The Property Ombudsman
Buying a Property Abroad

Buying a property abroad

Research shows that interest in the overseas property market has doubled over the past few years and this is due to the fact that a strong performing economy means more UK individuals than ever are in a position to purchase a property abroad.   

Why Buy Overseas?

There is no doubt that the overseas market has seen some uncertainty in the past. Due to the financial crisis that occurred across the globe many areas saw a severe dip in lending which had a ripple effect across the market, affecting house prices, sales and rental demand.

However in recent years we have seen the overseas market begin to strengthen once more. Recovery has been strong in many European countries with certain areas performing better than others. Across Europe and the USA there has seen a significant boost to the housing market thanks to increased interest from UK buyers. With prices beginning to rise now is the perfect time for individuals to take advantage of a growing market and invest in their future. Prices in countries such as Spain are currently around 50% cheaper than their 2008 peak which means that buyers can now get much more for their money. The current strength of the pound against the euro is also contributing to a surge of interest in purchasing property abroad.

There are many advantages to purchasing overseas property, one of which is that you have a holiday getaway, somewhere to retreat to and relax in the sun. European countries are particularly popular with UK residents due to their tourist attractions and desirable weather conditions. The number of airlines available and the abundance of cheap flights also ensures that travelling costs are kept low.

There are several other added benefits that you may wish to consider when buying abroad. Due to the market once again performing so well, a second home can provide a generous income. With a strengthening economy, a high rental demand tends to follow and so the option to let the property out for several months of the year could provide additional income when your property is not in use. If you intend on purchasing a home abroad using a mortgage, the rental income could cover the cost of repayments and potentially produce a profit making it a fantastic investment for your future. Moreover in a well-performing market house prices generally tend to rise, resulting in your property benefiting from strong capital growth.  

What You Need To Know

Purchasing any property, whether in the UK or abroad, is a big commitment. There are many things to consider and the buying process can take up to several months dependent on locations, property types and budgets. Each country handles property purchases in slightly different ways and it’s wise to be well prepared in advance so you can ensure you have a quick and efficient property purchase. Here at Sequre our advisors will provide you with all the information you need to consider, as well as recommending specialists in different fields, to help you achieve your dream of buying property abroad.

Before you begin searching for your overseas property you should consider the following:

Budget

Regardless of the size of your budget there are two important financial aspects to consider before purchasing a property abroad: tax laws and hidden costs. Different countries have different tax requirements and without understanding their laws or what you will be expected to pay, you cannot accurately plan your budget. Additionally the history of the property could mean that there are hidden fees, such as community fees, which will become your responsibility as the new owner. 

It is also important to note that in some countries the contract is legally binding from the start of the purchase process, not the end as it is in the UK, so it is important to have your surveys done and finance in place before you begin the process. To avoid falling into any pitfalls and going over your budget we recommend our clients consult with financial and mortgage advisors before completing on any property in order to ensure that the purchase goes as smoothly as possible. Our team will manage your expectations and help you at each step of the way to ensure a smooth property purchase.

Location

No matter where you are searching, each location can be vastly different. Certain areas may meet your needs in a different way so think about what it is that you want and where your property needs to be located. Those who are looking at a holiday home may want to be nearer to a beach, city centre or a more tourist driven area, especially if letting the property out is an option. Those who are relocating permanently may want a slightly more rural area away from the hustle and bustle during peak seasons.

You may also want to think about what sort of amenities you need to be close to. Not only can these factors affect your own personal circumstances but they may also affect the price you end up paying for your property. These amenities can be beaches, pools, shops, bars and restaurants. You should also consider transport links as these can increase the demand and the overall value of a property. If it’s preferable for you to be close to an airport then this also needs to form part of your location planning.

Reason for purchase and preparation

There can be a number of different reasons why you may look to purchase a property abroad. Each person’s situation is different and although an overseas purchase will be an exciting decision for most, there are no guarantees that it will come easy or stress free. This is why we encourage our clients to be fully aware of what lies in store for them. For property investors wanting to expand their portfolio, focus on the areas that can bring in the best rental returns. For those considering a second home or a holiday home, ensure your property has everything you need. If you’re considering renting this out during the holiday season, research what the typical holidaymaker is likely to want from a rental property. Those who are relocating permanently will need to comply with the necessary rules and regulations that come with living in another country so ensure you are fully prepared.

One thing we would strongly recommend to anyone who is seriously thinking about an overseas property purchase is to attend an inspection trip or a viewing trip as it’s widely known as. These trips are one of the best ways to find your property overseas and gives buyers the opportunity to spend a few days getting familiar with different areas, properties, people and the lifestyle. We offer quality viewing trips to a number of different locations so enquire today to find out more.