How to Buy a Property Abroad


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Know your budget before you start looking at properties and consider lawyers’ fees as part of your purchase costs.
Understand and calculate the total costs of buying, including taxes and registration fees.
When taking out a bank loan or mortgage, discuss the long term repayments with an independent financial specialist.
  If buying an overseas property for investment purposes, assess the possible downsides, as well as the enticing returns that could be achieved if all goes to plan. Bear in mind that large profits may come with significant risks.
  Don’t be tempted to buy more properties than you can afford hoping to sell the extra ones before completion.
  Check out exchange rate fluctuations that will affect the cost of your overseas mortgage and speak to a foreign exchange specialist to highlight the risks and secure your rate early.
  Do your research and find a reliable overseas property company. Dig around for details on the firm’s track record and the directors’ background.
Check the AIPP website to make sure the company is a current member of the Association of Property Professionals.
When you have found a property that you wish to purchase, make sure you seek legal advice from an independent lawyer – do not use the vendor’s lawyer.
Make sure that your lawyer asks to see proof of land title, planning permissions, guarantees that are in place to protect any money paid over prior to completion.
Make sure your lawyer informs you of any development planned nearby.
Ensure your lawyer will hold your funds in an escrow account where possible to guarantee safe transactions and the release of staged payments to developers/agents.
If buying an off plan property find out whether there are any guarantees in place to protect any money paid over prior to completion.
Surveys and valuations are just as important abroad as they are back home even if they are less common.
Do your research and ask for a list of customers from the seller - then select several at random to call. Ask to speak to those who have occupied a property, you will get a report on build quality - an important area.
Look at other resorts or properties that the developer has done in the past. Have they been completed on time and to the satisfaction of the buyers?
Ask the vendor how the resort is being financed. Is a bank lending the money or is it private investors? Or is the resort being built solely out of investors’ money and so is reliant on the success of sales?
Pay attention to miscommunication between you as a buyer and the seller – this could be a sign that the seller is trying to take advantage of your lack of knowledge of the different culture, legislative process and language, or simply buyers believing they can cut corners.
For more details, order our free guide on buying overseas safely available via our homepage.

All our information is brought to you by Kate Faulkner OBE, author of Which? Property books and one of the UK's top property experts.
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