With summer just around the corner, scores of Brits will leave the UK for their annual holiday. It is likely that some of those holidaymakers will return home having decided to make a permanent move abroad.
There are very few problems which overseas property and finance expert, Simon Conn, hasn’t encountered in his 35 years in the business, so here are his top 10 tips.
Ask questions about where a property has been built. For example, if it has been built on an area that should have been set aside for green belt or agricultural land, then the chances are there is a risk. Make sure you take advice from an independent, English speaking lawyer – preferably not from the same area as the property.
In some cases there can be problems with properties that have been constructed with the wrong permits, granted as a result of corruption, or with no permits at all. An independent lawyer should be able to save you the heartache of seeing your newly purchased dream home demolished.
Consider planning permission and which licences the property needs. Not having the correct licences could have an impact on what utilities you can obtain.
Poor construction is a common problem. Always obtain an independent valuation, ideally from a professional surveyor expert in that country, even if it is a new property, as this will highlight any problems. New properties can sometimes be built in poor soil and with insufficient foundations, substandard building materials, or in dubious locations such as flood plains.
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.
If you are buying a property to rent out consider the cost of maintaining the property. Decide if it is worth employing a managing agent to look after it for you but do not forget to factor in their costs as it will reduce your profit.
How often do you intend to visit the property yourself to ensure it’s kept up to date? If it’s a long term let, think about the wear and tear on furniture and other fixed goods.
Distance away – if the property is a long way from your main home, you may need to get there to sort out any major problems.
Who is going to vet your tenants? If they damage your property, you must have suitable cover and a deposit in place.
Make sure you check what licenses are needed in the area as you may not be allowed to rent out your property there.
Do not be put off buying overseas – it should be no different to buying at home. Just take the relevant precautions to ensure that you are minimising any risks and things should be fine.
This article is part of our “Expert Advice” series and features advice from Simon Conn, Overseas Property & Finance Specialist. For more help get in contact with Simon here.