Top Things to Consider When Buying a Property Overseas – Part Two
Whether you’re buying an overseas property to live in, to use as a second/holiday home or as an investment, there are certain things you need to consider – beyond house size, style and price!
In part one of our guide we looked at the where, why and how of purchasing a property. In Part two we’ll be taking a closer look at the legal and cultural implications of buying abroad.
Obviously legal systems vary from country to country. To make sure you don’t get caught out with your overseas property purchase, learn your rights! If you don’t know what’s legal and what isn’t from the start you stand a much greater chance of encountering problems later on.
As surveys are not compulsory in some countries it is advised that (where possible) you hire a registered, insured surveyor from your own country. It might cost you money in the short term, but it really could save you a whole heap of cash in the long term!
It’s also imperative to hire a specialist, impartial lawyer. They can explain the ins and outs of the law to you, and make sure you know exactly what to do when making an offer etc. You may also wish to hire an impartial translator (if you don’t speak the language of the nation you’re buying in). A Notary (who acts as a buffer between you and the other parties involved in the property purchase) may also prove useful.
It might sound basic, but ensure that you receive written copies of all of your communications, and don’t exchange any money until the final contracts are signed. Where possible, have copies of all communications sent to you in both English and the language of the overseas nation.
If more than one person is selling the property, having the signatures of the multiple sellers on the documentation is essential.
You may also want to look into the nation’s inheritance laws. Although you may be able to leave your property to your family/friends in a will drawn up in your own country, you will also need to have a will made out in the country the property was purchased in. Ideally, have the will drawn up in both languages. If you don’t take these steps your family could have issues with Inheritance Tax and local laws further down the line.
Sorting out the legal side of your overseas property purchase might cost you initially, but it really can save you hassle, stress and money in the long term.
When buying an overseas property it is important to remember that you’re entering a different culture, and how well you are received by that culture will be seriously affected by how you behave.
No matter how complex or frustrating the process of buying your property might become, you have to be respectful of how the other nation conducts business transactions.
Make an effort with the different parties involved, and try and communicate with the seller in their own language if you can.
When it comes to renovating properties it also pays to be respectful of the nation’s traditions and history. Renovations should be conducted sympathetically where possible. If you can, seek the advice of one of your new neighbours regarding sourcing suitable materials etc – this can put you on a good footing with your new neighbours as well as being a means of gathering useful information.