Elaine Ferguson, Head of the OverseasGuidesCompany.com Resource Centre, spends her days speaking to those who are in the process of looking for property overseas – discussing their fears in the current climate.
“It’s been clear in recent weeks that the possibility of a Greek exit from the euro, along with the probable EU Referendum in the UK, has caused concern for those considering buying property on the continent.
“To help those troubled by recent events, here are my top five tips for handling the current uncertainty:
1. Do as much research as possible
This is important for every person considering moving or buying property abroad, regardless of the climate. It’s so important to ensure that you assess every aspect of your purchase and journey to living overseas before you begin, so that you can keep the reasons why you are doing this in your mind throughout – are you doing it for the sun, for the lifestyle? You need to know the best places where you can achieve these objectives, and weigh up all the pros and cons - it’s important to keep this in sight throughout the whole process.
At the current time, we recommend keeping an eye on the embassy websites for the latest news and advice – and make sure that you stick to actual guidance and fact, and don’t panic! This leads me nicely onto my next point…
2. Don’t panic!
Experts believe that the possibility of the UK exiting the EU has not even been factored into the markets at this time. The general sentiment from the UK right now is certainly in favour of staying in the EU, and continuing the current relationship and reciprocal agreements in place. Prime Minister David Cameron has been vocal in his plans to negotiate a deal that ensures the UK stays in the EU.
Even if the unthinkable were to happen, the close working relationship between both sides would almost guarantee that some kind of agreement would be put into place. This should not only protect the huge amount of trade, travel and market movement between the UK and the other countries in the EU, but also ensure the protection of the many British expats living in, or moving to, the EU – especially considering how reliant many EU countries are on the income from British expats and property buyers.
The most important thing really is to cut through all the speculation and focus on the facts – and actual reality of the situation.
3. Speak to an agent
If you are heading out on a property viewing trip this summer, make sure you speak to your agent and ensure that everything is planned accordingly. Your agent should be an expert in the local area and all the latest goings on, meaning they can offer you guidance and educate you on the market. Make sure you have enough time to really view the properties you are interested in, and check out the local area in the evening – you need to know all that you can about an area before you decide to live there!
4. Consult a currency exchange expert
So much of this revolves around the strength of sterling – and the numerous political and economic events so far this year have meant that sterling has strengthened over 12% since January. However, any concern over the position of the UK in the EU could have a dramatic effect on sterling’s position – as we saw during the Scotland Referendum last September, and the General Election in May. To ensure that you can keep a close eye on these movements and always take advantage of the best currency rates, I recommend speaking to a currency specialist, like SmartCurrencyExchange.com. They can help you stay on top of any currency fluctuations and ensure you understand the implications for your personal situation.
5. Don’t overstretch your budget
You need to know exactly how much you can afford from the beginning – taking into account all the costs and fees associated with a property purchase, as well as the actual price of the property. If you don’t take this into account before you begin, you could fall into the trap of falling in love with a property that you cannot realistically afford – or even taking out a mortgage that could lead you into financial instability. Speaking to a currency specialist at the very beginning will ensure you know exactly how many euros you can purchase for your sterling – saving you money and minimising the risk of currency fluctuations affecting you.”