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Tips for buying a property overseas

16 Sep 2016

So you’ve decided to make that dream of owning a place in the sun a reality, and you’re buying a holiday home or property abroad. Congratulations! Now here’s how to make sure that dream doesn’t turn into a nightmare...

1. Do your research

The property market for the UK by no means lines up with those in other countries. Look into whether house prices are on the up or in a slump and decide when to buy accordingly.

Property law is also different from country to country – make sure you know the laws, taxes and fees that will apply (and even if non-residents are allowed to buy property) at the location where you’re looking to buy.

You should also do your homework on any property you’re interested in before committing to anything – check you have all its relevant records, find out if all the utilities and sewage are connected and working and ensure there’s no outstanding debt against it.

2. Don’t skimp on the help you hire

Investing a large amount of money in a foreign country comes with a huge array of risks – so before you even start house hunting make sure you’ve set aside a significant chunk of your budget for the various professionals you’ll need to help you.

These include a proper estate agent or developer, a translator who can make sure you fully understand all the documentation involved, and a lawyer to help you navigate the entire investment process. And of course, the people handling the money transfers should also be experts – which is why you should sign up for a free International Payments account and let our knowledgeable team help you.

3. Guarantee your exchange rate in advance

Fluctuating exchange rates can be a massive headache when you’re dealing with a purchase as large as a property – the price you agree when you buy could end up costing you a lot more once you finally complete the transaction.

Thankfully, we offer a forward contract to secure your exchange rate in advance, in which you pay a 10% deposit and then complete the full transaction within a specified amount of time. For more information, see our Forward Contracts page or contact our International Payments team.

4. Consider all aspects of the money

It’s more than just the costs associated with buying the property – you need to think long term before you make any decisions. Shop around for the right kind of mortgage (there are plenty of providers who specialise in overseas purchases) and if you’re planning on renting the new property out do plenty of research into what you could charge as a holiday let. 
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