Buying land or a house in Australia

Buying land or a house in Australia

Many families purchase their own home as soon as they arrive in Australia, as this provides a more settled and permanent feeling than renting.

So what to look out for .

Each State in Australia is probably larger than the country you have just left and the transport system is likely to be inferior. In some European countries, you can pick an ideal spot of countryside and commute quickly and easily by car, train or bus to the town or city of your employment. In Australia, usually a heavenly location for a home is only close to one or two centres of employment. There are exceptions, but my advice is to firstly find the work and then find the home.

Many countries are governed by one set of legislation pertaining to the transfer of ownership from one person to another. It is comparatively simple to employ a solicitor or conveyancer in one part of the country and have them handle a sale or purchase many miles away.

However, each State in Australia has different legislation regarding the transfer of real estate. This results in widely different forms, systems, charges and, of course, methods of doing business.
Solicitors who operate in border towns between two States mainly have in-house expertise which allows them to handle matters in either State, but elsewhere there is a problem.

As producers of legal kits for conveyancing, we often receive orders from solicitors who wish to buy kits covering States other than their own.They want to find out how to handle interstate conveyancing matters on behalf of clients. Most solicitors, however, will enlist the services of a brother practitioner in the other State. This may, on occasions, double the cost and the time frame for the purchase.

So, if Joe or Jane in Melbourne wishes to buy a house or land in Queensland that they have inspected and like, they should look in the Yellow Pages directory of the relevant State and pick a solicitor to deal directly with. They may make their first contact with a solicitor when they inspect the property. Tell the firm that there are intentions to buy, and details will be sent later. This cuts out a middleman thus saving time and money. There are excellent communication streams available which enable this process.

Alternatively, it is possible to purchase conveyancing kits written specific to the State of your choice and save $1000 or more for just a couple of hours work. Some of the kits are very clear and provide useful telephone support. Some are even recommended by Government departments. The kits provide contracts, forms, addresses and examples — the whole lot! There is not much work involved with conveyancing now — phones, faxes, internet searching etc, can be done from your desk.

Whilst there are differences between States in all cases, the actual process of conveyancing is quite simple and the Government offices offer very helpful advice.

Some tips on buying a house:

Never use the law firm suggested to you by the real estate agent or builder. It may be possible to save a few hundred dollars by doing so, but don’t.

Be careful about buying a house ‘off the plan’ without ensuring regular visits to inspect the progress and that the workmanship is acceptable. There are building regulations and government departments designed to keep builders accountable, but trying to get redress for a bad job will reduce you to tears.