K-L’s Tips for expat property buyers in Australia

Guest post by K-L Clinton

K-LSo you’re an Expat and loving your new career and lifestyle in Singapore but you are still keen to own a patch of Australian soil. Finding the perfect property when you are living overseas takes time and energy and if not handled well can be a highly stressful, expensive and emotional experience. Read on and learn how to take the risk out and put the fun back into buying property in Australia.

Coastal property prices are 30% lower

Currently in Australia there are many opportunities available and some great properties can be found if you are careful, canny and take time to do your research. This is obviously made a lot easier if you have someone on the ground working for you. Coastal properties from Noosa in Queensland to Sorrento in Victoria are 30 – 40% lower than the inflated prices of a few years ago. As sellers have finally adjusted to the current markets prices we have seen prices continuing to drop as we work with our buyers.

Australian investment property with high rental yields

Over the past few weeks we have seen a rise in auction clearance rates and a steady increase in home loan approvals. Stock in good proximity to the CBD is now starting to move quicker in capital cities like Brisbane. Quality two bedroom units in excellent locations are being sourced and sold to the astute investor for as little as $380,000. With high rental yields this is a solid capital investment and always appealing to Expats who are looking for a property that brings in a consistent rental income.

 Property action plan

  • ¬†Create a wish list of which state or suburb your dream home / apartment / bush retreat / beach house should be in. For example when planning for a future return to Australia be mindful of buying a property that ticks all the boxes. Choosing the right suburb and community is essential. Would you like to be close to public transport, within a 5 km radius to schools, shops, cafes and parks?


  • Do you prefer a peaceful, rural location with abundant natural light and plenty of land to grow your own vegetables and build a chook run? This is an important decision and you want to get it right! Is this a lifestyle buy or a future residence for when you return home?


  • Or are you a potential investor looking to capitalise on the market and build your investment portfolio? Do you want to renovate, restore or just revamp and rent out? Make sure you budget for any possible improvements needed.


  • Is the property being re-listed or set at an unrealistic price? Is the property going to auction? Can you attend the auction? You may prefer to send a buyers agent to bid on your behalf. If bidding you must register on the day and it is necessary to show some sort of ID. But most important of all, set a price point and stick to it!


  • What is the current rental yield and what are the vacancy rates for similar properties in the area? Allow a provision for soft costs – legal’s, insurance and stamp duty. Body Corporate fees and outgoings need to be assessed and budgeted for and also view the Strata register for any immediate or future works planned for the building.


Buying property in Australia at auction

Your Mortgage Broker or Bank can organise the finance based on the expected price range, but allow time to get the paperwork and pre-approval signed off. It is essential to have all your finances in place prior to the auction. On the fall of the hammer there is no cooling off period and you will have to pay 10% deposit of the purchase price and sign the contract. Time to celebrate? The property is almost yours as the contract is generally settled in 42 days.

If the property is for sale by Private Treaty, allow time for building inspections and pest reports to be completed before making an offer – these tasks can be arranged by your buyers agent as well as the final offer and negotiation. With Spring upon us and consumer confidence showing signs of improvement it’s time for the opportunistic buyer to jump off the fence!

With some sound advice and plenty of research including a comprehensive personal property plan you are now ready to start looking for your new property.It always helps if your have a good buyer agent in your corner. So good luck and please don’t hesitate to contact us for any assistance.

“By Katie-Louise Clinton”

2 thoughts on “K-L’s Tips for expat property buyers in Australia

  1. Thank you so much for the Property action plan, very useful. I’m making mine right now. Where does Buying Houses Australia think is the best return on rental yield in Sydney? Love to have your feedback, thanks.

    • That is a very good question and depends with what sector you are looking to invest in. Take residential property, typically you could expect a rental return of 3.5 – 4.5%. So the key will be to buy in a suburb that has good future capital growth prospects. If you are looking at the commercial sector then returns with a good long term tenant will be around 7%. The higher the chance of some periods of vacancy will generally drive up the return. Remember the old investment maxim, higher risk = higher returns.

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