How to Buy a Property Abroad Without it Becoming a Nightmare


Have you often dreamed of buying a property abroad and living the good life? It is incredibly tempting to think of renovating a French country farmhouse or buying a Spanish beachside apartment. This is the kind of thing that could really give your life a new direction and a huge boost if you get it right.

However, it is something that can also go horribly wrong, as it has done for many Brits who have ended up in financial problems due to an unwise foreign property investment. So how can you ensure that it becomes a dream property rather than a nightmare investment? The following tips should help you avoid the most common problems.

Do Some Research

One of the big problems when buying a home abroad is that it can be difficult to do enough research. If you work in the UK then it can be difficult to find the time to head over to check out your desired area very often. What this means is that you might not be fully clued up about property prices, workmen availability and all of the other factors that need to be taken into account. It can be made even worse if you aren’t sure which area you are going to buy in. This means that it makes sense to narrow down your options and concentrate on one specific area. You should be able to find out some information online, by reading expat forums and looking for blogs and travel guides too. The more research you do the more likely you are to make a good decision. Making a snap decision on buying a property the first time you visit a certain area can lead to a financial disaster.

Learn the Language

A huge problem for many people who buy a home in another country is the language barrier. Buying a house is a complex business and taking it on without understanding the local lingo is a massive risk. If you do this then you are likely to put yourself entirely in the hands of a local English speaking agent. Wouldn’t it be better to learn the language if you are serious about buying a house there? For native English speakers the likes of French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian are relatively easy to get started on. This is because they have a lot of words that share a common root with their English equivalent. Because of this many are pretty easy to guess the meaning of. You can’t be expected to understand complex legal documents but you should be able to get a grasp of what estate agents, builders and solicitors are telling you. This also means that if you are planning to move there you can fit in a lot more easily with the local community.

Think of the Future

Perhaps the biggest mistake you could make is to be vague about why you are buying the property in the first place. Are you planning to go and live there full time? If so, what income will you live off and what work needs to be done to make it habitable? If it is a long term investment for your retirement years then you need to consider how you will maintain it in the meantime and keep an eye on it. Also, how will you send money across to pay the bills while you still live at home? It is good to have the dream of owning a foreign property but it also needs you to be something you put some practical thought into. If you have a clear vision of what you want from your future then you should be able to look forward to a thrilling future with your property abroad.

Are you planning to buy a property abroad?

2 Responses to How to Buy a Property Abroad Without it Becoming a Nightmare

  1. I don’t think I would ever buy a property abroad. There is just too much stuff to learn about the laws/requirements of the country and home buying process. But for others, these tips are a great starting point.

  2. Michelle says:

    I’m not sure if I would ever purchase a property abroad, but I enjoy watching other people do it on shows like House Hunters.

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