6 steps to buying a home abroad
Buying a second home: 6 steps
Buying property abroad is not something that you do every day. Therefore, it is good to prepare for the road ahead. When buying a home abroad in Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands or Portugal, follow the steps below to make the purchase as smooth as possible.
Step 1: Check your finances
Whether you are using cash, release equities or taking a mortgage from the bank to buy your home abroad, it is important at this stage that you rely on your head and not your gut. Make sure you know exactly how much you can and want to spend.
• Study the possibilities of using your pension.
• Visit a mortgage adviser for more information about a mortgage abroad.
• Never place a bid on a home abroad without checking whether you are qualified for a mortgage.
• Do not waste time looking at homes abroad which are beyond your budget.
Step 2: Determine the location of your home abroad
You always have a preference for countries and areas where you might like to buy a home abroad. Always do your research about a region of interest, and do not get tempted by possible fairy tales surrounding it. Get advice from an expert in that area as he/she may be a purchase brokers that is currently active in that region. Determine the country you want to go and then visit different brokers.
• Read the stories of people who have a home abroad.
• Make a short list of the locations where you would like to live.
• Decide what is important to you in the nearby surroundings.
• Try to stay rational and critical about the accessibility of your home abroad. Think about the airport; how long would the car drive be to and from your home abroad? Don’t put aside your short list because you saw a gorgeous home with a beautiful garden. Keep in mind that location will always be the most important.
• Do not base your location choice on an investment return estimate.
Step 3: Cooperate with an independent consultant
It is absolutely necessary that you get good, independent advice from a specialist, like a lawyer or real estate agent, in the country where you want to buy your home abroad. Do not be tempted to take the first consultant who comes around the corner. Be critical, especially if they also have a relationship with the home seller.
• Immerse yourself in the buying process so that you know what's coming. Determine your country and read our articles about the buying process.
• Watch out for real estate companies that are registered with the AIPP.
• Be careful when buying a home abroad without legal representation.
• Never sign a document without knowing what it says. Always have a document translated or let someone translate the document for you.
Step 4: Visit the prospective locations
Make a list of potential homes abroad you want to visit in a region. Be critical and, again, make a checklist of the things that your home abroad needs to have, and stick to it. Be sure to create this checklist before you even visit your first home.
• Book the flight and accommodations yourself. This will give you an idea whether the area by your second home is popular, in regards to rent.
• Rent a car and visit the house at different times throughout the day. Check out the neighbourhood of your prospective home abroad.
• Explore the area and talk to neighbours from the area.
• Do not be tempted to already place a bid on the first house you see.
• Make to check the house out at night as well, in case of noisy neighbours.
Step 5: Buy your home abroad
When you’ve decided what home you will be purchasing abroad, make sure to read over your checklist again to see whether you have nailed every predetermined point.
• Choose for a home that you can rent out, whether that is now or in the future.
• Notify your lawyer when you have accepted a bid.
• When buying a new, yet incomplete, construction project, be sure to keep in touch regularly with your broker or developer.
• If the currencies between the two regions differ, sometimes it is wise to do a currency exchange, as this can save you some money.
• Never buy over your budget.
• Always use your bank to exchange money if you’re working with different currencies. The bank will give you better rates than an exchange company.
Step 6: Enjoy your home abroad
Congratulations on owning your second home abroad! Now you can think about...
• Renting out your property when you’re not there.
• How to accommodate your house if you plan on renting it out.
• Make an appointment with the local municipality in the first few weeks that you are on site.