Your Ultimate Guide to Moving to Australia
So, you’re thinking about buying property in Australia? Maybe you’re retiring overseas, buying property as an investment or starting a new life with the family. If you’re not sure what it involves, check out our guide.
One – Whereabouts?
Start your research a good couple of years before you plan to move to Australia. Look into what it takes to get your Australian visa sorted – some can take up to two years to be granted. Plan an early-days trip to get a feel for things, and let your family know about your plans.
Make sure you’re moving to an area that best suits your needs. Do you want to be in the town or country, or by the sea? Do you want a community feel or want to be out on your own? Is public transport important? What are the amenities like? Consider schools, leisure and culture. If you’re buying as an investment, you might want a property that you can easily rent out as a holiday home, and sell on without too much trouble. Once you know where you’re going, put your house on the market – best to do this about ten months before you plan to move to make sure everything goes through OK.
Two – Get The Right Advice
Buying property abroad can be a stressful experience, so use qualified professionals you can trust to help you through it, and make sure they’ve got an official license. You’ll also need to get your head around all the regulations covering issues like tax, wills and insurance, so a lawyer well versed in such matters would also be a good bet. If you choose to go it alone, make sure you’re on top of these issues as well others, like your passport (does it exceed two years?), medicals, pension and everything needed to leave your current home – notice on contracts, utility bills etc, and packing and shipping.
Three – The House Hunt
Oh yes, the actual house. Nearly forgot about that. When it comes to buying in Oz, pick an estate agent carefully, check their history and make sure you’re clear on what fees they charge. Make sure you know your budget, so you won’t torture yourself or waste time with properties you can’t afford. And when looking for properties, put away that laptop! There really is no substitute for booking a flight and spending a good chunk of time viewing properties in person; that’s the only way you’ll get a real feel for the place. If you’re buying as an investment, look out for bargains in areas where prices have fallen. Find out how much you could make by checking what the going rate is for rental on similar properties.
Four – Education and Jobs
Start applying for jobs down under eight months before your ideal moving date. It may sound like a long while, but that gives plenty of time to find jobs you’re interested it, to go through the application process, for any clearances to be granted and for you to see out your notice period.
If you’ve got children, tell their schools at least six months in advance that you plan to move to Australia. With the Australian school year running from January to December, provision should be made for the time difference.
Five – Mortgage
Unless you can afford to purchase outright, you’ll need a mortgage. The most popular option is to remortgage your current home to buy your new property in Australia. Just beware that problems making repayments could result in you losing your home, so having a job lined up would clearly make life easier in that regard.
It’s possible to borrow from a UK bank to buy overseas property, but generally only if they’ve got an office in Australia. Or you can borrow abroad, taking out an overseas mortgage through a specialist broker. As with getting a mortgage in the UK, you’ll need to provide paperwork that proves you can afford to pay. Make sure you have everything you need filed away ready for inspection.
Six – Currency Exchange
You may want to transfer money to a bank account in Australia to pay the deposit (at least 10% of the purchase price). It may seem easier to ask your bank to make the transfer, but they won’t give you the best exchange rates. It’s worth exploring the options foreign exchange companies can give you.
For example, World First gives you the best rates on transfers, and can help protect you against fluctuations in currency values. And they won’t charge you a transfer fee. You can transfer immediately using the best available spot rate, or if you know when the balance is due, you can fix the rate in advance using forward contracts. This way, you’ll know exactly how much will arrive at the destination when it’s time to pay, making it easier to budget. If you want any more information on currency exchange, click www.worldfirst.com and see how much you could save. It could run into thousands!