Must Ask Questions Before Buying a Property Abroad

3 February 2022

Investing in a property abroad as a permanent home, a place to retire, as a holiday getaway or purely as an investment for income is a very exciting idea.
Many people who are frequent international travelers either for work, leisure or retirement have considered buying a home or property abroad.
Tourists and expats are fascinated by the glorious weather, the beautiful landscapes, tasty cuisine and relaxing lifestyle.
Buying a property abroad is very appealing for people who wish to spend their vacations with their family, yet away from busy hotels that can be very expensive, or decide to spend the rest of their retirement somewhere abroad.

What is important to you when buying abroad?

Just as with buying in the UK or any other country for that matter, buying a property involves compromise. Your absolute dream home probably does not exist, unless you custom build. Make a list of must- haves. Are your priorities space, location, community or access? Would a villa or apartment suit your lifestyle more?

Do you want a new build or an older property?

There are many pros and cons to both. If you look at a new build, you will not have maintenance repairs to do and the property will be built to modern standards, but of course, a new property may lack character, and you may not know what the surroundings will look like when completed.
Older homes will most likely offer more character than a new build and the surroundings of the property and the area will be clear. Unfortunately though, older properties could need repairs and maintenance that need attention and building standards could be a little out dated for modern standards.

Are you looking to let out your property?

Renting out a property abroad can be a fantastic way to subsidize the cost of your property abroad. With this though comes extra hassle, wear and tear on your property and expense.
You have to research the local area and see what the demand is like for rental properties in the area, what are rent levels like? How is the area off season, during winter and how much stays open during this time? It’s best to explore and talk to locals to get the best idea.

What is accessibility like?

When you are choosing an appropriate area to purchase your property, especially for a holiday home, you need to figure out how you will commute to and from the property. If you plan on travelling via airlines, how accessible is the nearest airport? Are there flights during the winter months during the off season period?

How about care and maintenance of your property

If you will use the property as a holiday home, who will look after your property whilst you are not there?
If you choose to use a managing agent, how much will this cost you?

What features are most important to you and will you be able to compromise?

The way many of us use our homes has changed greatly over the years. Our homes have become our offices, gyms and a place we choose to socialize with our friends. Would you be willing to give up one feature for another? What features are the most important?  When choosing a property this must be considered.

What might happen to exchange rates?

Exchange rates are a very important factor to bear in mind. Timing your purchase to coincide with good exchange rates could be a major advantage, as this can increase your buying power immensely.

What are the prospects of making money on your property, like capital appreciation?

In European countries property prices have increased, much like the UK. What does the future look like in your chosen destination? How are property prices heading?

Legal advice and help

Wherever you decide to purchase your property, you will definitely need to take legal advice and will need a solicitor to help you to complete the process. You can choose your own lawyer or use one provided by the estate agent. Make sure you feel comfortable with them, and that they speak enough English as this will make life a lot easier for you. A language barrier can sometimes cause unnecessary problems.

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