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Australia – Finding Property to Buy

Popular Estate Agents in Australia

Some of the most popular and reputable real estate agencies in Australia include:

  • LJ Hooker – One of the largest real estate chains in Australia with over 900 offices across the country.
  • Ray White – An Australian-owned franchise with over 1,000 offices nationwide.
  • Century 21 – Global real estate brand with a strong presence in major Australian cities.
  • PRD Nationwide – Leading national real estate network with over 700 offices across Australia.
  • Harcourts – International real estate group with over 400 offices in Australia alone.

These large chains have the advantage of extensive reach, experience, and brand recognition when it comes to marketing and selling properties across Australia.

Qualifications and Licences for Real Estate Agents in Australia

To legally practice as a real estate agent in Australia, individuals must meet certain licensing and qualification requirements which vary slightly between states and territories.

In general, the key requirements include:

  • Completing a Certificate IV in Property Services (Real Estate)
  • Obtaining a real estate agent licence issued by the state/territory regulator
  • Maintaining registration as a licensed agent with the state regulator each year
  • Undertaking continuing professional development (CPD) annually

Some states may have additional requirements such as exams, police checks, fitness and propriety assessments, and professional indemnity insurance.

Full details on licensing can be found through state/territory Fair Trading or Consumer Affairs departments such as NSW Fair Trading.

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Breakdown of Real Estate Agent Fees in Australia

Real estate agent fees for selling a property in Australia are typically charged as a percentage of the sale price. The total fees charged generally range from 2% to 3%, broken down as follows:

  • Listing/Marketing fees – Typically around 1.5% to 2% of the final sale price. This covers the costs of listing, marketing and promoting the property.
  • Commission on sale – Usually around 1% to 1.5% of the final sale price. This is the commission the agent receives for selling the property.
  • GST – 10% Goods and Services Tax added to the total fees.

Additional fees may apply for certain add-on services provided by the agent, such as styling, virtual staging, floor plan creation, auctioneering, etc. All fees should be clearly disclosed upfront in the agency agreement.

The seller will pay these fees upon a successful sale. The buyer does not directly pay any fees to the seller’s real estate agent.

Where to Find Property Listings in Australia

Apart from real estate agents, property listings can also be found through:

  • Realestate.com.au – Leading Australian property portal.
  • Domain – Major property website with listings and advice.
  • Realestateview – Features off-market property opportunities.
  • Expat-focused sites like Australian Expat Investor.
  • Local and national newspapers.
  • Real estate magazines and property supplements.
  • By directly approaching developers for new off-the-plan properties.
  • Through word-of-mouth from locals and community groups.

Use of Buyer’s Agents in Australia

Using a buyer’s agent is becoming more common in Australia, especially for interstate or overseas buyers who cannot directly inspect properties themselves.

A buyer’s agent acts solely on behalf of the buyer, not the seller. They can assist with:

  • Researching suitable properties that match the buyer’s criteria.
  • Liaising with real estate agents to arrange viewings and obtain sales information.
  • Negotiating with agents and conveyancing solicitors on the buyer’s behalf.
  • Providing objective advice and guidance throughout the buying process.

There are no specific licensing requirements for buyer’s agents in most states. However, many belong to professional associations like the Real Estate Buyers Agents Association (REBAA).

Fees are generally in the range of 1-2% of the property purchase price, sometimes with a fixed retainer as well. Written agreements stipulate the exact fees payable.

Organisations for Foreign Property Buyers

Some key organisations that provide advice and support to foreign property buyers in Australia include:

  • DFA Australia – Non-profit that promotes foreign investment in Australian real estate.
  • iPropertyManagement – Property management services tailored for foreign investors.
  • REA Group – Operates Realestate.com.au portal and provides resources for international buyers.
  • Ausimmigration – Migration agency that assists foreign buyers with visa and tax issues.
  • Guardian Property – Specialists in sourcing and managing Australian properties for foreign buyers.

Purchasing property in Australia can be a worthwhile investment for foreign buyers, given the stable real estate market and strong economic growth. While the process may seem daunting initially, seeking the services of reputable real estate agents, buyer’s advocates, and organizations tailored for expats can provide invaluable guidance and support. Doing thorough research, understanding real estate practices in Australia, inspecting properties firsthand where possible, and obtaining legal advice are all critical to ensure a successful and hassle-free property purchase as a foreign investor.

With the multitude of resources now available both locally and online, foreign buyers have more transparency and access to purchase Australian real estate than ever before. Staying informed, being strategic, and partnering with the right professionals will lead to making a sound property investment decision in one of the most attractive markets globally.

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