As we welcome autumn and with it shorter days and and influx of showers, very much signalling the end of Britain's brief sunny period, a topic of conversation I've had with a lot of homeowners across the country lately is the idea of buying abroad. It seems there is a lot of appetite for it.
In the UK we are fortunate to have easy access and quick routes to luxurious destinations such as Spain and France - the options of the Channel Tunnel and Dover ferry mean that journeys can be made easily and regularly by car, and with Gatwick so accessible from London, we have a great range of options on our doorstep.
The temptation to look abroad grows as we edge ever-closer to winter, but there are a few important things that aspiring international buyers should think about before they embark on an investment abroad. Here I outline my top tips for buying a property abroad.
Research the current market
On top of checking the currency rate and the stability of the market, it's vital that you conduct thorough research into the country you wish to buy. Double check that your chosen country gives you the legal right to buy, as many countries prevent or limit property purchase by foreigners.
Seek specialist advice
When buying in a country you are not familiar with, it's advisable to seek advice from independent solicitors, architects and surveyors as well as valuers. All of these specialists must have vast knowledge of your chosen country's processes and laws, in order for them to confirm what is required from you.
Get a valuation
As with buying property in the UK, it's important to ensure an independent valuation is carried out to make sure there aren't any problems with the property such as damp and wiring defects. Use local knowledge to best understand the area and what you're buying as there are different laws and regulations in different countries so it's important to get the correct insight.
Have your documents translated
It's absolutely vital that you have all documents professionally translated before you sign anything. The added cost of a translator will be beneficial in the long run as you need to understand every word, and also ensure you have piece of mind, before signing on the dotted line.
Open a bank account in your chosen country
Failure to pay bills in some countries can result in action being taken by local authorities so it's sensible to set up standing orders and direct debits from your local bank to pay for bills and taxes. Setting up an account from the outset will also mean you can withdraw cash without any charges, making each trip out to your chosen country that little bit more cost effective.
Think about the additional extras
Before buying make sure you are aware of costs charged by government authorities, and you will need to budget for specialist fees, taxes and insurance which will all be added to the final bill. It's also worth checking the inheritance and capital gains tax laws of your chosen country as different laws apply in different countries.