Does a hideaway in Hungary, a Portugal Property or a flat on the French Riviera tempt you away from the gloom of Great Britain? No-one would blame you! But, before romance, impulse or emotion prompts you to part with your hard-earned cash, we recommend following these five tips for finding the perfect home abroad.
Take your time
Avoid buying the first property you view. Most properties are comparatively cheaper than those in England, so don’t fall into the trap of snapping up the first home you see! Instead, view properties from lots of different agents to give you a broad idea of the market. It’s also crucial to view a property in person. Don’t rely on what you can see on the internet or are told over the phone: if something sounds too good to be true, check it out for yourself!
Choose your location carefully
Where are you drawn to? Would you like to be inside or outside of Europe? Are you dreaming of farmland or a sea breeze? Would you prefer to join a busy community, or does somewhere more rural fit your vision? These are all important questions to answer! Finally, are there any natural hazards to contend with, like tsunamis, earth quakes or droughts, and are you able to face them? Finally, be sure to check out your dream location outside of the tourist season: do you still fancy living there in winter?
List your must-have amenities
What’s vitally important for your day to day life? Do you need to be near shops, restaurants, schools, workplaces and hospitals? An area needs to suit your current or desired lifestyle, and is a choice that is likely to be influenced by your age and hobbies. Do you spend your free time soaking up knowledge in galleries, museums and libraries, or are you happier walking the dog and getting out on your bicycle? Whether you’re retiring or raising a young family, make sure you have the necessary services on your doorstep.
Once you’ve picked a location, consider how much you know about the local culture. Are you comfortable with their quirks and traditions? How well do you speak the language, and are you prepared to learn? Are you happy leaving Britain and the things you’re familiar with? How are you going to make your new location feel like home, and are you prepared to handle the homesickness you’re likely to feel?
Understand the legal
Before you buy, appoint an independent lawyer. This is not an area to shave off costs! They’ll help you to navigate the murky waters of buying property abroad, such as tax duties, local taxes, developers, solicitors fees, mortgages, payment methods, contracts, inheritance laws and land ownership. It’s also worth having your documents translated into English before signing anything. You’ll also need to do some research into migration, establishing whether you need residency permits and work visas if you’d like to move into your perfect home abroad on a permanent basis.