All foreigners who are residing legally in Australia are eligible to buy property in the country. However, it is essential to get permission from Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB). The FIRB may take 4 to 5 months to give you the permission that you seek. However, if you are married to an Australian citizen, then you don’t any permission whatsoever, and there would be absolutely no restrictions on you buying property in Australia.
While buying property in Australia, you should reserve 5 to 7% of the price of the property on the extra expenses likely to be incurred. These expenses include, the Land Transfer Registration fee, which depends on in which state the property is located, government texts, pest inspection fee, Strata inspection fee, Survey fee, Building insurance and so on. Add to that, your legal expenses would cost around 1% of the property price. Also, it is a good idea to hire an independent representative in the country to survey the various properties for sale for you, if you cannot visit them yourself, before deciding on the one you wish to buy.
As discussed earlier, as a foreigner, you need to seek approval from the FIRB before buying property in the country. It is also essential to hire the services of a professional solicitor who is well versed in the real estate laws of Australia. Your solicitor would handle all the transactions and ensure that your residency permits are in-line with what is expected from a foreign buyer of property and ensures that your application for the FIRB approval is presented the right way. It also helps to consult an immigration law specialist as well before buying property in Australia so that you can be sure that you have left nothing to chance. If you would like to apply for a mortgage to finance the purchase then it is essential to provide proper proofs of income, residency permits and so on. Also, you will be expected to make a down payment of 20% of the purchase price.
You are liable to pay income tax if you have stayed in Australia for over 6 months. And any proceeds on the sale of the property, if you decide to sell it later, will be subjected to capital gains tax. So it would be useful to consult with a tax specialist as well. Finally, if you decide to sell the property later and buy another property in Australia, you will have to reapply for the FIRB permit – which is something that most foreigners in Australia really resent.