Top 10 Tips for Buying a Property Overseas
1. Have clear motives
Buying a second home is no small purchase so be clear in your mind why you are doing it. Are you looking for a holiday home, a place to retire to or an investment opportunity?
2. Do your research
Never buy a property without first checking that the location suits your needs. Spend some time there and consider transport links and facilities.
3. Choose a reliable agent
Most property agents are on your side but word of mouth recommendations from friends are a good starting point when choosing a reliable agent to assist you in finding your overseas home.
4. Be financially realistic
Follow your head and not your heart when deciding on your budget and remember to add on approximately 10-15% to the asking price to cover taxes, fees and other costs. When searching for a property, always have access to enough money to pay a deposit so that when you find the right one you can secure it immediately.
5. Consider mortgage options
A number of UK banks will organise mortgages in pounds or euros for overseas purchases, but you should also consider using a local bank in the country of your purchase. A Euro mortgage will be lower interest rates but may leave you open to exchange rate fluctuations.
6. Get a survey
It is not seen as essential in many countries but if you are considering a second hand property get a survey done as you would in the UK. It will give you peace of mind and may save you both serious heartache and thousands of pounds.
7. Always use an independent lawyer
Choose an independent, bilingual lawyer who has good knowledge of the legal system in the UK and the country in which you are buying. Never sign any documents that have not been checked by your lawyer who should make all the necessary checks on the status of the property.
8. Pay your taxes
With a new property come new taxes: find out which taxes you are liable for, how you pay them and keep up to date with payments.
9. Take out the correct insurance
Every property needs to be insured for its intended use. For example, if you let your property, make sure it is adequately covered for any damage caused by tenants. Holiday homes left vacant for long periods of time also need a special type of cover.
10. Make a local will
It sounds morbid but while it is fresh in your mind, draw up a local will as soon as you take possession of your new property. This will cut out time consuming and expensive legal problems for your heirs and should mean they pay less inheritance tax than if dealt with through the UK system.
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