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5 Tips for expats purchasing property abroad

Updated 14 Oct 2020

Each year, British holidaymakers come back from their holiday with dream of purchasing a property abroad. It is difficult to see past the clear blue seas, stunning beaches and beautiful weather, especially when estate agents put their offices in prime locations.

Exchange rates are one reason for making foreign property seem attractive to foreign buyers and the poor British weather makes it even easier to consider purchasing abroad, especially as it means that spending more time in the sun could become a regular occurrence. Many choose to purchase property abroad as an investment as they take advantage of low property prices with the possibility of substantial increases in the long-term.

Regardless of what is driving people to purchase abroad, there are several steps to follow to ensure that everything goes to plan.

1. Research the Market

Trends in property around the world are common, but they are susceptible to their own independent increases before correcting themselves at a price that is lower. Even though the price of property in London is increasing, it does not mean that this is happening elsewhere, therefore, for those who are looking to invest it is vital to take note of trends. Obviously, purchasing when it is at the low end of the cycle is the best move and then selling when it is at the top will ensure you achieve maximum returns.
Some countries put a cap on property purchased by foreigners, so make sure that you have the right to purchase legally in your chosen country. Carry out research before parting with your money so that you avoid scams and the potential of losing your money. Make sure you are aware of the currency exchange rate and how stable the country is, all of which can be done at no cost online.

2. Go through an estate agent

It may seem like a good idea to purchase directly from the owner, but if you have a poor knowledge of the foreign property market and struggle to converse in the local language you could hit some problems. Purchasing through an estate agent or a recognised property developer will ensure that you receive the correct guidance and it can help you avoid any issues. Estate agent will ensure that you have the correct information regarding your purchase but they will also work in your best interests as they will be keen to close the deal.

3. Use a legal representative

Using an independent lawyer when looking to purchase a property is a great way to ensure that you have someone who will act on your behalf especially if you come across any legal difficulties.

4. Translate your documents

Having your documents translated before you make a purchase is important because you need to fully understand everything that you will be signing for.

5. Reduce your mortgage payments

As soon as you have agreed to terms and conditions of your purchase you have to make sure that you can pay for it. When your funds are transferred in your currency and are denominated, you are going to want an improved foreign exchange rate than the one typically seen in the recognised banks. So, whether you are making a full payment, a deposit or arranging mortgage payments this still applies.

Banks that are located in the area will offer foreign exchange services that come with broader exchange rates, increased fees and a cap on the size of transactions which means that it will not work for you. Therefore, using a currency transfer service to change your money and make regular payments is usually more beneficial.

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