Guide to buying a house overseas
Like many other people, you probably have felt the temptation of buying a house overseas. There are a lot of reasons why you want to buy a house abroad – it can be a great investment opportunity, an ultimate vacation spot, or you may want to spend your golden years somewhere warm and sunny. Either way, buying a property in a foreign country is usually more complicated than buying locally. Our guide to buying a house overseas will give you all the information you need before you make such a big investment.
You need to know the market before buying a house overseas
Before you put up your money, you need to do research and investigate the real estate market in the country of your choice. You need to check the currency exchange rate and the stability of the market. Also, be aware that some countries prevent or limit real estate ownership by foreigners. Therefore, you need to make sure that you have a legal right to buy a house in that country and examine the necessary conditions. This is an essential step before calculating how much you can afford to spend on a home and signing any documents.
Seek professional assistance
As we already mentioned, some countries place restrictions on non-citizens who want to own properties. Thus, if you are, for example, leaving the US and starting over in the UK, you need to know your legal rights in the United Kingdom.
Seek professional legal advice and hire a local attorney to help you with all the legal matters when buying a house in a foreign country. It would also be a good idea to find a local international estate agent to explain the market to you and help find the best house for you.
Translate the important documents
If you are buying a house in a country where you don’t speak the language you are not entirely comfortable reading it, you should never sign a document before it is translated into English. Your lawyer should check that any translation provided is an accurate interpretation of the original document or use a professional translation service with expertise in translating legal documents. You cannot rely on free online translation tools, such as Google Translate, to translate your important documents. It is important to have a proper and exact translation of the document because you need to know exactly what you and the seller are agreeing to.
Be aware of the risks
Well, even though you might have chosen the best estate agent for you and you have hired a great lawyer to help you with the purchase, you should be aware of the following risks:
Before buying a house in another country, make sure you have all the paperwork – check that you have all the necessary permissions and licenses before signing any form of contract
Take into account that the exchange rate is subject to frequent change, which means that even a small change to the exchange rate could drastically affect the value of your purchase. This also means that a property you want to buy can become an unaffordable overnight
Assure that you account for all the tax you’ll be liable to pay, both in your home country and in the country where you want to buy a property
Check out the property you want to buy
When purchasing a house overseas, you must do all the same checks you would do if you are purchasing your home country. You should do research on the property to have a thorough picture of its condition. Even if you are buying a new build, there is no guarantee that the house will not have structural defects or other issues. Many disreputable constructors have been known to use poor-quality building materials or build shallow foundations which can cause chaos in the long run. If you are buying a previously-owned house, there are some must-ask questions before you make an offer. You need to know everything about the infrastructure of the house, the plumbing system, electrical, and communication system. Ask all of these questions and more, because you need to be sure that the house you are going to buy is worth the price and is structurally sound.
Financing the purchase of a house
Once you have taken into consideration all the aspects of buying a house overseas, it is time to figure out the financing. If you’re planning to go through a foreign bank to get a mortgage, be prepared to pay a big down payment and, potentially, a high-interest rate. If you are considering paying for your new house abroad with cash, you could use a home equity line of credit as your source of cash. However, this way, you are putting your primary residence on the line if you can’t make the payment. Be aware of the risks, and chose the right payment method for you.
Buying a property overseas can be a dream come true. Finding a home in a foreign country is one of the most important decisions you will make in your life. That is why, before you make a purchase and sign any contract agreement, it is essential that you are aware of your legal rights and obligations. Our guide to buying a house overseas will save you from bad property investments and will make your purchase more smooth. By following our advice, you can be sure that you will find your perfect house abroad and make your dream home a reality.