Buying an Australian House; Housing Chain? What Housing Chain?

Australian and New Zealand magazineIn last week’s post called Househunting: Australia and the UK Compared, we had a reprint of an Australian and New Zealand magazine article called ‘House hunting part 1’.

Clearly if you append ‘part 1″ to anything, you need to be sure that’s not the end of it. It needs to have a follow-up of some kind with further information.

But what would I call this follow-up?

After hours and hours of deliberation and lengthy consultation with my marketing team, we came up with the perfect answer…

House hunting part 2

The magazine though, who published this article in their February edition, stuck to their guns. They didn’t mention ‘part 1’ last time, and they didn’t mention ‘part 2’ this time. The title remained the same…

househuntingLast month, in the first part of this two-parter, we looked at house buying in both the UK and Australia. We found, among other things, that Brits wanted central heating and double glazing whilst Aussies looked for a built-in barbecue and a swimming pool.

No surprises there then.

We also saw that valuing Australian houses was harder to do. Now it’s time to look at viewing houses as well as the actual house buying process.

Viewing houses in Australia is different. Firstly, you are unlikely to meet the sellers. After making an appointment, you will be met at the property by the real estate agent who will show you around. Very popular here though is the ‘open house’, that’s when a house is ‘open for inspection’ with the agent present at a specified time.

If there is an open house for the property you want to view, the time and date will be shown on whichever website you found the house. So you simply turn up at the given time, say Saturday 11 AM to 11:45 AM, stroll in and look around.

No matter what time the open house is, or how sunny it is, you can guarantee that every light in the house will be turned on. Lit candles will have been strategically placed around the home. The shelves, the kitchen work surfaces, the coffee tables and desks will be clear of all ornaments, objects and items. There will be nothing lying around anywhere. The one exception is that there will, without doubt, be a fresh bowl of fruit.

fruit-bowlDon’t take this personally.

It would be easy to return to your own home, look at the mess it is in, put your head into your hands and howl at the moon. You might end up questioning why you have to move seven unopened letters, a handbag, two mobile phones, some car keys, your reading glasses, a wallet and a wet swimming towel from the kitchen side in order to make enough room to put down the breadboard.

Try not to let it get to you.

Open houses are definitely a good idea though; you can see 5 or 6 houses a day quite easily without making any appointments at all.

Finally, the process of actually buying a house in Australia is also completely different. It’s complicated, obviously, that’s why we leave all this stuff to solicitors. Let me cut straight to the big difference though; we do not have housing chains.

Generally speaking a standard house purchase goes something like this; agree price, sign contract and pay a 10% deposit. Then pay the balance in full after 42 days. Failure to settle can result in penalties, including loss of your deposit.

Whilst this is reasonably straightforward, one problem is replaced with another.

Do you sell your existing house first and then go shopping for a new one? Or do you buy first and then put your own house on the market?

Whichever you choose to do, both carry risks, although I’d suggest the first is riskier than the second. New arrivals to Australia won’t have to worry about this, not yet anyway. For me though, it’s a problem I’m facing right now and it’s a tough decision to make.

Perhaps the great British housing chain wasn’t so bad after all.

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Andi Williams June 17, 2017, 5:14 pm |

    Such a dilemma indeed. I would agree that it’s riskier to sell your house first. If you can afford to buy first or at least afford to give an upfront payment, then it’s best to do the second option.

    • Wiley Sims June 29, 2017, 9:50 am |

      There are numerous solutions. Talk to a good mortgage broker who can help!

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