A lifelong dream for many of us is to buy a property abroad. Looking for a remote cottage on an island, a luxurious beachfront property, or a house big enough to accommodate all your friends and family? Make sure you know the essentials by reading on for some information that will make the buying process a lot easier.
As the saying goes the three most important things about buying a property are ‘location location location'. This is still true when you're buying your property abroad. You need to make sure that the site, fulfils all of your requirements. Many people have an idea of their dream foreign property in the head for years. Then they are confronted by reality. Their budget will not stretch that far, or the location is completely impractical for the lifestyle they wish to lead. Even worse, sometime there are no houses for sale in the area they are looking in. The best approach is to consider your needs, but remember to be flexible. Do you want the luxury and climate of a tropical property, or is a remote log cabin in the woods more your thing? You may have to make some comparisons to make this choice. For example is it more important to be close to a town or village or is the view an essential thing to consider?
How the property market works
The next thing that is crucial to buying a property abroad is knowing how the property market works in the area that area. Different countries have different ways of conducting property sales. This can be problematic as it can be confusing if you are using an unfamiliar system. Buyers are often concerned that they will lose money on the deposit, survey or completion stages of buying a foreign property. The best way to deal with this is to do some internet research. Then speak to a property expert and a lawyer that is resident in the country of your choice, or are very familiar with the property market there. This will stop you coming across any unexpected risks.
How the development market works
It is also important to have some knowledge of how the property development and rental markets work in the country of your choice. You need to know whether you will need planning permission before you extend or change your property. Some countries insist on it before, and some after the changes have been made! See here for some more info. If you make changes without the correct permissions, it is possible that the government can ask you to remove them. This means you'll be out of pocket, and all that effort will have gone to waste.
If you will be renting your property out when you are not using it, it is important that you know the laws on long-term, short term and holiday lets. For example, Berlin have stopped people buying apartments and houses for the sole purpose of holiday rentals. Berlin has done this to ensure that the cost of living remains reasonable for native families and the rental holiday rental market doesn't drive the cost of properties up.