Whether you are buying a property to reside in, to let out or just to visit when you want a bit of sunshine. Buying property abroad can be different to buying in the UK. Every country has their own set of laws, legal systems and steps regarding property which can cause confusion.
This article intends to delve into buying property as a whole (so please bare in mind this may not be specific to the country you may be buying in).
Obviously, like there is with any new ventures, there can be risks. It is necessary to understand these risks before giving to go ahead on buying abroad.
- Tax – buying property abroad makes a new homeowner liable to tax in the new county and in the UK. Be ready for this.
- Developers – do not be pressured into a hard sell with the pressure to sign up with a large deposit on top. Always seek independent advice.
- Exchange Rates – even a slight rise or decrease in rates can affect a mortgage. Overnight, a change could make any repayment unaffordable.
- Paperwork – any documents needs to be triple checked with the necessary licenses, permissions and planning consents before a signature is added.
Before starting the hunt for a picturesque property, research into the types of mortgages that a customer could apply for. Analysis should be made on different types and comparing them to other lending opportunities. Agents and sellers may recommend certain types, however research other methods as well as their recommendations.
Any customer looking to take out a mortgage should clarify with their lender any doubts or concerns they have about any terms and conditions. It is pivotal that you completely understand the mortgage that you will be signing up to.
When selecting the correct mortgage, it is best to choose one that is closely linked to your needs and capabilities. There are a wide variety on the market for customers to use, and selecting the right one can seem puzzling. It is important to check the repayment period, fees for setting up/cancelling and the interest rates, on each mortgage.
It may be worth considering the impact of fluctuations within the currency (dollars, euros, whatever it may be) to the British Pound. Over time, different changes such as rises and declines may affect the interest rates on any repayments you make.
Seeking Legal Advice
One of the most common issues of Britons buying property is because they haven’t sought legal advice before taking the plunge. Commonly, those previous have instead just used lawyers and interpreters who have been recommended by an interpreter or an estate agent.
When or if you decide to buy, make sure that an English-speaking lawyer who is licensed is appointed. Anyone legally who is selected to help within the sale of a property needs to be qualified, experienced and reliable. One way of deciding if someone is all of the above is by researching through the Law Society website. Law Society is a British website that lets customers find legal; representation that can specialise in international transactions.
Also, it is crucial to check that any lawyer used has their own professional indemnity insurance.
Translators and Interpreters
This may not apply to all, as some people are fluent in certain languages, however if you find you aren’t, you will most certainly need to hire a translator. A translator or interpreter will be needed when the relevant documentation needs to be translated and signed. Just like with any legal representation you hire; it is crucial to choose a reliable and experienced translator.
Our top eight tips to take away
- Research, research, research! Try follow any local news or laws regarding the property within the area.
- Communication is always key. If you get the chance, try talking to other local property owners about area. This will allow you to find any information out before the purchase. For example, if the area is prone to flooding.
- Developers – get to know them. If you are buying from a developer, get to know them. Ask them about other developments they may have done and any problems they may have encounter. Find out whether they have any outstanding commitments to any utility suppliers such as sewage, electricity, water, etc.
- Written communication. This is one of the most important points. Make sure that anything agreed or negotiated is then made into a written and signed piece of communication. Always insist to have things written down and to receive paper receipts.
- Always check that either the developer or seller you are buying the land/property from has the correct title deeds to transfer to you. This is especially fundamental when buying a property that is either brand new or partly built.
- Bills – check that the seller hasn’t got any outstanding bills to pay. If you buy a property without checking, then you may be liable to pay these debts back.
- Utilities – it is necessary to check that all the utilities are connected and able to use once you buy the property. E.g., electricity, water, internet, sewage, etc.
- Final Check. Make sure that the deed to the land or property you are buying haven’t been offered as any collateral for any loans