Top tips for buying a second property abroad
PUBLISHED: 12:38 11 September 2017 | UPDATED: 14:24 11 September 2017
Thinking of buying a property abroad? Our guide helps you take that first step towards owning your own perfect place in the sun
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
Breathtaking views and top notch hospitality are on offer from the luxury Grace St. Moritz apartments.
Warm weather and a cheap cost of living makes Portugal an ever-popular holiday home retreat.
The ski resort of Bansko offers plenty to do at highly competitive prices.