happens is, the estate agent arranges a time with the home owner, usually at a weekend, when the property will be available to view, they then invite any interested parties to view it in that time frame.
A useful suggestion to anyone who is new to the Australian property market, is to spend a few days visiting open homes to get acquainted with the property market in the areas you are interested in.

Having located a home that is of interest to you, it is recommended that you arrange to have a building and pest inspection carried out and a valuation report for mortgage purposes. If the results come through favourably, your next step is to make an offer to the agents or to bid for the house at the auction.

As with the UK, all offers are made via the estate agent who puts them in writing to the owner and while the owner weighs up which offer to accept, the property remains on the market. You may make an offer on a property, subject to the title search coming back satisfactorily or conditional on the valuation coming back OK. If any of the reports do not come back satisfactorily, you are free to withdraw your offer but assuming they come back fine, you will then be expected to pay a 10% deposit and the contract to buy and sell becomes legally binding. The house then becomes yours on payment of the full balance on a specified and mutually agreed date.

The process of bidding at auction on a property in Australia

Most auctions in Australia are conducted with a view to achieving a higher selling price for the owner. Very few Australian property auctions are designed to sell property cheaply, so this is not generally the place to bargain hunt.

Home owners will set a reserve price and if this price is not achieved they will simply withdraw their property from the auction. It is not uncommon, in an auction situation, for the sellers to instruct the auctioneer to bid on their behalf, falsely increasing the sale price.

Auctions may be held at the property itself, during a specially arranged auction day or at the auctioneer’s offices. The successful bidder will be expected to pay 10% on the day and risks losing that money if he subsequently defaults on paying the balance.

It is important to note that in Australia, the conveyancing system differs from state to state. This should always be carried out by a qualified solicitor.

Financing your Australian property purchase

Mortgage money lending multiples vary from lender to lender in Australia with most lenders using your salary level to determine which multiple they will use. The average lending rate stands at 4.5 – 5 times joint pre-tax salary but this does vary so it helps as in the UK, to shop around.

First Home Owner Grant

If you are buying a home in Australia for the first time, you are entitled to the “First Home Owner Grant”. This is a Government grant of $7000 AusD, which is paid directly to the purchaser and does not require paying back. It is not available for land purchases.

Moving Partnership Ltd can assist customers in moving to their new Australian property. If you are moving to Australia and have not yet located a home, then Moving Partnership Ltd can arrange easy access storage for your belongings. Removals to Australia  - click here for full information on our Australia removals service