Buying a property can be a bit of a minefield even when you’re buying in your local area, so buying abroad is even more of a challenge. Buying property when you’re not in the same country can be hard, but it’s not impossible. You need to do your research first and make sure you know what you’re doing.
- Ask questions about where the property you’re considering has been built. For example, you should know if the property has been built on an area that should have been set aside for land agriculture or a green belt.
- Take advice from an independent lawyer, who speaks both English and the local language of where you’re buying. If you’re looking into something like Dominican Republic real estate, then you’ll need someone locally who can help make sense of local laws and make sure you’re getting a fair deal. They can also protect you from potential permit issues.
- Research the background of the location you’re buying in to avoid any nasty surprises. You need to know if you’re looking at property in an area with earthquakes or volcanic activity. You should also do some research into the neighbourhood you’re looking at it, so you know whether noise or traffic will be a problem.
- Check the planning permission you might need to make any changes to your new property and make sure you’ve looked into what licenses your property should have. Without the correct licenses you may not be able to live there legally or get the proper utilities set up.
- In some countries, poor construction can be a problem. To avoid being burned by shoddy construction, make sure you always get an independent valuation from a professional surveyor who is an expert in the country you’re buying in. Even a new build should be checked over to make sure there aren’t any problems. You should check for properties built on poor soil, insufficient foundations, substandard building materials or built on dubious locations like flood areas.
- When you’re purchasing abroad, you need to know what you’re doing when it comes to contracts. It’s common to only get one contract in the local language, so you make sure to get a professional translation done. If you get a copy in the local language and one in English, get the translation checked so you know for sure what you’re signing.
- If you’re buying a property to rent out, make sure you consider the cost of maintaining the property as well as the cost of purchasing it. You should decide if it would be better to manage the property yourself or employ a managing agent to look after it for. Make sure you can earn enough profit on renting the property to cover the costs of this. You also need to factor in the cost of wear and tear from long-term lets.
Buying abroad should be considered carefully before you do it, as there are plenty of potential pitfalls for buyers who don’t do their homework first.