Buying property overseas: 5 top tips

Posted on 07 August 2017

Have you just returned from your summer holiday relaxed and bronzed? Did you have to be dragged kicking and screaming onto the plane back to the UK drizzle? Are you now hatching a plan to buy your own home in the sun you can escape to whenever the rain clouds gather? You’re not the first and you certainly won’t be the last person to embark on an overseas property buying journey having returned from the perfect holiday. And while this will probably be one of the best decision you’ll ever make, there are some common mistakes to avoid if it’s going to become a reality.

Has the property been built legally?

Check with the relevant authorities to ensure the property you are interested in hasn’t been built on greenbelt or agricultural land, and that it isn’t illegally close to the coast. It’s not unheard of for homes to be demolished if they have been built too close the shoreline without the necessary consent, or on unregistered land.

Don’t pay more than you need to

Some unscrupulous agents prey on foreign buyers, so avoid paying more than you need to by entrusting your purchase to one with a proven track record of helping clients such as yourself. Be mindful that prices may be inflated if the property is located in an area popular with tourists, or if the property in question is attracting particular attention from foreign buyers.

Construction issues

Whether the property is new or old, make sure you obtain an independent evaluation from a surveyor to identify any hidden issues such as damp, timber rot, wiring defects or subsidence – in the same way as you would have a survey conducted here in the UK. This will also help you establish whether the original valuation is a fair one or not. If you are buying a new build, take some time to check the developer’s track record.

Know what you are signing

If the translation of the contract into English is not a true version of the original, it could lead to considerable confusion. Employ the services of an independent lawyer who is able to verify that the translated copy of the contract mirrors the original. Failure to do so could lead to you unwittingly agreeing to extra conditions or charges.

Use a currency specialist

Using a currency specialist rather than your high-street bank to transfer funds overseas to pay for your property could lead to significant savings. Excellent exchange rates are complimented by expert market guidance and the ability to secure a current rate for a future transfer, allowing you to protect your budget from the ups and downs of currency markets.

For further information about how to buy a property abroad, get your free download of the Buying Overseas Guide, by clicking here.

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