Tips on buying
1. Never sign a contract that you do not understand
2. Always ensure that you seek specialist advice from independent Solicitors, Architects and Surveyors before considering a purchase overseas.
3. Ensure you do not inherit a debt on the property before you purchase, which a solicitor should be able to check
4. Always give yourself a ‘cooling off’ period if you see a ‘must-have property’ and are tempted to put down a deposit there and then.
5. If you are arranging finance on the property, ensure that this is stated in any contract and you have an ‘opt-out clause’ if the loan is not agreed (which will ensure any deposit paid is refunded).
6. Try to arrange your mortgage finance ‘in principle’, before agreeing to purchase the property, or before signing any contracts and paying over a deposit.
7. Arrange your mortgage in the currency that you earn in where possible, unless you are going to receive rental income from that property in the local currency and then this may be a possible alternative option, dependent on the lender’s criteria.
8. Think about combining your cash with friends or family: it could bring a Villa with pool within your financial reach, rather than simply an Apartment.
9. Check with the Estate Agent or vendor that you are aware of the costs charged by the legal and government authorities for purchasing a property in your chosen country.
10. Open a bank account in your chosen country and ensure you get a Certificate of Importation for the money you bring in from your home country.
11. Set up standing orders in a local bank account to meet bills and taxes. Failure to pay your taxes in some countries, such as France, Portugal and Spain, could lead to court action and possible seizure of your property.
12. Remember that bills do not end at the asking price. Lawyer’s fees, Taxes, Insurance etc must all be met in your host country and can often be more expensive.
13. List the features that are essential to you on a daily basis. e.g. being near public transport or having adequate parking.
14. Put the ten most important features in order and decide which ones you can do without.
15. Write down all the areas, towns and counties which you would consider living in.
16. How long do you intend living in the home?
17. What will it be like in winter and summer?
18. What will it be like at night, weekends and rush hour?
19. What is the community like?
20. Is there room for extending, if you start a family for example?
21. Will you still be happy there in 3-5 years?
22. Is the home too far from your friends and family?