Biz of Property Ep. 2 | Expats

In this episode of ‘Biz of Property,’ Brady Yoshia and special guest Lucy Bulla join Ticker co-host Holly Stearnes to look at the unique challenges and key strategies for expat buyers. With Australia’s international borders set to finally reopen, it is good news for Australians wanting to return to home, or securing an investment before they leave.

Biz of Property explores all things property and real estate with Brady Yoshia and the Brady Marcs team. New episodes will air fortnightly on Ticker News Fridays at 9:45am, or on-demand via the Ticker and Brady Marcs websites.



Holly Stearnes: Property is booming at the moment but what about if you’re looking to get yourself an international property experts face unique challenges that today on the Biz of Property we will look to unpack. Biz of Property starts right now.

Holly: Welcome to Biz of Property presented by Brady Marcs Buyers Advisory, where each week we will dive into the latest news and trends on the property market and answer the questions you need to know for your property journey. Now in this episode, I’m joined by Brady Yoshia from Brady Marcs Buyers Advisory and we are also joined by special guests Lucy Bulla, who is a former expat herself and current buyer’s agent in the Sydney market, to discuss how to navigate these unique challenges. Thank you so much for your time today. Both of you.

Brady Yoshia: Thank you.

Holly: Lovely to see you, and everyone remember, Brady Marcs Buyers Advisory are committed to putting buyers at the center of what they do, being highly experienced property professionals. They create a bespoke customer experience tailored to each individual’s needs where they’re bidding in an auction, negotiating or full service source and buy, Brady Marcs takes the stress out of finding your perfect property match. Now you can learn more about them at bardymarcs.com.au. And remember, while Brady Marcs Buyers Advisory is the presenting sponsor of the program, the opinions and statements expressed in the following shows are of course, our own and that of our guests as well. Let’s get right into it and the logistics of buying property are complicated at the best of times, but managing that process from overseas is probably even more challenging. With Australia’s international borders set to finally reopen it is good news for Australians wanting to return home or even security and investment before they leave. Brady, I wanted to start with you. What did you see in the news recently, it looks like the first time the Australian Prime Minister has acknowledged frustrations of expat Australians. Tell us a little bit more about your thoughts on that.

Brady: Yes, so in the news recently, Prime Minister Scott Morrison thanked experts around the world for their sacrifice. And as acknowledged the heartbreak and frustration they’ve suffered being locked out of Australia. He also mentioned that for the first time since the pandemic began Australians that our family overseas should be able to reunite at home by the end of the year, which is fantastic news.

Holly: Absolutely, it is very welcome news. I know a lot of people were extremely relieved and happy about that. It’s been a really difficult time for many. Lucy, as an expert yourself, where did you leave and what was important to you during your experience?

Lucy Bulla: We were very fortunate we lived in Jakarta, in Seoul and in Amsterdam, and it was a great lifestyle. But as an expert, it does come with uncertainty. You never know where or when your next posting is going to be. So for me what became really important was that little bit of certainty of having a house to come home to, especially after we started having children.

Holly: Yeah, absolutely. I can imagine, and I mean, it’s definitely an interesting time to consider this space at the moment. What different scenarios in which experts seek to buy in Australia? Can you tell us about that?

Lucy: We have a lot of expats, mostly expats that are coming back to Australia from an overseas posting. But we also have a lot of locals here that have accepted and expatriation overseas, and therefore they’re looking to secure a home or an investment property before they leave. The other sort of expats that we look after those that are coming into Australia, international expats that are looking to set up home, so we help them as well.

Holly: Yeah, and what would you say is the biggest challenge faced by expats wanting to purchase in Australia.

Lucy: There are so many challenges, but I think the biggest one overall is the fact that they can’t physically walk through the property. So we overcome this by doing a live walk through the property. It gives them a sense of how the floor plan flows. And then we take them out of the property, we walk down the street and we look at the neighbours, the streetscape, the local park, the local cafe. We find that doing it this way it helps them to connect with the property a little bit better. Another big challenge for them is that well, it’s a good one in a way, a lot of them find that they are able to upgrade the suburb that they’re coming from. But they’re not sure about where they should move to what can my budget afford me? Are the schools any good? What are transport links like? That sort of thing. And that’s where we come into play. I’ve been a relocation consultant prior to being a buyer’s agent for over 16 years. So I’m very used to matching people to areas and houses and schools etc. And I’ll just talk about one more challenge that a lot of expats face, and that is the challenge that a lot of them are still overseas when they want to secure their dream home. The dream home because they’re still overseas, in effect becomes an investment property for them for the next two or three years. So the challenge here is merging those attributes that they want in a dream home into a good investment property so that we can maximize that rental yield for them.

Holly: Yeah, I wanted to talk a little bit about a point you made there about, you know, really taking them for a walk down the street and seeing the local cafe and even the what trends and public transport and that sort of thing is available to people. Why is that so critical? I mean, because it’s not just the house that needs to be acceptable moving forward, but it’s also the suburb and everything that comes with that that’s really about people’s life and livelihood and experience in that area.

Lucy: That’s correct. And when you’re overseas, it’s really especially if you’re going to an area that you’re not familiar with, it’s so important to see what is around you. The house itself, or the property itself, is important, but knowing who your neighbors are. Is there a derelict house just down the street? Or can I easily walk to a park for the kids? Or can I easily walk to the cafe? All these things matter to people, some people want to be located in a very suburban area. Whereas others really want that urban feel so that the local cafes just down there, and they know that they can just hop on a tram or a bus or a train and they can get anywhere they want to get to. So having that complete package for them is always so important, especially when they’re not here to see it.

Holly: Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, through someone who you trust as well to get that advice. Now, as an expert yourself, did you buy a property while you were overseas?

Lucy: We did, we did. We were lucky, we had family here to help us. But we soon came to realize that what we thought was a great property, they didn’t and vice versa. So we ended up having some difficult conversations. And not only that we really didn’t take into consideration that they have lives, they have jobs, they have family and social obligations. So the time that they had to look at properties for us was fairly limited. So in hindsight, if I had to do it again, I would definitely use a buyer’s agent because they are impartial. They have all the time that we want for them to go and look at properties for us. Plus the negotiators, we found that we ended up overpaying for our property, and that would not have happened if we used a buyer’s agent.

Holly: Now what do you think is the biggest barrier at the moment for people potentially, who really want to get into this sort of area and really invest in a property, but they’re just holding back a little bit? What do you think is the biggest barrier at the moment? And I guess what would be your advice to them?

Lucy: It’s the unknown, I think, especially in a hot market the way we have at the moment, not knowing, what’s the agent really saying to us? Are they giving us all the information are we overpaying for this property. And so using a buyer’s agent means they do all the research for you. They’re in the market every single day, they’re in tune with what the agent is telling you and what they’re not telling you and how they’re telling you. And they are trained negotiators. So the risk of overpaying really is minimized if you use one

Holly: and talk to us a little bit for just take us through the process of how it actually works from sort of start to finish how that process or work. So when they reach out to a buyer’s advocate. What’s the first process there? Is it just a really relaxed conversation about what you want and what the end goal is? And then it goes from there or – talk us through that.

Lucy: It’s very much like that. It’s important that you have rapport with your buyer’s agent. So we start with an informal chat. And then we talk about their goals, what they’re aspiring to? What they want to achieve long term? Is it going to be something that they are just going to invest in and then use that equity to leapfrog to the next property? Or is it a long term hold their dream home that they going to put their own stamp on? What we like to do is give them a questionnaire, and if there’s a couple, we like them to complete it separately because sometimes they do differ. And then we will marry the two together we talk about it, we make sure that there are no expectations that are unrealistic. For example, if they want a five bedroom home, but they only have a $3 million budget and we’re thinking maybe we need to step back a little bit and have a look at what has sold in the five bedroom space. Are they properties that they would buy or do we have to re-look at what we want in a property? Once we’ve done that, we actually start looking for property for them. And that’s online, offline, we spend hours on the phone to agents. We’re very fortunate because we’re in the market every day. We have connections and rapport with a lot of agents. And therefore, we’re able to get those pre markets and off markets and get ahead of the competition. Once we have found a property that they like, and we’re all agreed, we’ll do some research, make sure that they have a clear understanding of where it sits in the property market. As far as price is concerned. We look at things like DA applications, we help them source a building and pest inspector or a strata report. We read through them, help them understand it all. We then strategize with them. Should we put in an offer prior? Or should we go to auction? Sometimes it’s very different. I mean, a lot of people don’t like to go to auction. But sometimes it’s actually the best option because maybe the vendor has an unrealistic expectation.

Holly: Thank you so much for walking, no, it’s brilliant, thank you for walking us through that, because it’s really good to hear firsthand exactly what the experience will actually be like. And for yourself, who really knows what that process is like, it’s really valuable. I think sometimes people really need that raw feedback and explanation. So just to wrap up today, Brady, let’s talk about some key takeaways. When it does come to expats purchasing while they’re overseas, what do professionals need to do?

Brady: So following on, from what Lucy has said, it’s very important to get professional support and not to rely on well meaning family and friends. So it’s really important to get professional support, such as a financial planner and a mortgage broker, a tax accountant, one that is familiar with international tax, a conveyancer or lawyer, immigration lawyer and of course, a buyer’s agent.

Holly: Wonderful, thank you so much to both of you for joining us today on this. It’s been super insightful. I thank you so much.

Brady: Thank you.

Holly: And that’s it for today’s discussion from the property space. I’d like to thank both of my guests as always, now our audience for joining me today as well. And don’t forget to head over to tickeroriginals.co for more chats, and tips and updates from property to cryptos, cyber security and many more. My name is Holly Stearnes, thank you so much for the company.