Retirees, families moving to greener pastures, and career-minded individuals climbing the corporate ladder might find themselves facing a rare opportunity: buying property overseas. Those for whom the new arrangement will likely be permanent, or a second home and life in the sun should consider buying property abroad. With such an exciting prospect, it can be easy to overlook vital concerns that will impact your quality of life, and to focus instead on what you’ll do when you arrive, how to embrace the local culture, and other more enthralling notions.
However, failure to address some crucial questions could prove hazardous. Before you make the big jump, consider your answers to the following questions:
1. Where will you go?
Much more than the destination country, a person contemplating buying a property abroad will need to think about what kind of area they want to live in. If you are moving permanently and seeking a job, someone working downtown will probably be unable to swing a rural location, retirees are free to choose whichever scene suits them best. Is an urban setting preferred? Suburban, or even rural? Jobs will factor into the answer but so will infrastructure. Make sure to do your research, and find places that are appropriate based on the level of amenities you’re comfortable with. Be sure on whether this is a place you are going to purchase and stay at a few times a year (i.e. a second home abroad), or whether you are looking at a permanent home to live in.
2. How much space do you need?
For retirees, moving abroad is also a chance to downsize. Switching to a smaller overseas property, or even an apartment is lighter on one’s finances, but it should also match their individual lifestyle. Those who need privacy, quiet, and a backyard to relax in should expect to spend more for the privilege, but only if they can’t live without it. Make sure to plan for a growing family as well, if applicable. It helps to make a list, and then compromise on the “must haves” in relation to budget, transportation, job location and other considerations.
3. What can you afford?
Probably the largest limitation, your budget will have an impact on the place you’ll call home. Check up on the health of the real estate market beforehand to know if you’re getting more or less for your money when purchasing property abroad. Remember that you’ll need to move money overseas via a large money transfer, so transfer costs and associated commissions should also be calculated and factored in. Banks are typically the most expensive and impersonal method to use, but those who choose FinTech platforms like currencytransfer.com or reputable non-bank foreign exchange companies can cut their costs significantly both on the transfer fee and spread built into the rate of exchange. When making a large money transfer, it pays to work with a dedicated account manager, who can help time market movements and ensure your property stays within budget – for example, a forward contract will enable you to lock in the rate for a future purchase.
4. How’s your access to transit?
It can get lonely abroad, even if you have a family or spouse to accompany your move. You’ll want to choose a place that enjoys greater access to public and private transportation options, like the airport, sea, or train station. This way, visitors from back home will have an easier time arriving, and you’ll spend less time and money between destinations both near and far.
5. How will you make a deposit?
Whether buying your new home in cash or making an initial deposit, you’ll need to figure out how to transfer a potentially significant amount of money across international borders. You could set up a bank transfer from your home bank, but the fees involved are steep. Save yourself from this exorbitant and unnecessary expense by buying your home via a cost-effective international money transfer solution, via a service like award-winning FX marketplace, currencytransfer.com.
6. What kind of professional help do you need?
Moving abroad for good? This will often requires you and your family to jump through countless administrative hoops. Are you getting a visa or citizenship, and what is the process for doing so? Will you need to navigate the legal guidelines for foreign property ownership, tax responsibilities, or construction permits? Do your due diligence to determine which services you’ll require, and if you can’t succeed on your own, hire a reputable professional that speaks the relevant languages.
7. What’s the market like?
Not everything goes smoothly, no matter how well you plan. Have a contingency in place for all surprising events, even the loss of your job. Is the job market good enough to find another position without countless months of unemployment? Is the real estate market strong enough for a quick resale should you need an exit strategy? An overseas property investment requires a lot of thought. These questions and more should have answers long before you board the plane.