International Property and Finance Expert Simon Conn shares his advice on buying property abroad.
Buying a home abroad can be one of the best things you ever do. It can improve your quality of life if you plan to live in it yourself, or it can be a good investment if you are planning to rent it out.
While it can be an exciting process, it is also important to take your time and seek out independent advice to ensure you do not encounter any property pitfalls. Here's Simon's expert advice on not getting caught out.
1. Get clear legal advice
Consult an independent, English-speaking lawyer in order to make sure that your property is legally built. Then obtain an independent valuation from a professional surveyor, who will highlight any maintenance problems. In terms of prices, there are some unscrupulous agents who will see foreign buyers coming, so be careful not to pay more than you need to. In order to do this, instruct an independent surveyor, ideally one who is not locally based, to check the valuation and comparable properties in the area.
2. Make sure you know what you're buying
Never sign up for a property that you have not visited as your dream home may actually be situated next to a motorway, an airfield or a rubbish dump. Also, consider employing a managing agent to look after the property if it is a long way from your home, as there will always be someone to help you in the case of an emergency.
3. Be careful when it comes to contracts
One of the most important warnings when purchasing abroad is when it comes to contracts. It is common to only receive one contract in the local language, in which case you must get a professional translation completed. If you are given two copies of a contract which include the original and a supposed translation, get the translation checked by a professional.
4. Be wary of the lending process
Be aware that if you are looking to buy abroad for investment purposes, the majority of lenders do not take into account rental income. Mortgages are based on affordability, your overall financial/credit profile and the valuation of the property.
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