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Q&A: Pest Inspections

Q&A: Pest Inspections

Pest inspections are an essential part of the home-buying process. Mortgage and Finance Help spoke to Justin Hammerschmidt, an Inspector at Sydney PrePurchase, about what pest inspectors are looking for and how to interpret their reports.

Q What pest inspections need to be carried out prior to purchase?

A pest inspection, officially known as a ‘Timber Pest Inspection’ should be carried out prior to purchase. It will detail any timber pest activity such as termites, timber borers and wood decay.

These pests can cause significant structural damage to the timber elements in buildings such as wall, floor and roof framing. They can also cause serious safety hazards such as collapsing balconies and unsafe decks.

This type of damage is often difficult to locate, requiring the skill of a trained timber pest inspector. It is important to understand that other pests such as cockroaches, rodents and spiders are not covered by this inspection, as they are not capable of causing structural damage to buildings.

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Why it is important to have access to many banks

Why it is important to have access to many banks


When experienced property investor Mark Baker agreed to buy a block of land, he didn’t expect the land’s mining-town location to make it difficult to secure finance. After failing to find a lender who could help him, he visited a finance broker who found just the right mortgage for his needs.

Mark Baker, an experienced property investor and engineer who works in mining, agreed to buy a block of land in a mining town with conditional approval for finance directly with a lender. However, when it came time to settle 18 months later, the pre-approval had expired and the lender had changed its policy for mortgages in mining towns, leaving Mark with a looming settlement date and no finance.

Mark applied directly to a wide range of other lenders, but kept facing the same problem. In a bind, he visited an MFAA Approved finance broker just 10 days before settlement.

“The rental return is crazy in the area, around 15 to 20 per cent. But the risk is higher,” Mark’s credit adviser says. “So most lenders have restrictions in mining towns and cap mortgages at a 60, 70 or 80 per cent loan-to-value ratio (LVR). No one was willing to finance 90 per cent of the property value, which is what he needed. By the time he came to me, he had a very ugly looking credit file and not many options left.”

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Purchasing property in Australia on a 457 visa

Purchasing property in Australia on a 457 visa

Most people on a 457 visa have a misconception that they are unable to purchase property in Australia while they are on a temporary visa but this is just not the case. A 457 visa holder or other temporary visa holders can easily purchase property although they do need to seek Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval. The FIRB policies have changed a few times over the past five years but at present people can apply for approval as long as the property is a residential property and they intend to live in the property. If the purchase is for investment then it needs to be a brand new property. The approval is on the property and not the applicant, so an approval is required for each property you are looking at purchasing.

457 Visa Mortgages and Bank policies

Prior to setting up CBM  Mortgages I worked for one of Australia's leading banks and created their home loan policies for temporary visa holders, specifically their 457 visa home loan policy which many brokers use today. My job was to make it easier for someone migrating to Australia purchase property. Previously the banks looked at potential mortgage applicants as citizens or non citizens and unfortunately temporary visa holders specifically on a 457 visa were unable to access the same policies as Australians and were treated the same as someone living overseas. After producing a report it was demonstrated that selected visa types are for highly skilled individuals that have moved to Australia to work and many to start a new life. It was shown that although these 457 visa holders do not hold citizenship, their occupations are on the Australian department of immigrations skilled occupation list (SOL) and they generally command a high salary and are quite a safe bet when purchasing property. If they were to lose their job then they it should not be too hard for them to find new employment due to their occupation. Also due to them not receiving any First home Owners benefits (FHOG) unless they purchase with an Australian permanent resident or citizen, the chances of them leaving and walking away from a property they have had to make a considerable contribution is slim. The policy for these applicants was introduced and 457 visa mortgage applicants could go as high as a 97% lending to value ratio (LVR) on selected properties if approved by the banks credit department. This was lowered to a 90% LVR at the start of the GFC when the bank pulled back many of it's credit policies. 

So presently applicants can purchase a property with a 10% deposit plus money for their costs (stamp duty and lenders mortgage insurance premium). This is still a great opportunity for temporary visa holders as nearly all banks require at least a 20% deposit plus costs. Applicants would still need to be approved by the banks credit department and they normally like to see a minimum of 6 months with their current employer and a minimum of 12 months left on their visa. Each application is assessed on a case by case basis though and looked at on it's merits.

Current 457 visa approval levels and forecasts

At present the Department of immigration are approving just over 30,000 new 457 visa applications per year with the department of immigration forecasting this to rise to 52,000 in 2016. After calculating the 457 visa holders returning home this leaves a net migration of  approximately 22,000 for 2012 with forecasts up to approximately 26,000 in 2016. The 457 visa is normally between 3 months and 4 years with the majority being 4 years. If the applicant still qualifies then these ncould be extended for a further 4 years. Unconfirmed sources estimate there to be as many as 100,000 457 visa holders currently in Australia. This means there are many people in Australia currently on a 457 visa and potentially looking to extend their stay in Australia and purchase property in Australia. 


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Recent Comments
Great article, was full of information I was looking for and really informative with the data. Once I save up a bit more I will de... Read More
Friday, 11 January 2013 06:17
Thank you for this information Craig, it's info I have been searching for. I have been in Australia only for a few months on the 4... Read More
Sunday, 13 January 2013 03:55
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