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Top tips for buying overseas property

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Written by:
23/10/2013
10 suggestions for making a successful property purchase abroad when moving or retiring abroad.
Top tips for buying overseas property

According to the Office for National Statistics, around 400 British citizens emigrate every day – a 20% increase on 2010.

Knowing how to successfully arrange a property purchase in a foreign country can be a vital part of relocating.

With this in mind, BuyAssociation in partnership with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has made an online video guide to buying property overseas.

Caroline Roberts, chief executive of BuyAssociation, said:

”It’s vitally important that prospective buyers research their destination thoroughly, take independent advice, consider their personal circumstances carefully and plan for the long-term. Our online video will help them to do just that – it’s packed with essential hints and information, and covers the vital issues that should be considered during the buying process.”

The FCO has recently warned British nationals who are considering a move abroad to plan for the unexpected before they move to a new destination. Its consular staff across the world have dealt with a high number of British expats requiring assistance for financial issues – whether as a result of a house purchase gone wrong, having inadequate funds to pay for medical bills or experiencing some other misfortune that has resulted in financial hardship.

For those considering joining the six million British nationals currently living abroad, the FCO has put together a checklist to ensure a smooth transition into expat life and beyond:

  1. Do your homework – Research your destination, visit forums and expat community resources to help get a feel for the area.
  2. Read up on local laws and customs – Familiarise yourself with local regulations and customs, don’t get caught out because you haven’t done your research. Visit this government website for more information
  3. Don’t rush into buying abroad – Take time to visit the area and other properties nearby, don’t be rushed into decision and ensure you are familiar with local protocol.
  4. Seek independent legal advice – Don’t feel under pressure to use your property developer’s or estate agent’s contacts, check out the gov.uk website for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s English-speaking lawyers lists – it is vital that your legal advisor understands the law in the country you intend to move to.
  5. Plan for your health – Once you permanently leave the UK you are no longer entitled to medical treatment under the NHS or via a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Be sure to take out health insurance and if you are staying within the European Economic Area (EEA), read up on the S1 form (previously known as the E121 form). For more useful information this NHS website
  6. Consider your long-term financial requirements – Read up on the impact moving overseas may have on any benefits or retirement income received. Be realistic about your living costs overseas; don’t assume they will be the same as at home. Do you have a plan B if things go wrong? Visit this government pensions website for more information.
  7. Read up on tax regulations – Be sure to research the taxes that will be applicable to you in your new home (as well as back in the UK) once you have moved abroad
  8. Know the costs – Don’t forget to take into account exchange rates and potential financial implications of moving overseas.
  9. Tell us you’re leaving – You need to notify the Social Security Office, HM Revenue & Customs and the Department of Work & Pensions that you are moving overseas, as well as your GP. For a full list of who to contact, visit this government website.
  10. Integrate – An essential part of a successful move abroad is integrating into the local community. Try not to isolate yourself and do make an effort to learn the local language, this will play an important role in helping you settle in to your new home.

To watch the video, click here.

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