As more and more holiday-goers follow their dreams to own property abroad, having that second home in a favourite holiday hotspot is something that’s more popular than ever! However, choosing a location and property that’s right for you can be a huge decision that needs some serious thought behind it.
Here Michael Bruce, CEO of hybrid estate agency Purplebricks.com, explains the most important things to consider when looking to buy abroad.
Research The Current Market
On top of checking the currency rate and the stability of the market, it’s vital that you conduct thorough research into the country you wish to buy. Double check that your chosen country gives you the legal right to buy, as many countries prevent or limit property purchase by foreigners.
Seek Specialist Advice
When buying in a country you’re not familiar with, it’s advisable to seek advice from independent solicitors, architects and surveyors as well as valuers. All of these specialists must have vast knowledge of your chosen country’s processes and laws, in order for them to confirm what is required from you.
Certain countries will have unexpected surprises in store – for instance in France , termite infestation is a big problem in roughly half the country – if you discover termites the best idea is to walk away.
Get a Valuation
As with buying property in the UK, it’s important to ensure an independent valuation is carried out to make sure there aren’t any problems with the property such as damp and wiring defects. Use local knowledge to best understand the area and what you’re buying as there are different laws and regulations in different countries so it’s important to get the correct insight.
Go onto the property websites for the country you are looking at and follow the price movements and remember that the price you see advertised maybe a long way off from the price that is actually paid.
Have Your Documents Translated
It’s absolutely vital that you have all documents professionally translated before you sign anything. The added cost of a translator will be beneficial in the long run as you need to understand every word, and also ensure you have piece of mind, before signing on the dotted line.
Open A Bank Account In Your Chosen Country
Failure to pay bills in some countries can result in action being taken by local authorities so it’s sensible to set up standing orders and direct debits from your local bank to pay for bills and taxes. Setting up an account from the outset will also mean you can withdraw cash without any charges, making each trip out to your chosen country that little bit more cost effective.
Think About The Additional Extras
Before buying make sure you are aware of costs charged by government authorities, and you’ll need to budget for specialist fees, taxes and insurance which will all be added to the final bill. It’s also worth checking the inheritance and capital gains tax laws of your chosen country as different laws apply in different countries.
And consider what you would do if you wanted to sell the property. At the time you buy it, you may think you’ll never sell it but life has a habit of throwing up surprises so be very wary of buying something so unique that it only has limited appeal.