Buying a home overseas
Moving abroad or buying a second home overseas can provide an exciting lifestyle change, but there are several practical points to consider before taking the plunge.
In the right place
Finding the perfect property in the right location can be daunting. Katie and Oli Lyons spent a long time in their adopted homeland before buying. ‘Firstly, you should find a good local property agent who speaks your language,’ advises property buyer Jemimah Barnett ( jemimahbarnett.com). ‘A good agent will help you understand the full process, itemise all the costs and connect you with the professionals you’ll need.’
It’s important to appoint an independent solicitor to handle your interests. In European countries, as well as some others, a notary (an impartial government official) will oversee the transaction for both buyer and seller, running searches and checking that the property’s title deeds are in order, as well as arranging the payment of taxes and officially recording the sale. It’s also advisable to appoint a second Englishspeaking lawyer who can handle local land transactions effectively. Some UK banks provide mortgages for overseas properties, especially if they have a branch in the area of purchase. Alternatively, you can take out an overseas mortgage via a specialist broker, but this will not be subject to the FSA (Financial Services Authority) regulations. Do be aware of all the costs involved, including taxes, agency and legal fees, surveys and notary’s fees. ‘If you choose to build abroad, your choice of architect will be crucial, too,’ says Jemimah. ‘Their role extends well beyond sketching up your dream home. They will help negotiate the planning rules, and recommend and manage builders, so choose an architect that you communicate well with.’
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