Founded two years ago, Milk Chocolate assists Australian expats with purchasing and project-managing renovations of established properties in their home country. The name is a little different – it’s fun, spirited and approachable, just like the Milk Chocolate team.
What led you to start the business?
Having been expats ourselves, we understood how hard it is to purchase a property at home. The struggles of distance, different time zones and the pressures of executive life can make it difficult to accomplish on your own. We’re here to alleviate those problems and manage the entire process through our custom online platform.
What services do you offer?
We offer a tailored concierge service that spans the entire property journey; from understanding your goals to facilitating finance, research, selection, purchase and property management. We handle all of the communication with your solicitor, mortgage broker, accountant and current property manager. Our extensive team of professionals are on hand to make the process as easy as possible. We also manage the asset post-purchase, resulting in a hassle-free buying, renovating and property management experience.
Is it all doom and gloom in the Australian market at the moment?
The negative media about the property market relates primarily to Sydney and Melbourne, with the tightening of bank lending and foreign ownership from non-Australian citizens certainly having the federal government’s desired effect to cool those markets. But it’s important to remember Australia is a big place with many great markets at different stages of the property cycle. We work across the different price points nationwide to find the right investment options for our clients.
Who would I be working with?
You’ll have one point of contact for your project, available in your time zone, ensuring a more seamless experience that relieves any of the unnecessary stress of purchasing and renovating.
How long does it take to find a property?
On average, the process takes four months and, of course, we work with your own timeframes. Our service is bespoke and each purchase is personalised to our customer’s needs. We work with our customers to identify and refine their brief, and conduct thorough research and due diligence on properties. We don’t promise to find a home in a week. We cover every touch point of the process for our clients, leaving no stone unturned – meaning more extensive searches.
Can you walk us through a recent purchase?
We recently purchased an investment property in a gentrifying suburb of Canberra for a busy executive living in the UAE. This was their first property purchase, so they were unsure of where to begin, and they engaged us to handle the entire process. We started by turning a relatively broad brief into a reverse-brief with a number of macro area recommendations, which was then refined into specific property recommendations:
- Total Budget: $700,000
- Renovation Allowance: Cosmetic upgrades if required to fit within the maximum budget
- Property Type: House
- Capital Growth Target: 8-10%
- Gross Rental Yield: 4-5%
After an extensive period of state, regional and suburban research (both data-driven and on the ground in different cities in Australia), we presented areas we felt best matched their brief. In this case, the process took four weeks. They agreed to proceed with our recommended region, so from here we presented back several on-brief options across off-market opportunities, sale and auction properties, with a detailed analysis of each. We moved forward with the property for auction, purchasing under the hammer for $605,000.
The home is now undergoing a three-week cosmetic upgrade costing $26,000. We’re showing it to prospective tenants during this time, so we’ll have a tenant ready to move in as soon as the works are completed, with a gross rental yield circa 5.15%. This entire journey has been tracked in the client’s portal, which we update daily.
What are your fees?
We believe in total transparency, so we charge a flat fee for our services and on-costs.
Find out more: If you’re thinking of purchasing or renovating an investment property in Australia, and are unsure how to progress, contact Milk Chocolate.
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