Buying a property abroad is a big step that people may not not have taken before. Here are some important considerations.
Buying international property requires more time, care and research than buying in your home country. It’s important to research not just the housing market of your particular destination but also its surrounding amenities such as shops, restaurants and transport.
It is essential to remain clear about your objectives. Answer the Why are you buying? and what you're hoping to achieve. Is it for retirement, purely for holidays or an investment?
There are few, if any, guarantees when buying property, at home or overseas. Using an independent lawyer significantly reduces the risks you take on an overseas property purchase and employing a professional agent or buying from a professional developer will also help you.
Make sure you know your budget before you start looking at properties - this should include at least a provisional mortgage offer if you're borrowing money.
Don't then be tempted to buy more properties than you can afford (particularly on off-plan properties) hoping to sell the extra properties before completion unless you fully understand the risks as well as the rewards.
If borrowing money, your repayments will stretch over several years, years in which lending criteria and borrowing costs may change. Discuss the long term repayment with a financial specialist before proceeding.
The rates do not need to move substantially to affect the value of your purchase. When you start looking, £100,000 may buy you a certain property - a 10% drop in the value of the £ against the Euro, for example, may then put that property out of your budget. If you've already signed contracts to buy, this could cause you a problem. Speak to specialists in this area and secure your rate of exchange early.