17 September 2014

Posted by Discount Insurance on Wednesday, September 17, 2014
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As the tans and memories from this summer’s idyllic getaway begin to fade and the reality of another British weather creeps ever closer, an increasing number of Brits are choosing to extend that holiday feeling by purchasing a second home overseas.  

Buying a property abroad is more popular than ever, with increasing numbers of people following their dream by purchasing a holiday home, buy to let investment or even making a permanent move to sunnier climes.  If you’re thinking of taking the plunge, here are our top tips to help get you started.

It’s all about location

Before you start the property hunt in earnest, it’s worth sitting down and agreeing on a few basics first. Although not as much fun as scrolling through property websites, working out what you are actually looking for will save you time and money in the long run. 

Important factors to consider include:

  • City, countryside or beach?
  • How much outside space do you need?
  • How close do you want to be to your neighbours?
  • Do you need to be within walking distance to shops, bars and restaurants?
  • Where’s the nearest airport and which airlines serve it? Do direct services run throughout the year?
  • How good are the local health and social services?
  • How many Brits live in the vicinity – is this a plus or minus for you?

Talk to locals

You should always try to visit the area you’re hoping to buy into during your property search – in fact for many buyers this is the most fun part of the process. Ensure that you make time to talk to the locals during your reconnaissance mission. They are an invaluable source of information and you could well uncover some hidden property gems not advertised in the traditional channels. You could also benefit from their personal experiences when it comes to navigating estate agents, developers and local property laws. Plus you’ll already have the foundations for a great social life waiting for you when you next visit!

Listen to the professionals

Always use qualified professionals to protect your interests and make the purchase as hassle-free as possible.  Ensure you have a good lawyer with an excellent grasp of English – if possible get a personal recommendation – who will be able to guide you through the intricacies of the local legal process.

Have a good grasp of the numbers

Before you commit to a purchase it’s important to be fully aware of the legal process and all of the costs involved. Your lawyer and estate agent/developer should be able to give you a document detailing all of the applicable costs. 

If you are planning to rent the property out, ensure you have a realistic idea of how much rent the property will achieve, taking into account costs such as cleaning, advertising and taxes.
Beware of exchange rate movements

Whilst exchange rate fluctuations before you go on holiday can be annoying, they rarely have a big impact. When buying a property it doesn’t take much change for a previously affordable property to suddenly move out of reach. If you’ve already signed a binding contract committing you to a purchase, this could cause a problem. It is important to speak to a specialist in this area and secure a rate of exchange to protect yourself.

Don’t forget insurance

Once you have your place in the sun, it is important to protect it with a specialist second home/holiday home insurance policy – these are readily available from UK insurers such as Discount Insurance. Cover levels can vary substantially so make sure you check all of the details before choosing the best policy to meet your needs.