5 Easy Mistakes Expats Make When Buying a House Abroad

by David Tompkins

Learn the 5 Common Mistakes Expats Make When Buying a House Abroad

You’ve got your eyes on that hillside property, a stone throw away from the beach and now you want to make your next move — buying a house abroad. Investing in property overseas is not only tempting but also a lucrative option.

While owning an international property sounds exciting, you may come across some massive risks involved in buying a house abroad. But that shouldn’t stop you from making your move. All you need to do is be aware of the legal pitfalls and risks that you can avoid before you close in and seal the deal.

These are the five easy mistakes expats make when buying their house abroad.

buying a house abroad

1. Do not overlook the exchange rate

Buying property abroad often is a lucrative option and a great investment, provided certain things are kept in mind beforehand. Like ensuring that the exchange rate is considered so that costs of investment are calculated correctly.

Consult with professionals regarding the exchange rate and include the following clause in the contract — payment should not be affected by fluctuations in the exchange rate. Here having done thorough research helps. If you keep in mind the market fluctuations and study it in detail, you should not be taken by surprise. Keep all your options open so you know what to expect.

property exchange rate

2. Do not be overexcited and hasty

When buying a house abroad, plan ahead, and do your research thoroughly so that you are not taken by surprise later on. It can get really tempting to invest in a property if you think you have found the house of your dreams. But, it always makes good sense to take your time and not rush into anything.

Understand the rules of purchasing that apply to foreigners and always look at more than one property, before putting your hard-earned money into one.

3. Do not go ‘alone’ all the way

It makes good business sense to include an established and experienced agency when planning to invest in a house in a foreign land. There is nothing wrong with going through the owner or developer, but depending on a reliable agency minimizes anything going wrong with the deal.

Before handing over any money to any agent or agency, ensure that you possess the legal right to buy real estate in that country. Also, make sure you understand all the conditions of buying a house abroad.

4. Do not be taken for a ‘legal’ ride

Part of relocating overseas and buying a property in a foreign land, you may be facing challenges such as language barriers and legalities. Such a situation requires you to seek independent counsel to handle legalities. So, you will need a lawyer to take care of the entire sale process, and in some cases also the services of translators and interpreters. Do not be tempted to opt for someone who has been recommended by the agent, developer, or even owner.

Also, before you get down to signing any document, make sure they are in a language that you are comfortable reading. If not, have the documents professionally translated, so that you are aware of what it is that you are agreeing on in the final sale.

property market

5. Do not misjudge the property market

You do know how the property market tends to go in cycles. And that is why it is very important that you invest at the right time. Though global trends in the worldwide property market are reliable, they can also vary from one country to the other. For instance, the property values may be rising in your neighborhood, but that doesn’t mean that they are on the rise in Greece too.

Right judgment is key here. Research the market in detail and invest only once you are sure that the house you are buying is the only one for you.

Don’t Forget House Insurance

A final quick note, if you are planning to move overseas and purchase some property, remember that you  will have to secure home insurance to cover theft, fire and other home risks. You should ask around and do some research to see if a local home insurance plan is available – but make sure you check the fine print.

In addition to general insurance for your house, don’t forget to buy international health insurance to cover potential sickness or injuries before you move abroad to enjoy your new property purchase.

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