Home from Home — Five Handy Tips for Buying a Property in Europe

February 18, 2014 No Comments

buying property abroad

British home owners have historically flocked to sunny Mediterranean countries for a sun-drenched patch to call their own. Even in the tough economic times of today, holiday home purchases still make sound financial sense for UK home owners. However, it’s not as easy as just waltzing into a country, paying for the home and it’s yours. You have to know and understand the rules, regulations and timelines that go with purchasing a property abroad.
Here are five key aspects to keep in mind.

1. Don’t Have Unrealistic Expectations

Investigating potential places to live will lead many people to call upon a store of daydream imagery that they have acquired from Hollywood movies. Remember that even though the property is in another country and the prices may be lower, that doesn’t mean a shoe-string budget will automatically entitle the buyer to a 20 room villa with an infinity pool.
Before embarking on a journey to different destinations, research property prices, the related costs of buying the property, taxation, the cost of living and, of course, the political and social situation in the country. This should mean you do away with those rose-coloured glasses early on.

2. Think about Tourism When Choosing

If you’re planning to invest in and rent out your property to short and long-stay tenants, you should do so in an area that’s in demand and has a sustainable outlook for the rental market. Portugal, Italy and Spain have appealed to tourists for decades. You should get a feel for a city or region by taking a short break there to soak up the vibe and the culture. Take a short break to Madrid, Seville, Bilbao or any other Mediterranean destination where you’re considering buying your place in the sun and you’ll get a better picture of the area.

3. Consider Transport Links

Retirees or younger couples looking to relocate to Europe and purchase property should also consider the availability of transport links back home, including train, ferry and airline. This is vital if you want to maintain a sense of connection with loved ones.

4. Have a Contingency Fund

Once you’ve decided on a property, be wary that other aspects than the asking price will need to be factored into your budget, so make sure you have made allowances for these. Insurance, moving fees, taxation, real estate fees and lawyer fees are the large costs. Plus you should plan for the maintenance and renovation of the property.

5. Hire a Translator

For the initial negotiations process, hire a reliable translator to assist with the overview of all of the documents. Be aware that bureaucracy is the norm when it comes to property purchases in a foreign language, so the process may take a while.
Purchasing a property in Europe is an adventurous step for an investor. With some serious planning, you can make it work for you.

Ian Fields is an estate agent and lover of the Mediterranean based out in the Algarve. When not showing potential homebuyers round properties, he likes to get away from it all with weekend breaks in southern Spain, particularly Cádiz.

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