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Top Tips on buying a home overseas in 2016

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Top Tips on buying a home overseas in 2016

Whether it's a detached villa with pool on Disney's doorstep in Florida, a stylish apartment close to the beach in Spain or a perfectly located country retreat in Portugal, the overseas property market is awash with great value properties for those who know where to look.

Chris White, Founding Director of Ideal Homes International, gives his top tips on buying a home overseas this year.

Chris said: “We're predicting great things for the overseas property market in 2016, with Spain and Portugal, the US and Cyprus all appealing in unique ways to buyers from the UK. We would always advise buyers to be cautious though, particularly if they haven't bought overseas before – it's really important to do your homework and buy through a trusted and reputable company.”

1. Investigate on the internet – research potential areas thoroughly, rather than individual properties. Find out about local amenities, from beaches to restaurants, based on your priorities. Think about how those priorities may change in the future as well – a holiday home bought this year could serve as a retirement pad later on, so what facilities would you want on hand then? Don't fall in love with a particular property until you know the location is right for you!

2. Use an agent with form – opt for an organisation with a good track record. Make sure they have been in business for some time and have a long list of satisfied customers happy to speak about their experiences.

3. Budget carefully – buying overseas isn't just about the property price. Be aware of the buying costs like fees and local taxes. These can vary hugely from country to country, so do your research and budget accordingly.

4. Plan a trip – once you've identified the places you like on the internet, hop on a plane and check them out for yourself. You will quickly be able to get a feel for whether or not a place is right for you and a few hundred pounds invested at this stage can serve extremely well when it comes to finding the perfect location for your new home overseas.

5.  Know what you want BEFORE you visit – think about how many bedrooms you need, whether proximity to the beach or a local golf course is important to you, whether you simply must have your own pool and whether the local supermarket can be reached on foot or by car. Whatever your preferences, have them firmly fixed in mind before you visit – and be sure that your agent understands them too. This will ensure that he/she is able to show you properties that perfectly suit your requirements and avoid wasting time spent touring unsuitable homes.

6. Think about the journey – work out the journey from your current home to the area in which you plan to purchase. What are the flight times and costs like? Is there just one airline that flies into the local airport or several? Can you hire a car easily upon arrival if you need to? These factors will impact on how relaxed you are by the time you arrive at your overseas property each and every time you visit, so think the journey through in detail.


7. Find a reputable lawyer – this is one of the most important elements of buying a second home overseas. A good agent should be able to recommend a reputable lawyer, or you can do your own research on the internet and by speaking to others who have bought property in the area. Chat on the phone with the lawyer and meet him or her when you visit – test their knowledge and be sure to choose someone you are comfortable with.

8. Think about money matters – once you've bought your property, you will need to get money out to that country regularly in order to pay bills, take care of maintenance issues and so forth. Look at what you need to do to set up a local bank account and plan to do this as early as possible in the process. Bear in mind that many overseas banks also have a branch in London where you can take care of some of the initial paperwork should you need to do so.

9. Remember the insurance – before you commit to purchasing a property, check that it is insurable and at a reasonable rate. If the area that you like the look of is prone to flooding or sink holes then it might be time to look elsewhere.

10. Ask about hidden requirements – speak to your agent and conduct your own research online to ensure that you know everything you need to. In Portugal, for example, you need a fiscal number in order to purchase a property. You can get one quickly and easily from the local Finanças department for a small fee – or you can appoint a lawyer to take care of this on your behalf.

11. Consider other significant expenses – what other expenses might your property purchase give rise to? One of the most commonly overlooked items is the need for a car, so think about whether you can access your new home on public transport, whether you will pay for a hire car each time or whether you would prefer to purchase a car of your own overseas.

12. Is the property just for you? – if you plan to rent your property out as well as using it yourself then be sure that it appeals to a wide range of holidaymakers. Neutral décor and access to a pool can make a big difference to the number of people choosing your holiday home over another one.

13. Speak to the experts – join some online forums and Facebook groups and chat to those who have already purchased in the area you like. Even better, find people who have moved fulltime and benefit from their experiences of local life.

14. Know the market – understand price trends in the country and region you like in order to know whether or not your expectations are realistic based on your budget. Knowledge of local prices will also help you to gauge whether you are paying over the odds or picking up a real bargain.

15. Think about maintenance – unless you are planning a permanent move, you will need to consider how best to maintain your property from afar. An isolated villa might be your dream holiday home, but an apartment on a managed condominium might present far fewer headaches in terms of regular maintenance, particularly if you plan to rent it out as well as use it yourself.

16. Use an agent who does it all – find an agent you trust and who can offer you the whole package. They will be able to support you with every step of the process, from finding a reputable lawyer to arranging an inspection trip. This can often be by far the quickest and cheapest approach – and also the least hassle!

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Latest Comments

Paul
Paul 25 May 2016

Estate agents are pathetic when it comes to fees. They have this 'I had to do it at 1% because that's what the others were quoting' mentality. We are the most expensive agents in our area, charging double...

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HMO Midlands Landlady
HMO Midlands Landlady 24 May 2016

Tenants disappearing into the night is common from shared houses ( licensed and un-licensed HMO's) often when they owe considerable rent- they remove all their possessions, leave key in room and tell other...

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CommercialTrust
CommercialTrust 20 May 2016

With the bulk of the market controlled by large developers, profit rather than necessity determine the pace at which homes are built. There are hundreds of thousands of plots that have planning permission...

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Johna
Johna 20 May 2016

"Easier said than done" is what I would say. Of course, it would be more than great to have more in quality and affordability, but I do not trust talk anymore.. What is said is not what is happening.

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Johna
Johna 20 May 2016

in my humble opinion being fair like THE most important! I myself have had bad experience with unfair landlords... not to mention that I know how to do a proper end of tenancy cleaning since I am a fantastic...

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richardrawlings
richardrawlings 18 May 2016

NB - even if we doubled our commission levels in the UK, we'd still be by far the cheapest agents in the entire world.

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Agent_PeeBee
Agent_PeeBee 18 May 2016

Clueless. Someone needs to take these people's computers away from them so they can do no more harm than they already have.

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richardrawlings
richardrawlings 18 May 2016

Nonsense! The cost of selling a house nowadays has little bearing on the fees charged. Don't believe your own spin on this. Fees have spiralled down to pathetic levels in areas where weak agents have allowed...

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Simon Oliver
Simon Oliver 16 May 2016

The best solution is to buy a property that has built-in income generating potential: a nice house with a couple of gites in the grounds is a good start. In France, the rune of thumb is that one 2-bedroomed...

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WPD
WPD 12 May 2016

I suggest the answer is to have the notary system being one legal person who represents both parties. Having experienced it a couple of times in France it was a dream compared to our dysfunctional system....

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warren
warren 03 May 2016

It's enough to make me weep into my Pimm's :(

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james anderson
james anderson 03 May 2016

The sad demise of the croquet lawn...

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