Owning a property abroad – the Dos & Don’ts

Many Brits decide at some stage that it’s time for them to pack their bags and move abroad, or that they simply want to own a holiday home. Moaning about the UK, the weather, and the government are things that we Brits are great at – it seems we’ve always got something to complain about. Maybe this is why you’ve decided to buy a property abroad. Whether you want to get away from it all a few times a year or you’d like to move away permanently, these dos and dont’s will help you.

Do Make Sure You Take As Much Time As You Need

Buying a property, especially one in a foreign country, is not something that should be rushed. This is especially important if you’re buying somewhere unfamiliar. It’s a good idea to take plenty of time to explore various areas you might like to buy. Doing this during and after holiday season will give you a better idea of what to expect if you do decide to buy.

You’ll want to make sure you’re happy with the culture and environment, as well as things like local transport and facilities. Do you have good transport links? Is it easy to get to and from the airport? Are there plenty of restaurants and other amenities in the area? These are all things you’ll need to think about carefully before making the decision to move.

If you can, it’s a good idea to chat to some of the locals about the area so you know what to expect. Talking to both native locals and other expats will give you a good idea of what you need to look out for and things you should be thinking about before making this decision.

Make sure you take your time looking at properties once you’ve found the area you want to move to, too. Areas can have different things going on at different times of the day. Plan to check this out, both inside and outside of the property so that there are no surprises. It might look like the perfect property and neighbourhood during the day, but at night, your neighbours could throw wild street parties!

Don’t Spend More Than You Can Afford

You need to make sure you’re planning on spending the amount that you can realistically afford. Take your time drawing up a budget before you start looking for properties. Some people who want to move also consider buying more than one property so that they can rent them out and make money when they are not there, but this can be a risky move unless you can truly afford it and you’re sure you’ll get tenants.

Do Make Sure You Get An Agreement In Principle

You must make sure you get something called an ‘agreement in principle’ for your mortgage before you agree to purchase a property. Moving abroad for good is a huge decision, and you’ll need the right mortgage broker to help you. A mortgage broker in the country you’re moving to will likely help you to get a better deal, as they know the ropes and have probably helped people like you before.

Don’t Make Irrational Decisions With Your Deposit

If you find a property you like – you know, the one that makes your heart flutter, it’s still a good idea to think of all the pros and cons before you hand over a deposit. It’s all too easy for your vision to become cloudy when you’re hyper focused on finding the right property. When you find one you like, you might become blind to the faults and risks you could be taking on. This is a good time to sit down and work out what the risks are, any faults with the property, and get advice from an outside perspective.

Do Look For Specialist Advice

Looking for advice from independent solicitors and surveyors before you purchase a property abroad is key to making sure that this is the right investment for you. You need to know all about the laws of the country you’re buying in, and they can fill you in on things of importance. Using a local/international firm that is English speaking will help you to figure out everything you need to know before going ahead.

Don’t Forget To Take Tax Into Account

The inheritance and capital gains tax laws will differ in your chosen country to those in the UK, so you’ll need to be aware of these. For example, if you were to purchase a property in France, the inheritance laws mean your property would automatically be inherited by your children, and not your spouse. You may need to make appropriate adjustments to your will.

Do Keep Your Options Open If Possible

If you plan on moving abroad for good, then you might want to keep a property back home and rent out a place in the location you believe you want to live. This may be more expensive at first, but you’ll save yourself the hassle of moving somewhere only to realise later on that it isn’t right for you. You might even come to the conclusion that you only want a holiday home in your chosen location.

Don’t Underestimate How Much This is Going To Cost You

Make sure you take into account all of the costs associated with moving abroad. You’ll need to think about legal fees, valuation fees, insurance, taxes, and more. These should be taken into account when you’re figuring out your budget. It might also help you to look at the resale hdb price to get an idea of what to expect.

Do Set Up A Bank Account In Your Chosen Country

Before you make an offer on your chosen property, set up a bank account. Standing orders to pay for local bills and taxes will also help you to stay on track.

Don’t Forget That Exchange Rates Tend To Fluctuate

Exchange rates tend to fluctuate, and this can impact the value of your property. Securing your rate of exchange as soon as possible will ensure that your property remains affordable. The exchange rate can also affect your mortgage.

Do Attempt To Learn The Language

Learning the local language before you move will save you a lot of hassle. Even if you learn a few key phrases and learn the rest once you have moved, you’ll be doing yourself a favour.

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