Hunting for a property can be tricky at the best times, but throw in the added complication of looking for a new home overseas and it becomes even more challenging. Luckily, you can make the process go relatively smoothly as long as you follow some basic tips – read on for our advice.
Tip 1: View properties in person
It’s easy to get carried away with internet searches and base your decision on how nice the property looks in the photos. As convenient as the web is, however, it’s no substitute for taking a good look around the house yourself.
You wouldn’t buy your next home in the UK based purely on web photos, so don’t make this mistake when it comes to buying abroad, whether you’re moving overseas or looking to let it to tenants.
Tip 2: Find a local estate agent
Once you’ve started going to view properties in person, you might feel compelled to register with a local estate agent to see if there’s anything else available that’s perhaps not being advertised online.
This can be a shrewd move, but only if you pick the right agent – one with a decent selection of properties in the right area, as well as a thorough knowledge of the local market and the ability to communicate with you in English. Look for positive recommendations from other buyers online as a starting point.
Tip 3: Research the market
Even if you intend to stay in your new home for a long while, it’s important to be aware of what the local property market is like in case you ever need to sell up or rent it out for unexpected reasons. There are many organisations that produce regular house price and market reports for different countries, such as Lloyds TSB International, so these may offer a good guide.
Don’t be taken in by bargain prices, as this may mean the property is in an undesirable area. Similarly, don’t assume that a high price means the property is located in an up and coming area (even if the ad says it is) – as you’re buying from a distance, you will need to put in some extra work to make sure any such claims are substantiated.
Tip 4: View several properties
Viewing multiple properties is crucial to determining whether the one you’ve got your heart set on really is the right purchase for you. Even if you fall in love with the first house you see, it’s worth going to look at a few more just to make doubly sure it’s the best investment, and that you’re not letting that sometimes unreliably gut instinct make the entire decision for you.
It can be a good idea to take someone else along with you to get a second opinion on the properties you view. Even if they aren’t a property expert, they’ll at least be able to provide an alternative perspective for you to consider.
Tip 5: Look into financing before you buy
Don’t focus solely on finding the right property – it’s just as important that you choose the right method of financing, too. It’s always a good idea to look into mortgages and how they work for overseas properties before you start looking for a new home, just so you’re fully aware of what’s involved.
This can also help when it comes to setting out a timescale for the buying process, as overseas mortgages may take a while to process. It’s worth speaking to a financial adviser and/or a local representative of the relevant overseas bank to find out more. Don’t forget to also take legal advice so you know your rights when it comes to overseas home ownership.