As a foreigner (that is, a non Australian citizen or non Australian Permanent Resident) wanting to invest in an Australian property, purchasing a House & Land Package is one of the best options you could consider. The following are the key steps in this process:
(1) Identify the City / Suburb / Area
Most house and land packages are available in the outer suburbs of the main cities as part of new residential estates, although there are pockets closer to the CBD that you can still purchase a house and land package within a redevelopment of an existing site. There are also vacant land parcels in almost every suburb, being the last remaining unbuilt land allotments within established residential areas, often held by builders from the time the area was a new estate. These builders may now decide its time to release these allotments and offer a house and land package.The choice of where to purchase would mostly depend on how much you can or want to invest and also the reason(s) for purchasing and / or your financial goal(s). Broadly speaking, house and land packages can range from as low as $390,000 to $800,000 or even higher.
(2) Select your House & Land Package
You can choose your house and land as a package or separately. You could be purchasing the land from the land owner and have your house built by a builder OR you could have your house built by the builder who is also the land owner. Whichever case it is, there should be two separate contracts involved: one for the land purchase and another for the house construction.In a new residential estate the land owner is usually the developer, though you could be buying the land from a builder who booked multiple choice lots from the developer. In established residential areas, the land owner could be a builder or a private owner.
(3) Purchase the Land
If you are buying the land separately, realise that the area and dimensions of your land will determine the house size and design that can fit comfortably.Before purchasing get a copy of the Vendor’s Statement** and Sale Contract, consult with a solicitor on the content of these documents if necessary, pay a booking fee or full deposit and the balance on settlement day.** known as Section 32 (Disclosure Statement) in Victoria and Schedule 1 Prescribed Documents in New South Wales. No legal requirement for a vendor’s statement in Queensland.
(4) Choose your House Design
You should have a very clear understanding of the size, design and type of house you want built on your land even before buying the land. Your builder will have provided you with building plans, an itemised list of inclusions, choice of finishes, additions and any customisations for the proposed house.
(5) Soil Test – NOT your worry!
After paying a small contract preparation fee to your builder, they will arrange for a soil test to be conducted and produce a site report. This key step ensures the site cost so a final Home Building Contract can be finalised.
(6) Sign the Building Contract
Once your contract has been prepared, arrange with your solicitor to sign it (even if you are overseas) and pay the balance of your 10% deposit.
(7) Building Permit – NOT your worry!
Your builder will take care of lodging the building permit applications for your property, pay any associated fees, as well as arranging sewer and mains connection.
(8) Construction – NOT your worry!
Your builder is responsible for the construction of your new home and will keep you informed every step of the way.
(9) Certificate of Occupation (CoC) – NOT your worry!
When construction is complete you will be provided with a CoC by your builder. This is the time to make final payment and for handover to occur, and the exciting part, you will get to collect your keys (or you can send your proxy).