Though many expatriates take the rental route, buying real estate abroad is an excellent investment should you decide to move overseas. Whether you’re looking to purchase a vacation home, rental property, or a second home, buying real estate in another country allows you to avoid the hectic rental market and dealing with landlords. However, buying property in another country can be risky, so here are six tips to make sure your investment is safe and successful.
Do Your Market Research
Image via Flickr by Mark Moz
Just because the real estate market in your home country is going swimmingly doesn’t mean it is in the country you’re planning on purchasing in. Check online to compare prices from year to year, and make sure that the country actually allows foreigners to own property. If property value is low and you’re planning on selling when the market rises again, make sure you thoroughly research the area you’re buying in and the market surrounding it so that you’re buying at the right time.
Get a Lawyer With International Experience
Other countries’ real estate practice is often run completely different from what you’re used to, so it’s to your benefit to hire a lawyer who is used to dealing with international real estate purchases. Such lawyers can help you figure out which property sellers are legitimate, and the best way to make sure you’re paying the correct taxes, fees, and other dues during the purchase process. They can also help you avoid getting taken advantage of and make sure your investment is a secure, safe choice.
Find A Foreign Exchange System
Buying real estate involves the exchanging of funds from one country to another, which can be tricky when you take into account hidden fees and the high cost of the actual exchange often found when using banks. Consider finding an international money transfer company that’s up front about their fees and guarantees the safety of your money. If you already have a bank account set up in your chosen country, using an international money transfer company is very easy and quick, limiting the amount of time your money is tied up in the transfer.
Go Through A Licensed, Professional Real Estate Agent
Besides helping you find the best property for your needs, whether you’re looking for a studio or chalet, a real estate agent can also help you navigate the process of purchasing overseas. Look for a local agent who specializes in overseas real estate with significant experience, or consider hiring an agent in the country you’re looking to buy in. Make sure that the real estate agent is licensed so you know your search and investment is in good hands. It’s beneficial to get an agent in your chosen country, since they’ll be more experienced with the neighborhoods and can select the best property that fits your needs.
Take Your Time
Rushing into purchasing property may occasionally get you a great deal, but the risks involved aren’t worth it. Take your time to fully research the property you’re buying and the venues you’re buying it through, especially if you haven’t hired a real estate agent or a lawyer. Sellers who are trying to get you to rush through the process are often trying to hide something, so if you come across someone who is trying to get you to cut corners in order to buy a certain property, it’s best to steer clear.
Consider the Political Climate
In many countries, the true ownership of properties isn’t as cut and dry as others, which may end up with you purchasing a piece of property from someone who doesn’t actually own it. This is especially prominent in underdeveloped countries, or those with tumultuous political climates, either currently or in the past. Be extra careful when purchasing, and make sure that you’re buying from the correct source, and that the title transfer of the property doesn’t have an expiration date, which is common in countries where the climate hasn’t been stable.
Whether you’re looking to flip the property, rent it out, or have it as a second home, buying real estate in another country can be difficult, but it will be easier if you’re prepared with the right research and the right assistance.