Wednesday, November 1, 2017

There are a few reasons you might decide to buy a property abroad. Perhaps you're making a big move, and you're going to start your new life in another country. You might have fallen in love with a favorite destination for vacationing, and you've decided you want a base for your future trips. Maybe you want to make an investment, or you're looking for a home you will eventually retire to. Whatever your reasons for buying property abroad, you need to take the right approach to get something that works for you. Start with these steps to discover the best options for your wants and needs.

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Check the Rules on Foreigners Buying

Don't do anything before you check what the laws are surrounding non-citizens or permanent residents buying property. Some countries have rules about who can and can't buy property so that foreign investors aren't able to snatch up all the good real estate and drive prices up. Even if there's no country-wide rule, there might be some regional stipulations that will limit where you're allowed to buy. In some places, you might be allowed to buy property, but that won't make it easy. Some examples of where things might be difficult include Vietnam, Mexico, and Thailand. See for some more in-depth information.

Know the Terminology

When you start looking for property abroad, things can quickly get confusing. Different countries can use different terminology to talk about property, and that's before you start learning words and phrases in another language. For example, in many countries in Europe, listings will refer to the number of total rooms in the property, instead of saying how many bedrooms. This often means how many there are excluding the kitchen and any bathrooms. However, in the UK, you'll see properties listed by how many bedrooms they have. Don't forget that you'll need to know how the purchasing process works too. It can vary dramatically from country to country.

Understand What You Can Get for Your Money

Maybe you've already decided where to buy your property, or perhaps you're still looking. Either way, you need to know what your money is going to get you. Property prices can vary hugely in different countries and even in various regions in the same country. The same amount of money is likely to get you a lot more in the north of England than in the south. Start doing some research on property prices in different areas so you can work out how far your budget is going to get you. Do you have a mansion budget, or is it more like a cottage budget?

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Outline Your Need and Wants

Of course, you need to think about what you need from your property and what you want from this. This is definitely going to depend on what the property is for. Is it for personal use only or property you want to rent out? Is it an investment property or one you intend to keep for the rest of your life? There are plenty of things to think about, from how many rooms you need to location and amenities. Remember to prioritize your needs, but don't forget about the things you want. Your wants might be a little less important for investment properties, though.

Start with Sites for Expats and Vacationers

If you're not sure where to begin your search, you can try starting with real estate sites that cater to expats and vacation home buyers. These can help to make buying on the foreign market easier and will often mean you're buying from another foreigner. There are often lots of tips on purchasing property as a non-citizen, so you don't miss out on anything. These sites are also often in English, which can help. However, you can find there are some downsides, such as perhaps not having as great a choice of properties.

Use Sites and Resources for Locals

If you're not finding what you're looking for on sites for foreign buyers, you can turn to local resources. Sometimes this means having to navigate a site in a foreign language, but you can use Google Translate to make it easier. Take a look at to see the kind of thing you might be looking at. Even if you don't speak the language, you can quickly pick up a few key terms. If you find yourself dealing with a seller who doesn't speak English, there are a few things you can do. Hiring a translator is one option, or enlisting the help of a friend who speaks the language. Another possibility is to find a specialist service that helps foreigners buy property.

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Consider Your Property's Purpose

Remember to think carefully about what you're buying your property for. It will influence various decisions, such as where to buy, how much you want to spend, and what facilities and amenities you want. If you're moving permanently, you want to focus on finding a home that works for you. You might want to be close to your job and make sure the home has everything you need for your family. If you're buying a property to rent out to travelers, you should consider which areas are most popular with visitors. You might want to think about buying an apartment or house within a community that offers private amenities to use.

Think About the Neighborhood

You'll need to know all about the neighborhood where you buy your property. You don't want to end up buying somewhere too rough or where you won't feel at home. When you've chosen which city, town or region you want to live in, you can usually find neighborhood guides online. Some people want to buy property in an area where there are lots of other foreigners, but others want to live among the locals. You might want to be somewhere quiet and family-oriented, or perhaps you want to be near the center of all the action. Or maybe you want to choose an up-and-coming neighborhood for your investment property.

Buying property abroad can be complicated, but it's also an exciting thing to do. Just make sure you get your priorities right.


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