Frequently Asked Questions

Buying A Real Estate
Buying a property abroad as a permanent home, retirement home or even an investment is an exciting idea. But here some very important questions to ask if you’re interested in buying a property abroad.

Is your property going to be a holiday home, a permanent home, a holiday-to-future-retirement home, a buy to let or a pure investment? Before you start your search have a clear idea of what your objectives are, then look in the locations and at types of property that best fit in with those objectives.

Just as with buying a property abroad involves compromises. Your dream home abroad probably doesn’t exist! Make a list of ‘must haves’ and a list of ‘nice to haves’. For example, are your priorities space, location, community, culture, solitude or access? Would a house or apartment suit you better?

There are pros and cons involved with both types of property. New builds meet modern standards and offer maintenance-free ownership. But they may lack character and it’s difficult to know what the area will be like when everything is finished. Older property can offer character and an established location but will probably need more maintenance and building standards in some countries may be far behind modern standards.

Letting out a property abroad can be a good way to subsidise the cost of your property abroad, but it involves extra hassles, wear and tear and expense. Check the local market carefully – is there demand for rentals, and what are rent levels like? In resorts remember rents can be very high over a short summer season then very low for the rest of the year – if there is any rental demand at all.

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Deduct these from your budget before deciding what the maximum you can afford to pay for a property is. Costs and taxes vary by country: They are rarely less than 5% can be up to 20% in some countries. Always check.

Who’ll look after your property while you’re not there …. or in the event of any emergencies? What will this cost – if, for example, you’re going to use a managing agent?

How long will you want to keep your property abroad for and, if not ‘for ever’, when/why might you want to sell? Will there be a market for your property then, and what might it be worth? Who might want to buy your property, eg. a local, another foreigner or an investor? In some countries where, for example, renting is more common or mortgages are hard to obtain, the resale market for property can be very limited.

Property in many foreign countries is cheaper than the your country and appears to be ‘bargain priced’. But you must see the price of a property you’re interested in in relation to local property values. For example, a villa with pool for €200,000 looks incredible value in comparison to your country prices but it could still be very overpriced in comparison with local property values in some countries. Be aware that in some countries/locations a much higher price may be given to foreign buyers than would be given to local buyers.

Renting A Property
With so much to plan, consider and do, even once you've found a property to rent abroad and signing a rental contract in a different country

Your property is not a hotel or motel by any means. No housekeeping, no room service and definitely no conventional reception, if any.  Even if the owner tells you their home is an investment property, you must treat it like their own private property. Just as Taxi drivers use their own vehicle to drive customers, the same thing goes for your property. Remember that you are walking into someone’s personal space and should operate as such; especially if you are renting a room or wing while the host is currently living in the space and renting out property.

It’s likely that it will take some time to find a suitable residence abroad. Many people prefer to visit a few houses before making a decision, and the actual process of moving also consumes time, money, and energy. Therefore, carefully examine the terms in the rental contract and try to align the rental period with your intended length of stay.

When drafting the rental contract, find out which costs are included, such as gas, water, and electricity, as well as services like snow removal, garden maintenance, and the presence of kitchen appliances, and so on. With a basic rent, it often pays to compare energy prices. Maintenance conditions can also vary from one landlord to another. For instance, the costs of certain maintenance work may be your responsibility when renting a property abroad. 

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