How To Take The Stress Out Of Buying Abroad (Part 1)

23.03.16

With favourable exchange rates and a burgeoning choice of keenly-priced holiday homes to choose from – now’s a good time to buy abroad

There’s something quaintly reassuring about the Herculean mound of paperwork that comes with buying property in the UK, from land registry checks and structural surveys to arranging finance and buildings insurance. If nothing else, you at least know where you stand. Buying abroad doesn’t always come with that same ‘tick-box’ seal of quality. Individual countries can differ greatly in their ‘due-diligence’ procedures, which makes a background check-list an essential step before short-listing potential location options:

Look at the bigger picture – research macro factors such as a country’s political and economic situation. Investigate tourism statistics, stability of currency, as well as property growth trends and the government’s stance on foreign ownership. Go to www.fco.gov.uk and www.aipp.org.uk for up-to-date location profiles.

Sort your finances – if you’re arranging finance on a property, ensure that this is clearly stated in any contract. Where possible, seek an ‘opt-out-clause’ if the loan is not agreed. This will ensure any deposit paid is refunded.

Know your legal rights – some emerging markets offer limited protection to overseas buyers, so find out what restrictions are put on foreign property holders, including the maximum length of stay, visa requirements and what appropriation rights the government holds in the region. Where do you stand if the developer or vendor fails to deliver on what they’ve promised? What is the dispute resolution process?

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