Buying a house from overseas | COVID Clusterf%*k Part Eight

Man. If I had known what a challenge this would be, I’m not sure if I would be in the same scenario I am in now!

The background: I’ve been looking at buying a house for years. Each year the goalpost changes as I save more deposit. Each year the house prices also increase. I wish I had bought years ago. This came to the forefront as a friend who bought a house a year ago, when I was also looking, messaged you say her house had gone up 100k already.

Fast forward to a trip to Auckland in November, I found a house online in Brisbane that I loved the look of. It had everything on my list and more and in the right location. I immediately rang my broker to talk it through.

We decided to go in with an offer straight away. It was denied straight away.

We tried a different tactic. My broker rang the agent and talked through the house details. We had sales data from other properties the developer had built at the same time in similar locations so we knew that they were of good building standards and quality and approx how much we would be spending. My broker asked the price to take it off the table right away, before going to open home the next day. He named a figure, we put in an offer, and next thing you know I’m sitting at a bar in Auckland signing my life away!

That was the easy part.

Finance had never been a problem previously. Slightly challenging sometimes as I was partly self-employed. We thought all was well and two banks had said they’d go through with my application. Then they found out I was in NZ and sh*t hit the fan. They both backed out. It was three days before my finance was due. There were backup offers on the property. Cue a lot of pacing along the lawn of our property and many, many phone calls.

Because Brisbane is such a hot (crazy) market currently, it’s hard to get into the banks.

I rang Westpac as a backup and they advised I couldn’t get a meeting with a broker for more than two weeks. That was two weeks too long.

I started to stress around this point.

I messaged friends re the scenario and found two with friends in high places in banks who were willing to intro me. Luckily, through share absolute luck, I was able to get my loan done and signed in time. There were so many hiccups along the way and I really didn’t think I was going to get there.

Once that was done, the conundrum of getting the documents signed started. It was easy to start with. Meet the guy from the bank, get ID’d, and get original docs. Go to the Australian consulate in Wellington and have them witness my ID, signing of mortgage etc. We went for champagne at this point as I thought it was finally happening.

Gave the docs to the guy from the NZ bank and waited for the magic to happen.
Then I got a call from the bank in Oz- asking where were the documents being sent to (had to be the originals), and where was the scanned copy? I had no idea and had presumed the colleagues would have looked after this. I finally got a hold of the NZ bank guy as he was in line to post the docs back to Aus to the wrong address.

He scanned the docs, got the right address, and posted it.

Done? Nope.

The scanned docs are received by AU bank and they wouldn’t accept the ID witness document as it wasn’t their one, but the one from the consulate. The consulate refused to sign the bank’s one as they had their own.

Thankfully, the bank came around and accepted the document, and all was well in the world again provided that my original docs arrived before my settlement date.

They did – phew.
And now I have a gorgeous (I hope) new house in Brisbane, sitting pretty awaiting my arrival!

Additional note, I found out last week (approx 3 months after), that the title still wasn’t in my name…. thankfully this transferred at the end of last week…..


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