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Australian Expat Stories : Purchasing an Australian Investment Property while Living Abroad

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In our series on Australian Expat stories, find out how professional photographer and Australian Expat, Sam Wordley, managed the process of finding and purchasing an Australian investment property while living abroad.

Why Did You Want to Purchase An Australian Investment Property?

I wanted to leverage my income and get a foothold in the Australian property market to ensure I wasn’t priced out of the market when I return to Australia down the track.

How did you find the property?

I decided that I wanted to purchase an investment property in my home town of Adelaide as the property market had been flat there for some time.  I contacted a Buyer’s Agent in Adelaide (who I had known for years) and provided him the criteria that I was looking for.   The Buyer’s Agent then came back with about ten options for me to consider.

How was the Buyer’s Agent remunerated and what did the Buyer’s Agent do for you?

I negotiated the fee in advance for the buyer’s agents services.  In return the Buyer’s Agent provided the following services :

  • researched properties on the market that met my investment criteria
  • negotiated contract and price reduction on the preferred property
  • coordinated the relevant building inspections
  • reviewed the strata documentation
  • put me in touch with a settlement agent and mortgage broker



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What did you purchase?

I purchased a 2 bedroom apartment in a suburb called Ashford, which should experience strong rental demand due to its close proximity to the main hospital in Adelaide.   The apartment was already tenanted when I purchased it, and so I didn’t need to worry about any vacancy period after settlement.  The apartment needs to be renovated which I will organise when the current tenant decides to move on.

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Was it difficult managing the purchase of an Australian Investment Property from overseas?

The entire process went quite smoothly and was managed via a combination of internet, scanning, emailing, and fax.  The only major complication was signing the mortgage documents with my lender.  As the bank required the original mortgage documents to be witnessed by specific categories of people, I needed to go the Australian Embassy in Madrid to have my signature witnessed by staff working there.  If I was living in a city where there was no Australian Embassy, things may then have got even more complicated.

What tips do you have for Australian Expats that are thinking about purchasing an Australian Investment Property back home while living abroad?

  1. Get A Buyers Agent : Unless you have a friend that you trust that is willing to do a lot of running around for you, for your own peace of mind, I would recommend using a Buyer’s Agent.
  2. Manageable Financial Commitments : Make sure your financial commitments for the property are manageable in light of your overseas income and fluctuations in foreign currency.

Update : July 2016.  Please note that obtaining finance to purchase an Australian Investment Property is increasingly becoming more difficult whilst living abroad.  More information can be found in our article titled Australian Banks Restrict Loans to Non Residents.

Sam Wordley is a 30 something Australian Photographer that loves to travel and take photos.  In the last 15 years he has lived and worked in New York, London, Los Angeles, Sydney, and now finds himself in Madrid (Spain) after meeting his now Spanish wife.  He has worked for newspapers including The Sun, The London Times, and The New York Post.  In Madrid, Sam works as a commercial and editorial photographer and loves creating images that can really tell a story or sell a product.  Find out more about Sam at www.popmemories.com and www.photographywordley.wix.com/samwordley.

Wanting to Buy Your Own Australian Investment Property?


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Disclaimer : This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute financial or taxation advice. As this information is not advice and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness for your circumstances. Independent advice should be obtained from an Australian financial services licensee before making investment decisions, and a registered (tax) financial advisor/accountant in relation to taxation decisions. To the extent permitted by law, we exclude all liability for any loss or damage arising in any way.  We may receive referral commissions from companies mentioned in this article.

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About the author


Craig is an Australian Expat and the founder of The Australian Expat Investor. Craig is passionate about investing, and while Craig cannot give personal financial or tax advice, Craig enjoys sharing investing, tax, and other tips for Australian expats to help them to build their wealth while living abroad and get the most out of their time living overseas. Get his free ebook on 9 Financial Surprises That Could Cost Australian Expats Thousands of Dollars

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