Although Australia is ranked as one of the best expat destinations in the world, personal finance can be a struggle for many expats, with 19 percent of them unhappy with their financial situation, according to the 2019 Expat Insider Australia Report. One of the main reasons that the cost of living in Australia is high is the rising rents and home prices, particularly in the major cities. Whether you are renting or buying a home, prices are noticeably higher than in most other parts of the world, mainly because the demand for housing is higher than supply in most parts of the country. Luckily, there are a few tricks expats can use to find a home in Australia at a more affordable price.
Work with a Reliable Buyer’s Agent
If you are looking to get a great deal on a property, your best bet is to work with a buyer’s agent. Even though this will cost you more than using a regular agent, you’ll be getting an agent who’s representing your interests alone, including finding a suitable property, negotiating on your behalf, and obtaining inspection reports to ensure that your investment is a good one. A good buyer’s agent will have local market knowledge that can’t be bought, providing you with all the information you need to make a prudent purchase. Some agents may also have access to off-market properties, which can come in handy in highly competitive markets.
Newer is not Always Better
The construction industry in Australia is booming, and new homes are being built every day. However, if you want to find a cheap home, you’ll need to ignore the new homes, and instead find a property that, as realtors say, ‘needs a bit of work’. If you look hard enough, you’ll find an old home that you can buy at a cheap price and renovate into your dream home. However, you’ll need a lot of patience and help from various professionals, including a lawn and tree service to get rid of overgrown trees and landscape your outdoor space, a contractor to restore the structural integrity of the house, a painter, a plumber, an electrician, and other professionals depending on how much work is needed to restore the home to tiptop condition.
Choose your Location Wisely
One mistake that expats make when moving to Australia is settling in the major cities when they can barely afford it. Sydney, the city that most expats dream of living in when they get to Australia, is the 20th most expensive city in the world in terms of rent, according to statistics by Numbeo. The other major cities – Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Canberra and Adelaide – are not far behind. If you want an affordable home, ignore the major cities if you can, and instead look for homes in more affordable cities like Gold Coast, Darwin or Hobart. If you don’t mind living in rural areas, you can get homes on sale for as low as $50,000.
Finding a home when moving to Australia is a huge decision that can impact how comfortable you are in your new home and how successful your relocation is. By choosing a more affordable neighbourhood to live in, working with a buyer’s agent who’s got your back, and seeking out older homes, you can find a good home without digging too deep into your pocket.