Don’t lose your brain on the plane – 5 steps to buying your second home overseas safely
- Foreign property purchases up 50% in 1 year
- Pound at 22 month high against Euro
- Brits buying in Spain up 84% (Currencies Direct)
Yahoo Travel has revealed that France has taken the top spot as the world’s most visited destination, followed by the US, Spain, China and Italy. However, when it comes to UK residents, it seems that a holiday just isn’t enough anymore, with Currencies Direct reporting an upsurge in Brits buying overseas. The figures show an increase of more than 50% in foreign property purchases in the last year alone, with Spain registering the greatest growth at 84%.
Such an increase is a sure sign that Brits are keen to buy fast once the time is right. The favourable exchange rate (the pound is at a 22 month high against the euro), coupled with markets such as Spain and Portugal bottoming out, creates significant opportunity for those looking to profit from their second home overseas.
Panic buying, though, can be a risky business, so don’t lose your brain on the plane – instead follow these five simple steps to buying overseas with confidence.
- Buy through an established company
It may sound obvious, but if a deal from a little-known company sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Buying a villa from an unscrupulous developer who has built on protected land could see your life savings vanish fast, so always buy through a reputable company with a long and pristine track record. Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director of leading Spanish homebuilder Taylor Wimpey España, advises,
“Do your research and find out how long the developer you are considering buying with has been in business. Find reviews on the internet from customers who have bought previously through them and grill them on any details where you require clarification. A reputable company will be happy to answer your questions, no matter how many you many have.”
- Make use of inspection trip offers but don’t feel obliged to purchase
Many companies offer inspection trips to allow you to view a range of their properties and get a feel for the areas in which you are considering buying. Chris White, Founding Director of boutique real estate agency Ideal Homes Portugal, comments,
“A reputable company should be happy to assist your property search by arranging an inspection trip. At Ideal Homes Portugal, for example, we offer inspection trips from just £149, which include return flights for two adults, airport transfers, luxury hotel accommodation, free legal advice from an independent property lawyer, free financial advice from an independent mortgage brokerage, a rental and property management presentation and exclusive advice and guidance from one of our experienced property consultants.
“Those on our inspection trips certainly get excellent value for their money, but we at no point pressure them to buy – and any company that does should be treated with extreme caution.”
- Think outside the box
If you’re nervous about sinking your savings into overseas property, consider some alternative options. Dawn Cavanagh-Hobbs of Appassionata recommends fractional ownership for those looking to buy overseas with less risk. She explains,
“Fractional ownership allows buyers to pick up their dream holiday home for just a snippet of the usual price. Here at Appassionata our owners get five weeks’ usage of their Italian property per year, without having to worry about the hassle of maintenance and upkeep in between times. They still own a share in a property overseas that they can pass down to their children or sell at a later date, but with less risk then buying outright.”
- Be sure to get value for money
Do your own research on property prices in the area/country you are looking at, but make use of the experts’ research too. As Philip Button, Managing Director of specialist property investment firm Brookes & Co, comments,
“Any company worth their salt will be able to offer you extensive information on price trends in the area where you are looking to buy, with figures from reliable sources that you can check out yourself. From historical data to the latest market predictions, they should have everything to hand to enable you to make a fully informed decision. If they don’t, beware!”
- Get to know the people you’re buying from
Key to buying with confidence is getting to know the individuals that you are dealing with and who will be responsible for assisting in the purchase of your property. An ideal way to go about this is to start your search at a local event, such as the Overseas Property Show, which is due to tour the UK between September and November. Professionals will be on hand to answer questions from potential buyers and to demonstrate just what their money can buy them in a range of overseas locations, from Portugal to the US.
With so many more buyers looking to second homes overseas to meet their lifestyle and investment requirements, these top tips to buying safely have never been more timely.
For more information on buying safely overseas with the companies detailed above, please contact:
Taylor Wimpey España: +44 (0) 8000 121 020 or www.taylorwimpeyspain.com. Those residing outside of the UK should call +34 971 70 69 72.
Ideal Homes Portugal: +44 (0) 800 133 7644 or +351 289 513 434 or www.idealhomesportugal.com.
Appassionata: +39 073 465 8775 or www.appassionata.com.
Brookes & Co: +44 (0) 1621 875 925 or www.brookesandco.co.uk.
Overseas Property Show: for free tickets, visit www.theoverseaspropertyshow.com.