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Buying Property In Sydney – A Guide For Expats

Buy Property in Sydney as an Expat

It goes without saying that buying real estate, especially in a global city like Sydney, is not a simple straightforward process. There are so many things to organise and be aware of as a property buyer and equally as many things can go wrong as can go right.

Strictly speaking you don’t need to get help when buying a property. When it comes to purchasing a home or investment property people often opt to go it alone and do everything themselves.

As an expat though, living overseas and trying to co-ordinate everything from abroad means that time zone differences amongst many other things can further complicate matters.

No matter which camp you sit in, when it comes to buying property don’t underestimate the importance of planning, doing your homework and assessing the size and scale of what is involved.

Doing It Yourself

If you decide to tackle buying a property in Sydney all by yourself while based overseas, then at the very least you need to make sure you know exactly what is required and how and when you need to do things.

Also, have a plan in place to deal with the consequences if things don’t quite go to plan. If problems occur, deal with them early and make sure you get back on track quickly if any surprises come along.

If you’re worried you might be biting off a bit more than you can chew then don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Assemble A Great Team

If you’re an expat planning on buying a property in Sydney and want to minimise the risk of things going wrong, then here a few people you might benefit from having on your side.

  1. Mortgage broker

Getting your finances sorted early in your property buying journey is something I highly recommend. In my view, this sets the foundations for everything else that follows from thereon. Not the least of which is how much you can borrow.

Now if you are lucky enough that you don’t require finance then you can skip this section and move on to the next. If not, then please keep reading.

Once you know how much money you can comfortably borrow from a lender you can then work out what you can afford to buy, but more specifically what sort of property is in your reach and in what locations.

The standout mortgage brokers I know will get the very best finance deal for your individual situation and circumstances. They will survey the entire market for you and match you with a lender who will provide you with the best products and service, bar none. In addition, they will liaise with the lender on your behalf to ensure the property buying process flows smoothly and there are no hiccups along the way.

A great mortgage broker will ease your workload and take a huge weight off your mind, which is a blessing when you think about how stressful the process of buying a property can be, let alone when you are trying to do it from half way around the world.

  1. Buyers advocate

This expert can help you with more than you might think. Think of them as the captain and coach of your team. An exclusive buyers agent can help you with just about everything to do with buying a property.

They will help you define and fine tune your brief, determine where is the right location for you to buy and what does the right property for you look like. They will also weed out the sub-par properties so you side step the money traps. Once the right property is found they will advocate on your behalf when it comes to negotiating or bidding at auction to ensure you don’t pay too much for a property.

As well as being an astute negotiator, an exclusive buyers agent can help you assemble your entire team.  From putting you in touch with a good mortgage broker, connecting you with the best solicitor on the ground, co-ordinating all necessary due diligence reports and even helping you find a removalist down the track if needed.

  1. Solicitor or conveyancer

This is another vital person to have on your team. For the record, it is important you know there is very big difference between a good and bad solicitor.

Your solicitor will review the sale contract, make relevant enquiries with the vendors solicitor on your behalf and advise you on possible changes or amendments to the contract for sale of land.

They will also liaise with your lender after exchange of contracts and keep you updated right the way through to settlement of the property. In essence, they will have your back from start to end and be totally focused on your interests and protecting you.

I have seen even the calmest and most composed of characters come unstuck when it comes to buying their own home. But purchasing your dream home while located in another country adds a while other dynamic to the situation.

Take my word for it. Don’t underestimate what is involved when buying property as an expat. Get help if you need it.

If you live overseas and are thinking about buying a property in Sydney why not get in touch with one of our buyers agents and pick their brains to see if you are on the right track. What have you got to lose?


Shelley Horton is the founder of Sydney based exclusive buyers agency Albion Avenue. With a 20 year career honing her skills in every aspect of the property industry Shelley knows what makes a property worth buying and how to get the best deal. 

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