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Read this Before You Apply to FIRB for Aussie Property or Hate Yourself Later

By Craig Sharp

It’s easy to see why so many foreign people want to buy residential real estate in Australia.  When you think about it, the lifestyle certainly is enviable and alot of us take it for granted.  We have the best beaches in the world and lots of wide open spaces.

Our family lives in the city of Brisbane in Queensland “The Sunshine State”.  We have one of the top universities of the world on our doorstep at UQ (University of Queensland) St Lucia campus.  The CBD is accessible quickly and easily by car, bus or train.  Car-parking costs in Brisbane city are relatively cheap compared to Sydney.  Restaurants and luxury retail stores are in abundance and within walking distance.  Then when we want to go to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world for a couple of hours we just need to decide between the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast or Byron Bay which is only 2 hours south!

If you’re thinking about buying property in Australia, these are the 3 things you really need to know before you seek approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board.

  1. What is the specific property you wish to buy?  You must apply for a specific property. Currently there is no such thing as a pre approved real estate purchase by an overseas person buying Australian property.  Don’t know where you want to buy?  Check out Australia as a tourist first via Lonely Planet , or Sunlover Holidays . Then when you have more idea of where you want to buy you can check out the local property portals like raywhite.comREIQ.com and Australia’s biggest real estate portal, realestate.com.au
  2. I always wondered why overseas owners left their properties empty and now I have the answer!  Only brand new property purchased by an overseas entity can be rented out so if you are looking at a property that is second hand (we call these residential resale properties), currently the situation is that you cannot rent it out. The FIRB would regard a purchase of second hand residential real estate as your “Principal Place of Residence” – not an investment property (hence, so many empty homes sit around year in year out).
  3. If you’re buying a brand new residential property from a developer who already has FIRB pre approved to sell to foreign investors you will not be required to make an application according to the FIRB website.

See you in Australia soon!

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