Have you ever been browsing the internet when a pop up for foreign property appears and you just can’t believe how cheap it is? Who knows just how many people have set off on a search for property abroad from just such a moment. It’s true that there are many countries where, when it comes to buying property, your money will go a lot further than it does in the U.K., but buying property abroad is an important decision and it’s certainly not one to be rushed into. So, here’s a few pointers to get you started.
Where in the world?
Just because you happened to see an advert for property in say, Croatia, it doesn’t mean that that is necessarily the right choice for you and your family. You need to make decisions about how far from the U.K. you want to be and the kind of culture and climate that you want.
Research the market
Once you are sure about the country in which you wish to settle, you still have an enormous amount of choice in front of you. Don’t just look at places you’ve heard of and don’t be guided entirely by local estate agents. In most countries you should be able to find data on local and national house prices, the kind of information that you can find on Rightmove in the U.K. In Portugal, for example, the real estate platform Imovirtual reports monthly on house prices and a quick look reveals that whilst prices in Lisbon are comparatively high, you can find much better value for your money in cities like Guarda.
A visit is essential
You can do a lot of preliminary sifting on the internet but there is no substitute for going and looking at property in person. If circumstances allow, try to hire rental accommodation in the area in which you are looking so that you can get a feel of what living there might be like.
Seek out the advice of people who live there
There are ex-pat online communities in most countries and these forums are a valuable source of impartial information. You’ll get much more of a warts and all view from them than you will from an estate agent.
Consider the practicalities of living there
There’s many an overseas home bought on a snap decision and later regretted. It may be oh so beautiful, but is it practical? Is it too old or too large for you to maintain? Will it be too hot in summer or too cold in winter? What will it cost to heat? How far are the nearest shops, schools, hospitals and transport hubs? You will be moving away from friends and family; will you be lonely? You won’t really know the answer to some of these questions until you’ve moved but the more you’ve thought it through, the happier you are likely to be.
Get everything translated
When you’ve made your decision and you are going ahead with the purchase, don’t rely on your estate agent to tell you what each document means, make sure that you can read it for yourself before you sign.
Have you ever considered buying a property abroad or even taken the step?
What are your top tips?