Overseas Property: Tips On How To Protect Those Precious Views

It often happens that a foreign property buyer will purchase a home or condo with a “beach view” only to find upon arrival that the view is obscured. …

It often happens that a foreign property buyer will purchase a home or condo with a “beach view” only to find upon arrival that the view is obscured. Other times, a buyer will get the view upon purchase only to have it blocked later by another builder. Preventing this from happening involves visiting the property before purchase and doing research on surrounding building plans and zoning laws. It can also help to buy or build in an area that is already nearing full development as well as researching build locations that make it difficult for someone else to block the view in the future. For more on this continue reading the following article from Pathfinder.

Jim buys a pre-construction condo. On paper, it looks great. The artist’s drawing shows his condo looking out over the beach, with views of the golden sand and deep-blue sea. But when Jim gets the keys, he finds that his condo only faces the beach on one side. Sure, he gets a beach view – if he leans out over his balcony.

Mary’s bought her dream home, and she’s already moved in. She loves its location. She loves the price. She loves the spacious open-plan layout. She loves the over-sized terrace, where she knows she’ll spend most afternoons gazing at her panoramic ocean view.

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Two years later, Mary’s fallen out of love. A new residential tower, heading for completion, blocks her view. Instead of sparkling sea, she’s looking at her neighbor’s kitchen.

Karl’s penthouse condo came with giant picture windows, framing a magnificent view of jagged Andean peaks. The developer promised that Karl would always keep that view. But now Karl’s windows frame another condo block…built by Karl’s developer.

How can you protect the views from your overseas home – or even make sure you get the view you’re promised in the first place? It’s not easy. But these five tips should ensure you buy a property with views that are less likely to change.

  1. Be critical of advertising. When buying a pre-construction unit, remember that strict advertising standards don’t apply in much of the world. Unscrupulous developers sometimes promise ocean views and beach views that they can’t deliver. Renderings sometimes show a gorgeous beach view, even if your unit faces the city.

    To avoid this happening, attach renderings and floor plans of your unit to the contract. In the contract, ask that the developer delivers that layout with those views. Most importantly, visit the site of the project to see if the wide beach view exists. Believe it or not, I’ve seen "beachfront" projects, without a beach in sight.

  2. Next, ask the developer what he plans to do with any green space close to your unit. Don’t rely on it staying as green space – his plans may include building more homes there in future. Similarly, ask about vacant lots close by for sale. Find out what owners can build on those lots, and if that will impact your view.

    Similarly, pay a call to the local municipality. Ask about local zoning, permit regulations and planned development in the area you’re buying in. Find out if someone can build a higher tower in front of yours. Ask if local plans include a new oceanfront highway, giant mall, or anything that would impede your view. And ask your attorney if local laws give you any kind of legal right to a view.

  3. Don’t assume that if your home sits right on the sand, you’re safe. In many countries, the property on the beach closest to the high water mark falls into a "concession" zone. It’s not secure, titled property. Local governments grant a concession or lease on this zone, for temporary structures or tourist ventures like a beach bar or a hotel. I’d normally recommend avoiding concession land. But if it’s right in front of your beach house, buy the concession, simply to stop anyone else doing so -and spoiling your view.
  4. Buy in a fully developed location where you’re happy with your existing view. If you buy in a city location with lots of new condo towers around you, that’s unlikely to change.
  5. Buy where it’s difficult to build in front of you: Frontline on a boardwalk, alongside a river or next to a national park.

With some properties, the view is the most important attribute. A stunning view adds significantly to a property’s market value, too. It’s worth taking the extra time to investigate, and figure out if that will likely change.

This article was republished with permission from Pathfinder.


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