Top tips for buying an overseas home
The lifting of the lockdown restrictions on Monday July 19 could boost demand from those looking to buy a holiday home in Europe and America, said Simon Conn.
But the overseas property expert has cautioned aspiring homebuyers to tread carefully before signing on the dotted line.
“For the last 16 months, travelling abroad on a house hunt has been challenging,” Simon explained. “And while some have dived in and bought a property without even visiting it, most of my clients have waited patiently for the easing of travel restrictions to pursue their dream and buy that house in the sun.”
“Buying a property abroad is a major decision for most people. It is vital that a purchaser does a proper investigation. You must be governed by your head, not your heart.”
Conn has published his top tips to help those who want to buy a place in the sun avoid the pitfalls:
- Never sign up for a property that you have not visited. A home that looks great in the sales brochure could be sited next to a motorway, airfield or even a rubbish dump.
- Visit during the day and night to get a proper feel for the area, and talk to people who already live in the area to get a better understanding of what it is really like.
- Ensure the property has been built legally. Authorities have been known to demolish homes built too near a shoreline or on unregistered rural land.
- Instruct an independent surveyor, ideally one who is not locally based, to check the valuation and comparable properties in the area.
- Does that new extension or new swimming pool have proper planning permission or building licences? If not, this could affect your mortgage application and also affect your ability to sell in the future.
- Instruct an independent lawyer, ideally not the one recommended by the agent or seller, to help you through the purchase process and look after your interests.
- For new properties, the surveyor should check foundation depths, quality of building materials used, and suitability of the location.
- For people considering relocating and working from their new home, check the tax situation. You don’t want to end up paying two sets of taxes.
- Always check with your independent lawyer before committing to the purchase and they will advise the correct wording to insert relevant to the country where you are purchasing.
- Check the contract with an independent lawyer, who can verify that the translation is a true version of the original. Otherwise, you could unwittingly be agreeing to extra conditions or charges not covered under the original contract.