Investing in Australian property has become popular with foreign investors and Australian expats looking for strong returns and stability. Well, it depends on what you want to buy and your situation: do you want a house to live in or an investment property? I just had two real estate experiences with my 23 and 27 year old children, both of whom are in the process of moving home: one had a lease liability of 9 months and the other in a shared house was able to negotiate without liability. Some developers have obtained FIRB approval for their entire development in advance, which means you don't have to worry about it if you buy a newly built unit. Some buying agents will charge a fixed fee, while others will charge an upfront fee, as well as a percentage of the purchase price of the property.
If you've decided not to use a buyer's agent, it may be a good idea to use comparable sales to value the property. Over the past year, the apartment market hasn't grown as strong as the housing market, but now with the price differential between units and homes at the highest level on record, and homes becoming more unaffordable for many, I can see continued growth in family-friendly apartments in large neighborhoods. If they are selling their own properties or are receiving a commission from the developer, then they are not a buyer agent acting on their behalf. This phenomenon in which an initially higher purchase cost is slowly reduced by inflation means that buying will be cheaper if it is a sufficiently long period of time.
In reality, you won't need to seek FIRB approval until you've found a property, but you should start researching your requirements for not buying an ineligible property. If you are not a resident or have a temporary visa, you are legally required to obtain permission from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) to purchase property in Australia. Your shipping agent or lawyer will tell you what checks you need to make before buying and will let you know when it is safe to sign the contract to buy the property (sales contract). That means taking the risk of buying when other people sell as part of a “counter strategy,” which is often what pays off in asset markets.