Do's & Don'ts of Buying Abroad

me and mollyHave you ever looked at the dark sky outside, the heavens opening up with rain and the pale reflection looking back at you in the mirror on any given day and thought, yes that’s it I want bright sunshine, sandy beaches, latino music and a mojito …………..hellooo I am going to move abroad!!!

The first step is taking a look at where you would like to go, the type of life you have always dreamed of and what type of property you would like to purchase!!!

Most people decide for a number of different reasons to purchase a property abroad:-

  1. Relocation
  2. Investment with a view to retirement
  3. Retirement Property
  4. Holiday home for the family

And here we are, but where to go:-

Well the top destinations to move abroad are:-

United States of America





………. but wherever you decide to go it would be good to remember the following points:-

  1. Take your time to decide – it’s an important move so ask yourself why you are doing it and what you wish to achieve . Do you choose a location where you can still have all your golden favourites …… a good cuppa tea, a great pint, a cheese burger or kebab and curry or are you looking for that exotic location where you wanna change your life style completely and freefall into a new dimension!! Well the number one rule is to explore your location, spend time there on holiday in all seasons to see what’s it like, the locals, the food, the cost of living, accessibility to other areas, airports and travel, beaches, lakes, mountains and cities close by.
  1. Property viewings – whatever country you choose always remember to also choose a trusted property agent, someone who specializes in the area that you are interested in and speaks your language so there are no barriers and above all, someone who is fully qualified as a realtor and a good listener. Explain in detail what you are looking for and the locations that you are interested in as well as your budget ( including or excluding purchase taxes ) and your reasons for purchasing so that the agent is fully informed, this is to avoid them taking you on a wild goose chase and wasting valuable time.
  1. Don’t purchase more than you can afford – it may be that you might fall upon a great property that is not in your actual budget, please please don’t be tempted until you know that you can comfortably and I use that word with a certain emphasis, purchase without creating any stress on your financial situation. Always look the property over both inside and outside and before signing any paperwork discuss at length, if necessary with an independent lawyer. Request the legal documentation for the property and if it is new or off plan make sure if there are any legal requirements that need to be covered by the developer.
  1. Mortgages – if you need a mortgage to purchase then prior to viewing any property please make sure that you have your lending in place and that you can actually borrow the funds. If you are looking for a mortgage in the country of your choice then you should probably use a financial advisor who will have access to more than one lending institution and can help you to understand if you qualify for a mortgage in the first place.
  1. Don’t be too hasty – think carefully before making any deposits on any property, I normally ask my clients to give some serious thought for at least 48 hours and then come back to me.
  1. Don’t forget about tax laws in that country – do make sure that you fully inform yourself of the tax laws both inheritance tax, property tax and capital gains tax should you decide to sell. You will need to speak to either a good tax lawyer or equivalent to understand the implications of your choice. Always find out what the laws are with regards to Wills and Testaments to cover your family.
  1. Don’t forget about fluctuating exchange rates – this is a very important point as it could mean a big price difference should your currency deflate. In these cases I normally advise a good currency broker who can assist you to obtain the best exchange rates in order that you are not caught out.
  1. Options – if you are thinking of relocating it would probably be a good idea to keep your options open, if you have a property in your country maybe keep it and rent it out for a period until you are sure about making the move permanently. That way you have a fallback should it not work out.
  1. Language barriers – remember that if you are seriously considering a move abroad you either have to choose a country where they speak your language or get used to the idea that you are going to have to learn the language at some time. On this note it would probably be a good idea to frequent night classes, take an internet course or buy some language dvd’s to listen in the car on the way to work to get a head start!
  1. Golden rule – Don’t rush into anything, this is a life choice and it has to bring you joy and happiness so think things through……..

Madeleine Morgan – 1st October 2016

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