Logo

Top tips for buying a second property abroad

PUBLISHED: 12:38 11 September 2017 | UPDATED: 14:24 11 September 2017

Learning the language will stand you in good stead for a venture abroad. Photo: Tranio.com

Learning the language will stand you in good stead for a venture abroad. Photo: Tranio.com

Tranio

Thinking of buying a property abroad? Our guide helps you take that 
first step towards owning your own perfect place in the sun

Landing your dream holiday home will take research and several visits. Photo: Tranio.com Landing your dream holiday home will take research and several visits. Photo: Tranio.com

September is a tricky time of the year, really. Another summer has drawn to a close (pah!) and we sun-starved Brits have begun to fantasise about owning our dream holiday homes abroad, as an autumn chill descends on our shores.

If you are giving serious consideration to buying your own place abroad, you will need to do your homework. Tempting though it might be to rush ahead and gets things moving, taking some time to properly research your options will pay dividends in the long-term. Here are a few handy pointers to get you started.

Take a few trips

“Successful purchases require a great deal of research, several visits and a certain amount of soul-searching,” according to Savills’ Jelena Cvjetkovic. She continues: “if possible, make your first viewing trip during the winter… if you like the property then, you are bound to love it in the spring or summer, when gardens are in full bloom and swimming pools are in action.”Embarking on a number of different visits to your chosen location will give you invaluable insight. In turn, you will benefit from a more thorough understanding of what your prospective holiday home is like – not just in the glamour of mid-summer – but also in the cooler, off-season months. There’s only so much information you can gain from reading reviews online.Considering the quirks of a local area is crucial, too. Jelena points out that in Tuscany, for example, “it’s difficult to find a country house within walking distance of a village – meaning you’ll have to drive to the nearest shops, bars and restaurants”. Naturally, the more you plan to visit, the more you’ll learn about the place that could soon be your second home.

Get your law in order

A reliable lawyer could make all the difference between a seamless purchase and a total property nightmare. Amy Redfern – Senior Negotiator at Knight Frank – says: “It would be advisable to employ a solicitor with excellent English spoken language to ensure you don’t have any surprises at point of signing or indeed after purchase.”Understanding a legal document originally written in a foreign language can be a tricky prospect, so don’t risk it and sign on the dotted line until a solicitor has thoroughly examined it and given you the green light.

Identify your dream destination

Finding a spot that is both affordable and convenient to reach is going to put you in high demand for short-term holiday rentals. However, it is also worth pointing out that you could pick up cheaper property, with a more secluded vibe, if you are prepared to venture off the beaten track a little.It is important to think of the time difference too, as Savills’ Jelena Cvjetkovic points out. “A beach home in an exotic location might sound wonderful, but if your circumstances mean that you have to be contactable at all times… your choice will be restricted somewhat.” Jelena picks out Portugal as a great destination for this purpose, as its warm climate, friendly reputation and relatively cheap cost of living is combined with the fact that “its 9 to 5 is aligned with the UK’s”.

Learn the language

If, like us, you haven’t dabbled in foreign languages since you learned how to nail phrases like “where is the train station?” and “I went to the cinema” in your French speaking test, learning a new lingo is no child’s play.However, doing so could be important in helping you to make friends of your new neighbours and to buy your essentials in the supermarket, even if it’s just a handful of key sayings. Taylor Wimpey Espana agree, claiming that “while English is widely spoken across Spain, it’s always a valued gesture to learn the basics of Spanish to help with integration”. Downloading the free Duolingo app and setting aside 10 minutes per day to learn the native lingo would be a great point to start!

Three top spots for a holiday home

1 Switzerland

Breathtaking views and top notch hospitality are on offer from the luxury Grace St. Moritz apartments.

2 Portugal

Warm weather and a cheap cost of living makes Portugal an ever-popular holiday home retreat.

3 Bulgaria

The ski resort of Bansko offers plenty to do at highly competitive prices.

Property search


e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Other Hampstead and Highgate property news

4 ways to transform your Christmas tree

Looking for some seasonal decor inspiration? Gabrielle Fagan reveals her favourite festive finds

Home of the week: Unique penthouse-style apartment in Hampstead

This weeks choice is a property with double volume ceilings and spectacular views over central London

North London developer says the cut to stamp duty is a “gamechanger” for first-time buyers

Abolishing stamp duty for most first-time buyers will make it easier for them to get on the property ladder, according to a north London real estate developer

Comment: My response to the Chancellor’s budget

Trevor Abrahmsohn, director of north London agents Glentree Estates, believes the governments new housing proposals, as part of the Budget 2017, will go some way into making home ownership “a human right, rather than a privilege”

North London agents say government’s abolishment of stamp duty won’t help first-time buyers in the capital

Housing analysts and north London estate agents are among many who believe abolishing stamp duty for first-time buyers will have little impact on the capital’s housing crisis

Winter patio pots looking lacklustre? Try 3 things to perk them up

Perk up your winter pots to keep them looking fabulous over the festive season

How to install a hidden wall safe

A discreet safe to keep valuables protected isn’t just something for the rich and famous to consider. Richard Burr reveals how to fit one

Christmas gift guide: 14 top picks for gardeners and green-fingered types

From sweet stocking-fillers to wow-factor pressies, these are bound to delight

Comment: My letter to our illusive housing minister

According to Simon Gerrard, managing director of Martyn Gerrard estate agents, the government are failing to deliver a strategic approach in response to the housing crisis

Former Hampstead guesthouse is for sale as a 7 bedroom residential home

Owner, Annemarie van der Meer hopes to sell the property to a buyer looking for a spacious family home

For sale in Highgate: top three

On the market this week are three historic properties with period features, high ceilings and far-reaching views in an eviable location

The Japanese wonder toilet taking the world by storm

TOTO, inventor of the ‘Washlet’, claim the rate of sales for their product in Europe has doubled year on year since launching in 2009

5 things to consider before storing your garden tools away for winter

Give your tools some TLC before you put them away for the winter. Our guide shows you how to look after them - and make them last

Home of the week: Converted Hampstead church

This weeks choice is a former Presbyterian Church, boasting a galleried mezzanine floor with rooftop views

Highgate area guide: schools, shops, pubs and parks

Your guide to things to do in Highgate, including the best shops, cafes, restaurants and schools. PLUS our guide to property in N6

Dress it up: 13 fabulous finds for giving your dressing table a mini or major makeover

With party season approaching, it’s time to take a look in the mirror and reassess your beauty station

5 top home improvements you should do instead of moving

Richard Burr reveals how to gain more space in your house

Four in ten London home sellers are cutting asking prices, the highest figure since 2010

Sellers have cut asking prices by an average of 6.7 per cent over the last month, according to new figures

Is it too late to plant bulbs? Not if you follow our guide

There’s still time to plant tulips and bring vibrant colour to your garden next spring

Three new properties on the market in Paddington

Paddington 2 was recently released in cinemas, but there’s more to this area than the bear with a fondness for marmalade

Belsize Park area guide: restaurants, schools, cinema and celebrities

Your guide to things to do in Belsize Park, including the best shops, cafes, restaurants and schools. PLUS our guide to property in NW3

Internationally renowned fireplace brand opens showroom in north London

The new gallery features high ceilings and an abundance of natural light, the perfect space for showcasing fireside, outdoor living and architectural products

3 wallpaper experts reveal their top style tips for 2018

Gabrielle Fagan speaks to those-in-the-know and reveals their top tips and wallpaper trend predictions for next year

Need more storage? How to build sturdy shelves in your alcoves in 5 simple steps

Richard Burr reveals top tips to help DIYers get the job done

For sale in Belsize Park: top three

On the market this week are two stucco-fronted properties with contemporary living space and a red-brick apartment featuring a private terrace

There’s lots to think about when it comes to buying a new carpet

Property columnist Jane Howdle weighs up practicality vs aesthetic

Home of the week: Hampstead Way

This weeks choice is set on a tree lined road, boasting a large lawned garden and an abundance of natural light

Rising interest rates and what it means for homeowners

The hike in interest rates is likely to send mortgage bills higher for millions of families and further disrupt the property market, according to a north London agent

How to make your supermarket basil last longer

Fed up with spending a fortune on supermarket basil? Follow our guide to making it last longer

Why we’re not all equipped for renovating

Columnist Jane Howdle explains why she’ll never buy a property that needs renovating

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

2017 © Archant Community Media Ltd

Terms and conditions | Cookie policy | Jobs at Archant