Buying a home overseas is not a committment to be rushed into. Careful planning could make the difference between an expensive and burdensome mistake and the best move you ever make. Although there are similarities between the purchase processes of some countries, beware of assuming that the process of buying a property overseas will be the same as the process in your home country - this is unlikely to be the case.
Do you plan to stay in your overseas property for short, frequent stays or longer, less frequent stays? If you want a holiday home as short break to get away from it all, a convenient travelling time from your main residence is essential.
There are three different approaches to purchasing a property: buying an existing property, buying a newly built property from a developper or buying a plot of land and building a property to your exact specifications. The latter is attractive to buyers interested in having a good garden because of the challenge of finding the right property with the right garden in the right place.
You will normally pay for an overseas property in foreign currency so it is well worth taking an interest in fluctuating exchange rates. Many countries allow foreign property buyers to obtain a local mortgage. This may seem favourable because of the difference in interest rates but given the unpredictable nature of exchange rates this should be weighed against the security of taking out a mortgage in the currency you are earning in.
Many buyers of overseas property rent out their property for much of the year to cover all or most of the cost. How many weeks a year you can expect to rent out your property will depend on its location. Careful research is necessary but as a rule of thumb the more months of warm, sunny weather the area enjoys the longer the rental season is likely to be (skiing areas are an obvious exception). The cost of having an overseas property is greater than the mortgage - don't forget you will have to pay local taxes, insurance, utility bills and general maintenance. A garden will increase the cost of maintenance, particularly if you have a pool.
When choosing a lawyer to assist in the purchase, it is best to get a personal recommendation from someone you trust or at least ask for references. It is essential that your lawyer gives you impartial advice so be cautious about using the lawyer your estate agent recommends. Select a lawyer with local knowledge and fluency in the local language.
Falling in love overseas is too easy - so take care. We recommend:
Also, one should be clear about the reasons for buying a home overseas. The following are typical, with the possible disappointments in brackets
Sunset behind a Spanish home
A home beside a canal
Luxury Real Estate
Flowers in Greece
Windmills in Greece