Follow some simple guidelines and you can buy your ideal home abroad successfully

Spending money on overseas property, whether as a business investment or as an individual looking for a home abroad, involves the same guidelines. Ensuring you invest your money in property successfully means gathering as much knowledge of the subject as possible. Research is vital and there are some very simple guidelines that need to be followed, what and wherever you are buying.

The reality is that if you follow these guidelines you should come out ahead of the game. It’s inevitable that there are times when the unforeseen happens and the only thing to do then is to ride out the storm but, if you’ve bought your property correctly, you should come out in good shape when things improve.

Certainly there are hotspots in buying bricks and mortar. The first countries that attracted investment some 50 years were: Spain, Portugal, France and Italy and they are still among the market leaders. Then Florida came on stream but it wasn’t until the mid-1990s that interest turned to other areas.

Since 2000, investors have looked at destinations as far apart as Berlin and the Cape Verde Islands while today, there’s a great deal of interest among property investors and individual buyers in Argentina Turkey, Brazil and Thailand.

Guidelines for buying a home abroad:

  • Wherever you are planning to look for a property, drill down from country to region to local area. Take time, do your research, don’t allow yourself to be rushed. Where you choose should be affected by accessibility. You should take into account the location of airports, motorways, ferries and rail networks.
  • When you’ve identified your ideal country and region, go there. It’s all very well to do your research on the Internet but don’t even consider buying without visiting the area at least once. Nothing beats getting your feet on the ground. If you are looking for an individual property, you’ll really need to  consider what you want – a home in a city, an apartment, a house, in the country, ski slopes, the beach or town with land or garden, with swimming pool?
  • Don’t make hasty decisions. Make your own mind up. Be hard nosed about the process. Do your homework.
  • When you’ve identified the area, begin visiting towns, villages and developments. Make sure you include in your research: property exhibitions, magazines, go online and begin talking to local agents. Do not buy anything without seeing it – that may sound simplistic but it’s amazing how many people have bought sight unseen (or site unseen) and regretted it later.
  • Involve your family in the search. If you’ve decided to move permanently, begin to calculate what you’ll need to take, what to sell and if you’ve got kids, what you’ll do about finding schools.
  • Once you’ve found your ideal property, you’ll need to identify legal and financial advisors. Above all, they must be totally independent of the estate agent, the developer or the vendor and dedicated only to you. Otherwise, you could find yourself with major problems.
  • Don’t be embarrassed to ask questions such as: are there any debts attached to the property? In some countries, the debts remain with the property and the last thing you’ll want is to inherit them. Do make sure your lawyer checks that the property has clear title.
  • Don’t forget to take into account all the additional costs. These range from legal and Notary fees to local taxes, national taxes, the costs of removals, buying new furnishings and health insurance.
  • Finally, don’t neglect to think about your exit strategy. At least consider the possibility that you could want to sell at some point in the future. How would you do it, who would your potential purchasers be and how would you market the property?