Buying a holiday home overseas – advice and location guide

Due to tighter mortgage regulations and the impending interest rate rises in 2015; the idea of buying a holiday home overseas has never seemed more appealing.

With the UK property market on a current cool down, tighter mortgage regulations and impending 2015 interest rate rises.

Although the property market rules are pretty universal, there is still a high chance that when it comes to buying your property you’ll be catching a fair few flights. Just like the UK market, location is central to any property you buy abroad. If you’re planning on using the property as a holiday home for only a few weeks a year, you may be able to rent it out for the remainder.

However, if you plan on splitting your time fairly equally across the UK and abroad; it may be worth familiarising yourself with Saga Travel’s insurance guide. Many operators only offer single trip insurance, which will void your travel insurance if you are abroad for a considerable amount of time.

Ensuring you have the right cover for your situation is incredibly important. If you are intending to buy a holiday home abroad, it’s highly likely that you will require annual multi-trip insurance.

Buying abroad is a big decision, one that involves a significant lifestyle change as well as a large sum of money. Therefore, it’s important to know why you are doing it and what you want from it. Do you want to make money on holiday rentals, or have somewhere that’s just for you? Do you love the city, or prefer a more isolated setting? Ensuring that this decision has been made is essential to begin the search for the perfect holiday home.

During the process of searching for and buying your property it’s important that you have a reputable lawyer. Pick a firm that isn’t recommended by the estate agents, and always work with an English-speaking lawyer. This ensures that you get fair & impartial advice. It’s also essential to look into their past portfolio to see if they experience of the local housing market, or more specifically in holiday homes. This experience proves invaluable when negotiating with difficult home-sellers. Alternatively consider paying a big more to bring a British firm on side, however what you gain in trust and communication, you lose in local knowledge. It is therefore only advisable to do this when you have fantastic knowledge of the local area yourself.

It is important to remember that you should never sign paperwork that your lawyer hasn’t discussed with you first, even if your language skills are good. In many towns throughout the world, and in Europe especially there are often old and antiquated home ownership rules that sometimes pass by enthusiastic home-buyers. A perfect example of this is in southern Spain, whereby an escritura is required on top of all your other legal documents in order for you to properly own the property. Many that are first time buyers in Spain have forgotten this and in turn, have bought a property only to find out they are unable to live there.

It is therefore absolutely crucial to thoroughly research legal costs, and make all offers in writing, as well as devoting some time to learning all the local home-ownership rules and regulations yourself, so you are not just have to take your lawyers word as fact.

Buying a property is always an investment of sorts – even if you don’t want to make money from your property, you are still investing in your future. Never spend more than you can afford to lose – if you ever want to sell the property, you can’t guarantee that you’ll get more than you’ve paid for it.

House prices on the continent and in the States are continuing to fall, with prices in America falling as much as 40% in some places. France is still the favourite location for Brits – it’s close, beautiful, and you can pretty much guarantee that it will remain fashionable. If you want to snap up a real bargain, then consider Croatia. This beautiful country has seen its housing market fall by 14.4%, and there are some great deals available. Other top locations for Brits buying houses abroad are Portugal, Italy, the Caribbean, Turkey and Switzerland.

Where ever you decide to buy, the best advice available is just research, research, and research some more. Increased local knowledge can provide a serious security net to help avoid any potential negative repercussions.

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