If you are new to this series and would like to start at the beginning, please go to Moving to Australia Part 1
In part 12 of moving to Australia, we finally sold our house and were celebrating homelessness. It’s difficult to put into words the contrast between what was happening in our lives before we sold the house compared with what happened afterwards. Especially as the house isn’t sold until contracts are exchanged, as we had discovered twice before.
Nothing much can be done with any certainty before the exchange, so it is a period of much inactivity. But once you have exchanged it is go go go! We had just three weeks in which we needed to cancel the gas, the electric, the rates, the telephone, change addresses on all credit cards, cancel the household insurance, sell the car, cancel the car insurance, pack, have a party, visit relatives, cancel Sky subscription services, cancel mobile phones blah blah blah blah blah and, on top of all that, find somewhere to stay in Australia as well as move out…..
Buying a house online and unseen
We promised ourselves or we wouldn’t do it, but in the end we did. We bought our house in Brisbane, sight unseen, (by us anyway) over the Internet. The alternative was to rent for the first 12 months, but we just thought that might be a waste of 12 months rent. And then we would have the expense of moving again when we wanted to buy somewhere.
So we bought this house where planning permission had already previously been obtained to build a second house behind it. Perfect we thought. If we don’t like the house we have bought, we can build one we do like out the back and sell the existing one. What can possibly go wrong?
I’ll save that for another post; like Part Fourteen.
The other interesting thing about buying a house in Australia is that legally, they do it differently. As soon as our offer for the Australian house had been accepted, we had to pay 10% deposit. We were given two months to pay the balance in full. Failure to do so would result in loss of our deposit and invite possible legal proceedings against us if the seller chose to pursue it.
We had to commit to this before exchanging in the UK. As you can see, you may have to take some risks during this period.
Our final couple of weeks in England were hectic and nostalgic. I took the time to make one final visit to the park I used to play in when I was a small child….
say goodbye to the ducks…..
And take one final look at the house I grew up in from the age of two until I was about 13……….
Then on Sunday evening, the 11th of November 2007, I had my final beer in a real English pub. On the Monday, we were gone.
For a full chronological list and brief description of all the posts in this series about how I moved to Australia, please visit my page How to Move to Australia.
Since writing this article I have added another post about, well, see if you can guess for yourself. It’s called Moving to Australia: What to Bring With You.
Does anyone know a decent moving company in the USA? So far it has been awful. Bad bad bad communication. Help!
That’s quite a poignant image isn’t it of a 40 foot industrial box, at mile zero of thousands to go, wrapped in dark dull and cold weather. Probably one you will always remember. I just had the same image myself today (minus the darkness) as all our stuff disappeared in a giant Maersk container from Waterloo, Canada. Next stop, who knows? Final stop, port of Brisbane 🙂 I hear you might be able to track the progress these days, which would help if true vs the unknowns you went through.
I never really thought of it like that, but yes, it is. A defining moment. It does feel strange, as you probably now know, watching all your stuff disappear into the distance on a journey, the precise details of which you are not aware.
Next time you see it all you will have started your new life in a new country, on the new adventure. Hope it works out as well for you as it did for us 🙂
Glad to hear you can now track it somehow, wouldn’t surprise me if it’s a dot traversing the globe on the map on your smart phone screen these days. When we moved, we had no idea where it was. That’s progress.
Hey Dave, I’m moving from Toronto myself. To Brisbane/Gold Coast area. Can you recommend a mover/ possibly a rough price range?
Thanks in advance
Hi Bob, we are moving over later this year and need a little advice please. My partner is an Australian citizen and we have been together for 27 years but all we have is 7 years worth of Council electoral roll paperwork, a joint life insurance and some photos, we hope that will be enough. My question is, we want to bring our car and caravan over, please could you advise us on the regulations. Thanks.
Well, hopefully, having been together for 27 years, you will be able to find enough evidence to prove to immigration that you are living together as man and wife.
As for importing your car and caravan, I’ve spoken to a few people about this and most seem to say that after having looked into it, the whole process was too expensive to go ahead with. There are import taxes, inspections to make sure the goods comply with Australian standards and obviously the transport costs as well to take into consideration.
Unless it is a very special car, like a vintage car, or an unusual caravan, it might well be best to sell what you have and buy something when you get here.
There are car importers around that will help you though if you want to take it further, I’d get in touch with one of them if you want to do that.
Hi Bob, not sure how much advice you can give for my question but here goes!
We wont be in a position to buy a house and have noticed the renting market is very tough.
Is there anything you can suggest other than simply rent a property so were not stranded when we land?
Most agents online seem to require credit checks, employment evidence etc. All of which would be non existent at time of arrival.
Thanks for any advice you have!
Yes, this can be a big problem, it can take a while to get cleared to rent a property. Most agencies also will not rent to you unless you are physically here and have personally been to see the rental property.
I do have a potential solution for you though, and you can read about it on the following page…
It’s not perfect, but it does mean you can arrive at the airport with an address you can go straight to on a short-term basis, maybe one month, perhaps two, which should give you enough time to sort out something more permanent.
Good luck, Bob
I’m in eighth grade and Im doing what it takes to move to Australia for my genius hour project. I want to move to Sydney when I get older but the thing is I also want to go to college there. I plan on moving when I’m 19 or 20 but I don’t know what I have to do. I plan on moving with my best friend and her cousin and I’m trying to find out what to do and I have no clue. Maybe some good universities and boarding on campus or close to? Please help
I wish I could help you Lily, but only MARA registered migration agents are legally allowed to give out this kind of advice. If you are looking to come here to study though, you should be able to get help from my student expert via my page Student Visas.
Glad to see you are planning ahead though, good on ya!
Good luck, Bob
Thanks for sharing your experiences.
We have decided to move to Oz from Canada and already got our PR. Now the question is how feasible is it to move all our furniture (quite new) from Toronto to Sydney? Will the cost worth it? Otherwise we have to post ad on websites and try to sell with any kind of price. Any suggestions?
At the bottom of the above article there is a link to another article called moving to Australia; what to bring with you, I suggest you have a read. Bottom line is it depends how much furniture you’ve got, what you think it’s worth and then how much shipping is going to cost you for your furniture.
Furniture can be expensive to buy here from new, so we were more than happy to pay the £6000 to bring all our stuff over as it would have cost far more to replace it.
Good luck, Bob
Brill thanks again. I have a question for your lovely wife on taking care of dogs. Which is the best blog stream to post that on ?
Well, my lovely wife is no longer running Dogwalks as you will see from this post…
…but either I or my wife will probably be able to answer your question, and that’s as good a place as any to post it.
Thanks again Bob and yes it does seem to confirm our fears here too. Buying seems to be they will sell to you from overseas having not seen the property – I guess its your house so if you trash it then its your property. Renting seems to be a whole other ball game and not only is it illegal for an agent to rent to you with you never having inspected – its also illegal for you to even submit an application – clearly this would not be our best start to a new life down under !! So after spending what feels like 24 solid hours searching through hundreds of websites for holiday lets, motels, hotels, hostels etc instead, we have been so incredibly lucky and found a lovely man who is going to rent us a holiday cottage in East Brisbane – really close to where we actually want to settle so that is just so cool. It doesn’t help that G20 is in Brisbane around the time we arrive so most places are full or charging an absolute fortune for just a single room. There are 4 of us – doh If you can get that final confirmation that would be really helpful and probably really helpful to your readers too so no-one else makes the same mistake we nearly did. Instead we are settled for the first 9 weeks on arrival and will cross fingers be able to find the place we want for a longer 6-12 months let through an inspection. This just feels like fate that we are destined to come. Big problem – no problem x
Of course, yes, G20, that won’t have helped.
Sounds like you have found a solution with a longish term rental (in terms of holiday accommodation) so you have somewhere to go as soon as you get here.
I have asked a friend of mine who works in real estate to try and find out the answer, although he works in sales not rentals. So he is going to have to ask somebody else, so I’ll get back to you as soon as I’ve heard something.
I ended up sending an email to the RTA who are the Residential Tenancies Authority here in Queensland and I got an answer from them the very next day. Unfortunately the answer also came with disclaimers and a confidentiality clause which forbids me from sharing it with anyone, so printing it online would probably cheese them off big time.
On that basis I think it is worthwhile (because the answer may well be helpful to you) contacting them direct yourself, explaining your situation and asking their advice. You will get a greyish answer, but it will give you something to work with.
Good luck, Bob
Thanks Bob – we have just seen on an “expats” site that it is actually illegal for an agent to rent out a house without the tenant having seen it first. Check out this link and look at the bottom of step 4 – do you know if this is true. We are about to sign a long term rental on Dahlia Cottage in East Brisbane as a holiday let if we really can’t ever rent from the UK and actually have to be in Brisbane to sign a rental agreement. This could be a pretty costly 2 months start to our life down under if this is the case as we will then also need to store all our stuff for another 8 weeks dockside while we find and sign a rental in situ
Can you shed any light on the accuracy of that posting please ?
Well, that’s a new one on me, and a bit of a surprise especially as we purchased our house before we arrived here, sight unseen. Strange that you can buy one, but you can’t rent one. But is this information accurate?
My suspicion is that the rules could change from state to state, but I don’t know for sure. Most laws do though. I have found one website to backup the statement you mention, it was on this page of lifestyle.com.au.
If you look at this page about renting in Queensland from the Queensland government, it doesn’t specifically mention the rule. I will try and get it clarified, I know somebody I can ask, whether he can answer it or not we will see. I’ll come back to you if I get a response.
Hi there Nicky again. Can you please let me know if its possible to rent a place while still in the UK. We have done all our research, found the suburb, checked out schools, sold the house and just assumed we could search for a great rental – check it had everything we needed in the right area and then just email the agent and say we’ll take it and pay 6 months rent in advance. However I’ve just had a look at a sample Oz tenancy agreement and its asking for identification – passport, driving licence etc which we will have UK versions of, references which we can provide from the UK but then they want the details of the employer etc which we wont have until a good few months in. So please tell me – can we rent in Brisbane while still in the UK or have we made a massive mistake in our planning ? Thanks loads again. Nicky
It’s probably not impossible to rent a place from the UK, but it’s certainly going to be more difficult. At the end of the day it’s down to each and every rental management company/landlord between them to decide who they do and do not accept as tenants.
My suggestion is that you put together all the proofs you need of your identity and have them legally certified, provide copies of bank statements and ability to pay along with any other references they need and then keep your fingers crossed.
It also may help to offer more advanced rental than is required; it’s illegal for a landlord to request that, but it’s not illegal for you to offer it.
Good luck, Bob
We have been a long time reader of your blog. To be honest you made us decide to try Australia. We already migrated from India to UK 10 yrs ago. Loved every minute. And now we have decided to give Australia a go. We are family of 3. I am a chef, wife a nurse and a 7 month old. We received 189 visa in Jan.
We are moving to Melbourne – Vic. We are at stage 12. Awaiting the dreaded exchange any minute. Hopefully see you at Oz someday. Keep up the good work.
Sathish and Vishva
Hi Sathish and Vishva
Good on ya as we say here, I hope Australia means every bit as much to you at some point as it does to me now. You’ve made a good choice in my opinion, I truly hope it works out well.
Exchange, yes, it’s scary waiting isn’t it?
Thanks for being readers and I hope you both continue and maybe when you get the chance you can come back here and tell us what you think of it on my page about Melbourne.
Hi – just wondering about shipping our car. It’s only 3 years old and immaculate Nissan Juke. They are sold in Aus and we have just had a quote of $1000 to ship it roll on roll off. Is it worth shipping or selling in the UK and buying a second hand car in Aus ? What are the car prices like in Aus please ?
I’ve known three people who have looked into this and none of them went ahead. It’s not just the shipping, there will be an import tax and, I think, some kind of safety inspection to pay for as well.
With all the additional costs, most people seem to decide not to import their cars. Second-hand cars here are quite expensive, see Buying a Used Car in Australia.
And also my page The Cost of Living in Australia of Everything.
I’m Australian and my husband is South African. We’re moving to Oz next year and I was wondering how you secured a house in Oz without having a job. Did you buy the house outright, without a mortgage?
We were lucky, we sold our UK house at the height of the property market and, remembering of course that I was 49 1/2 at the time, we had a fair amount of equity in it. Our house in Australia was much cheaper than the one we had sold in England, so we were lucky enough not to have too apply for an Australian mortgage.
Thanks for that Bob – just trying to get our heads round what we need to ship. Did you find it was worth paying to ship fridges/freezes/dishwashers/tv’s/sofa’s/lawnmowers and beds (the big bulky stuff) or pretty cheap to pick them up when you arrived. Is there much stuff that you packed that you just haven’t needed and since wondered – why did we bother shipping that?
Good question, and I knew I’d written a post about it somewhere. Here it is…
Moving to Australia: What to Bring With You.
I’ve now added a link at the foot of the above post as well, because it really should be linked from here. We didn’t bring anything we have since felt we should have left behind, but we did leave behind a couple of bikes we now wish we had brought.
Good luck Ozzy!
Doing something similar in a few months but just wondering, where did you live between house sale and flights, and did you sell your car/cars prior, or ask a friend to sell them for you after you had left – final logistics for us seem a bit daunting (family of 4 – heading for newcastle nsw). Thanks
Well, we lived for four days round my friends house, then four days round my sisters, then four days round my other sister’s and the final four days round my wife’s brother’s house.
I left my car with my brother in law, signed the logbook over to him and he sold it and deposited the money in my bank account. Those final days are quite daunting, but it does all fall in place in the end.
Hope everything goes well for you.