Archive for the ‘Visa Status’ Category

Australian Mortgages: 5 Important Tips For Non-Residents

August 26th, 2012 58 Comments
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5 Australian mortgage tips for non-residentsThe mortgage landscape in Australia may differ to that of your own country. The laws and regulations are different and the process itself may involve steps you are unaware of and unprepared for.

Here are five tips to help you on the way to owning your own Australian property or real estate.

1. Make sure you prepare all necessary documents

When applying for a loan you need to make sure you have all your documents prepared such as tax returns, payslips or an employment letter, and bank statements.

As you are not an Australian resident you may also need other things such as your passport and proof of your visa status.

If you do not provide these documents the banks are unable to assess your situation and will decline your application.

2. You will need Government approval

Australian Citizens and permanent residents do not have to apply for approval. However as a non-resident or temporary resident you need to contact the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) to obtain permission to purchase Australian real estate.

3. Have your loan pre-approved!

Pre-approval is very important as it removes a lot of risk when looking for a home. Without pre-approval you do not know whether you are eligible to borrow. You may end up spending a lot of time searching, only to miss the property you desire because your loan application did not go through in time or is declined altogether.

4. Have the right professionals ready to help

Without the right help buying property in Australia can be next to impossible. A conveyancer is needed in order to transfer title (ownership) of the property. Remember that your conveyancer must be licensed in the same state as the property..

You can also use a solicitor, however be aware that unlike a conveyancer, they may not specialise in the laws and regulations that surround the purchase and sale of a home or investment property.

5. Apply through a mortgage broker!

As they work with many different banks and lenders, a broker can pick and choose who to apply to. They know their lending policies, and can determine whether or not a specific bank will decline your loan.

Once they have determined the best lending candidate they mediate for you. Not only do they apply where you are most likely to be approved, more lenders to apply to means they may also be able to find you better deals with lower rates.

For most residential loans their services are also FREE as the lenders, not you, pay mortgage brokers for their services.

A mortgage broker is basically essential to the process. You can apply directly to a bank yourself, however brokers offer you a far greater chance of approval and of a better deal than if you apply directly to a bank or lender.

Apply online today!

Are you a foreigner or expatriate looking to finance property in Australia? You can find out more in the non-resident mortgage section of our parent website, the Home Loan Experts.

Do you have a property in mind? Then contact us today on 1300 363 843 (+61 2 8668 4038 when outside Australia), or enquire online.

Financial Management In Australia

April 23rd, 2011 27 Comments
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The Australian banking system works in much the same way as the banking system in other industrialized nations throughout the world. It is easy to get in touch with representatives of the bank, and in most cases the banks are used to working with immigrants who do not speak English.

Concerns You May Be Facing

If you are the type of person who spends a great deal of their time moving from one location to another across the globe, or if you are moving to the country, you have many different things that you need to keep track of. Not only do you need to physically relocate your possessions and find a place to live, you also need to deal with bureaucratic issues such as making sure that your visa is in working order.

In addition to all of these concerns, it is also important to make sure that your financial situation is properly taken care of. This covers everything from opening an Australian bank account to ensuring that all of your payments are made on time. Thankfully, the Australian banking industry can help simplify this process and alleviate some of the stress that you might be going through.

The Australian Banking Industry

The banking industry in Australia is one of the most reliable in the world. In fact, the World Economic Forum has rated the Australian banking system second place compared to any other banking system in the world. In addition to bank accounts, banks in Australia offer a wide range of wealth management services. Products that they offer include loans for personal, business, and mortgage purposes. Insurance, investments, credit cards, and financial planning services are also available.

Many of the banks in the country can help you set up your accounts, credit cards, and other financial products even before you move into the country, which makes the process a great deal simpler.

In addition to this, there are international banking teams that you can take advantage of, providing you with access to a staff that can speak a wide variety of languages.

Checking Account

The first place that you will want to start when you move to the country is a simple everyday checking account that you can use for day-to-day transactions like paychecks and grocery shopping. There are several things that you will need to think about before you choose to set up an account.

The first thing that you should look for is a bank that is part of a strong network. The availability of the bank should be widespread so that you will be able to access your account no matter where in Australia you are located. At the very least, you will want access to ATMs that will give you access to your account without needing to pay a fee. Australia is not a small country, so the importance of a national chain should not be understated.

It is also a good idea to deal with a bank that you have access to twenty four hours a day, at least online. Do your research and find out if their telephone and website systems are convenient, easy to use, and offer a wide variety of services. The more you can do with an online system, the more time you can save. This advantage is twofold, because a bank with good automated systems also has more time available for its customers who need to speak with a human being.

Never sign up for a bank account without understanding its fee structure. You might be charged for certain types of transactions, for not having enough money in the account, for over-drafting, or even simply for having an account with the bank. Take a close look at the way you use your bank account before you agree to any fee structure.

Savings Accounts

If you have additional funds that you want to protect from the effects of inflation, it is also a good idea to sign up for a savings account, a certificate of deposit, or a similar financial package. Banks earn money by lending out their customer’s funds in exchange for earned interest. If you open up a savings account, you can earn some of this interest yourself. Be sure to find out what the withdrawal limits and fees are before signing up.

Credit Cards

It is a good idea to have a credit card on hand in order to make emergency payments that you can’t otherwise afford, or to build up your credit rating. Banks in Australia offer the same major credit cards that are available in most countries throughout the world, including MasterCard, Visa, and American Express. They also provide new “contactless” cards, which make it possible for you to buy inexpensive items without needing to enter a PIN number or leave a signature.

Of course, if you are planning to make a larger purchase, it is usually a better idea to take out a loan instead. The interest rates are lower, meaning that the costs are also lower in the long run. If you have enough evidence that you will be able to pay off your loan, there are some banks that will approve you on the same day that you apply.

If you are a new migrant to Australia then you should seek the help of a professional mortgage broker before you take on the commitment of a loan. Borrowing money in a new country is an entirely new ball game, so you need to get advice to avoid making any mistakes.

What is the FIRB?

March 31st, 2011 33 Comments
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FIRB approval for an investment propertyThe Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) examines applications from overseas citizens (This includes those who live in Australia on a 457 Working Visa, and subclass 309 or 820 Temporary Resident Visas) who are looking to invest in property in Australia.
If you are looking to purchase a home to live in or an investment property you may be required to obtain FIRB approval.

Who needs to obtain FIRB approval?
In 2010 the Federal Government of Australia announced new legislation which limits exemptions for foreign citizens and temporary residents looking to purchase property in Australia.
Below is a list of those who are exempt from obtaining FIRB approval:

  • Australian citizens living overseas
  • New Zealand citizens
  • Permanent resident visa holders
  • Anyone who is married or in a de-facto relationship with an Australian citizen (not a Permanent Resident)

Please visit the FIRB website for a complete list of exempt parties.

What type of properties can I purchase?

  • Owner Occupied Property: If you are buying a home then you may be able to buy an established property (one that wasn’t recently built). You will have to sell your property if you move back to your home country or elsewhere in Australia – If you have obtained your permanent residency in the meantime then you will not be required to sell the property.
  • Investment Properties: In most cases the Australian government will approve applications to buy an investment property on the condition that it is a new property (new development or if you buy land and build a property). You can often keep an investment property if you leave Australia.

Applying for permanent residency / citizenship

It is not known by us if owning real estate in Australia in any way affects your application for citizenship. Please refer these questions to your migration agent.

When is FIRB approval required?

You should apply for FIRB “pre-approval” once you have decided to buy a property in Australia; you can then look for a property at your leisure. Your solicitor or conveyancer will usually help you with your application for FIRB approval as part of their normal services.

We recommend that you obtain FIRB pre-approval at the same time as you apply with us for your mortgage pre-approval. To find out more refer to the applying for a loan section of our website.

Do you need help with a loan?

We are mortgage brokers who specialise in financing the purchase of Australian real estate by foreigners, Australians living abroad and people temporarily residing in Australia. This includes those who live in Australia on a 457 Working Visa, and subclass 309 or 820 Temporary Resident Visas.

Please refer to our Non-Resident Finance website for information about the loans that you may qualify for.

Temporary resident mortgage

February 20th, 2011 55 Comments
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Have you recently arrived in Australia and are looking to purchase your own home?

New residents of australiaYou may be disheartened by financial institutions that keep turning you down. The simple reality is that many banks see you as a higher risk because you are not as financially committed to staying in the country as an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident. However not every lender has strict lending policies for foreign citizens living in Australia.

With the right expert advice your dream can actually become your reality! The trick is to speak to a mortgage broker such as The Home Loan Experts, who specialises in temporary resident mortgages, and knows which lenders will approve your loan.

Getting a Pre Approval

A Pre Approval is free! So why not approach a mortgage broker to see if you will qualify for a mortgage in Australia?

Once you have a Pre Approval you can start looking for a property to purchase that you can call home.
There is nothing more discouraging than finding that perfect place and then discovering that you are not able to get a home loan or you are not able to borrow as much as you thought. By sorting out your finances up front you will be free to shop for a property at your leisure.

Do I need FIRB approval to qualify for a mortgage?

Yes, you will have to obtain approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) to acquire formal approval for a mortgage. We recommend you seek FIBR approval at the same time as applying with a mortgage broker for pre approval of your mortgage.

Just like with your home loan, you can get pre approval from the FIRB to buy a property. Please note that as a temporary resident there will be restrictions placed on your purchase. For example if you decide to move back overseas then you may be required to sell the property.

If you are purchasing with an Australian Citizen and you hold either a Partner Temporary Visa (820/801), Partner Visa (826/814), Interdependency/Provisional Visa (310/110), Partner Visa-Temporary/Offshore Visa (309/100) then with some banks their standard lending policy will apply. In this case a loan for 95% LVR (95% of the purchase price) is available and FIRB approval is not required.

However if you are not buying with an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident then lenders may restrict the amount you can borrow because you have less commitment to stay in the country. The most common type of temporary residents that buy a home in Australia on their own are 457 visa holders. For more information please refer to the Temporary Business (Long Stay) page on the Home Loan Experts website.

What happens next?

Once you have found a property that you would like to purchase, and FIRB approval has been granted, you can then make an offer to purchase the property. After your offer is accepted then you will obtain final loan approval, final FIRB approval and will complete your strata (if required), pest and building inspection. The property will normally transfer into your name around six weeks after you sign the contract, depending on which state you are buying in.

Although the process of buying a home can be a little frightening when you are in a new country, you will find the final result is worth the effort. Your conveyancer and mortgage broker will work together to ensure the process is as simple and stress free as possible.

Home Loans for Doctors on a 422 Visa

January 20th, 2011 51 Comments
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Doctors on 422 VisaHome Loans for Doctors on a 422 Visa

Did you know? Despite doctors on 422 Visas being some of the lowest risk customers, most banks will not accept them for a home loan. However, there are some lenders that can consider lending up to 90% of the property value.

Contact a specialist mortgage broker such as The Home Loan Experts to discuss obtaining a home loan as a non-resident doctor on a 422 Visa.

What do Australian Banks Think?

Australian banks favor Doctors of Medicine and Medical Practitioners above all other professions, as doctors have secure employment, high income and are known to be low risk borrowers.

Lenders monitor the performance of their existing customers, and as such know which professions make their payments on time and do not default on their loans. This is why Australian banks are able to provide significant privileges to Medical Professionals for Residential Mortgages – even if you are not a resident of Australia!

However, not all Medical Practitioners are eligible for this special offer, as these discounts are aimed at graduating professionals and those in selected medical professions.

Am I eligible for a 422 Visa Home Loan?

Below is a list of some medical professionals who are accepted:

  • Doctors of Medicine (eg, Anaesthetist, Dermatologist, Gynaecologist, General Practitioners)
  • Dentists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Oncologists
  • Optometrists
  • Cardiologist
  • Surgeons
  • Radiologists
  • Osteopaths
  • Psychiatrists
  • Veterinarians
  • Physiotherapists
  • Radiographers (case by case)
  • Pharmacists (case by case)

Change in Visa Subclass

Following the creation of flexible working arrangements for International Medical Graduates (IMGs) under the 457 visa, the subclass Medical Practitioner (Temporary) Visa (Subclass422) was no longer available for new visa applications from 1 July 2010.

However, this new arrangement does not mean that the 422 visa has expired – you will still be able to use your 422 visa until the end of the visa validity period, you are granted a new visa subclass, or you change your employer sponsor.

Merging the Subclass 422 Visa with the 457 Visa streamlines the process for non-residents and temporary-residents, and reduces confusion as to the appropriate choice of visa.

Note that if you are a Doctor of Medicine or Medical Practitioner on a 457 Visa, specialist mortgage brokers can still assist you with special discounts.

What happens next?

We understand that obtaining your medical degree took a lot of time, effort and money and as such your cash may be a little tight right now. Often it takes time to get a deposit together to buy a home, let alone cover the high cost of Lenders Mortgage Insurance.

Thankfully mortgage brokers have already done the research for you, and automatically know which lender will be best suited to your unique situation. This means, that you will not have to go through all the red tape to find the best deal for you!

Contact a specialist mortgage broker such as The Home Loan Experts to discuss obtaining a home loan as a non-resident doctor on a 422 Visa.

Home Loans with a 457 Visa

April 15th, 2010 40 Comments
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The 457 VISA is the easiest means by which Australia can have access to skilled workers.  These workers are authorized to live in Australia for at least three months to a maximum of four years.  This makes job hunting and living in Australia much easier for foreigners who live and work temporarily in the country.

The question often asked is can 457 visa holders purchase a home in Australia?  Another common question is if these visa holders can likewise apply for a home loan in Australia?  Fortunately the answers to both questions are a resounding yes!

Of course the number one requirement is that FIRB approval is required unless you are exempt.  You will also be required to make a deposit of at least 20%.  These requirements are not hard to fulfil thus, being a foreigner is not at all a hindrance to acquiring a home or getting a home loan.

Some may be even entitled to the FHOG or first home owners grant.  Holders of the 457 visa can loan is up to 80% of the property’s value.  The amounts that the lenders will be willing to loan may vary depending on the amount of time you have already spent in Australia, the stability of your employment, and proof of capacity to pay.  Those who have just come in and started working in Australia may apply for a loan straight away, but they should not expect good rates, as banks and lenders may see these applicants as too much of a risk.

The home loan experts would be happy to assist in your search for the perfect place to live in Australia.  They possess the expertise required in order for the holders of these visas to get a 457 visa mortgage, and enable them to make the most of their stay in Australia and get a property that is worthwhile to live in and invest in.

Purchase Australian Property with FIRB Approval

April 15th, 2010 18 Comments
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There are a lot of instances when purchasing property in Australia has its benefits.  This is true whether you are a foreigner or an Australian citizen.  Investing in property and real estate and Australia is often low risk as value of property is constantly on the rise.

However certain steps must be taken before a loan can be made.  First and foremost Foreign Investment Regulatory Board (FIRB) approval is often necessary unless you fall under the exceptions.  There are several exceptions.

First and foremost an Australian citizen living approval does not need FIRB approval.  Where your spouse is Australian, and you are purchasing a house to live in as joint tenants you likewise need not ask for FIRB approval.  Residents of New Zealand are likewise exempt, and if you hold a permanent resident visa you need not seek any approval.

Temporary residents on the other hand are exempt when purchasing single blocks of vacant land, or new dwellings.  Purchasing a second hand dwelling to live in is also exempt, or even purchasing new dwelling as long as they are pre approved to be sold to foreign citizens.

If you fall within these exemptions, that is one less process to worry about.

Whether or not you need FIRB approval is one thing, while another item for those trying to get a loan is how much of a loan they can get.  Australian citizens living abroad can generally get up to 95% LVR with LMI.  This is the same maximum for those with foreign spouses either working abroad or working in Australia.  Temporary residents working in Australia on the other hand can get up to 85% LVR, while foreign nationals who live and work abroad can get up to 80% of the total property value.

Investing and buying real estate is a genuine opportunity to make a wise investment.  As long as all the requirements such as FIRB approval and the necessary documents are submitted, it shouldn’t be hard at all for a foreigner to get a loan to purchase the property they would like in Australia.

Investing in Real Estate Down Under

March 26th, 2010 23 Comments
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There is no question that Australia is a land of opportunity.  The huge continent is home to a small population that has yet to fully take advantage of the country’s real estate potential.  Recent news suggests that the housing market in the United States has hit an all time low, with housing prices and purchasing down and out. This makes Australia an ideal alternative to invest in. The diversity of the country and the constant rising prices of real estate, the rich natural resources, and the diverse and beautiful areas to choose from make Australia an ideal option for multiple investments in real estate.
The nice thing about this fact is that foreigners may freely invest in Australia, all they need is government approval and once this is granted then investing may be done. There are various options available to potential investors. The choices of investments can range from purchasing vacant land, multiple units on one title, off the plan units, student accommodations, dual occupancy units, hotel conversions, and all the way through to mining towns.
These numerous options are what make Australia a great place to invest in and the property value will vary greatly depending on what type you choose to invest in. This means that the price of the property can range from very cheap to extremely expensive.
For more information on possible real estate investments in Australia, it would be best to consult the experts on home loans.  They have the information on the best possible investments and with the most potential for real estate.  They can also custom fit certain loan products to your capacity to invest and the amount of risk that you are willing to take.