The Dos and Don’ts of Buying Property Abroad



There’s no denying that buying a property abroad can be a confusing, stressful and sometimes frustrating process. Mistakes can be extremely costly, and can as a result land you in both legal and financial trouble.

Of course, it’s not all doom and gloom and there are many positives to purchasing a property abroad, it’s just important that you do plenty of research and seek the help of an experienced professional when it comes to making the transaction. Interested in buying a property but feel overwhelmed when it comes to navigating such a minefield? These dos and don’ts will help you along the way…

Do Select Your Location Wisely

It’s important that you make rational decisions when purchasing a property, and don’t let your emotions take over and guide you. Sure, you might have found the villa of your dreams, but is it in a desirable area? Are there regular and affordable flights? It’s worth checking out a flight scanner to gain a better understanding of the associated costs.

If you plan to rent your property out to holidaymakers, then it’s wise to stick to popular, or upcoming holiday destinations. Spain, Portugal and France are three always popular choices, or perhaps somewhere up and coming such as Montenegro where properties are still relatively cheap in comparison.

Do Seek Legal Assistance

Language barriers and time zones can cause a world of confusion and make for a messy property buying process. You don’t want to be left facing any legal issues or costly mistakes, this is why it’s vital to seek assistance to ensure all legal checks and processes are successfully completed and the correct contracts are signed.

It’s also a good idea to complete a survey before proceeding with the purchase, although surveys aren’t as frequently carried out abroad as they are in the UK you should have a solid understanding of the property’s condition including any potential structural issues. The last thing you want is to complete on the property and discover it needs a new roof!

Don’t Forget Tax

You might find that you’re stung with a few fees and surprise payments during the buying process and at least one of these is bound to be tax related. You should research any tax payments that will need to be made such as purchase tax, and tax on rents.

Although you may feel clued up, it’s always best to seek independent advice when it comes to tax, as different countries have different rules and laws that need to be adhered to.

Don’t Underestimate Market Research

The common theme when buying a property abroad is that research is absolutely key to a successful purchase. You need to undertake plenty of market research and consider market factors and trends including price growth, rental yield, days on market and vacancy rates.

This is particularly important if you’re buying your property as an investment with the intention of renting it as a holiday villa or apartment. This is where it’s a good idea to speak to a financial planner and estate agent to help you decide whether the property is a good investment.

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