Buying Property Abroad
At this time of the year, many of us are starting to think about our summer holidays. For some, 2017 might be the year we finally take the plunge (no pun intended!) and look at buying a property abroad.
Here, Matthew Cameron, Partner and Head of French Property Services at Ashtons Legal, gives his top tips on buying a property abroad.
ONE. Learn as much as you can about your chosen area: not just what it is like in your favourite season. Some regions can be very busy in high season, with ideal weather for your needs, but out of season can be very different. Do transport links run all season?
TWO. Find out as much as you can about the property. Commission a survey: the pre-contract diagnostic inspections may reveal a good deal of information, but they only cover specific points and will not give any information about the overall state of the property.
THREE. Ensure your purchasing budget is realistic - have you anticipated legal fees and stamp duty abroad and your solicitor’s costs in England? Is agency commission included in the price or payable on top? Are mortgage instalments realistic even if the exchange rate changes? If you are buying rental property, is your business plan sufficiently robust?
FOUR. Are there any concerns about planning? If you need to protect the view over neighbouring land, then enquiries can be made to see if this is realistic. If you need to develop your own property, then conditions could be incorporated into the contract to protect you in case this would not be possible.
FIVE. Understand the contracts you are signing. They will be in another language, occasionally with a translation for a guide. Instruct specialist solicitors to review the contract, and to advise on the complexities of international inheritance law and tax matters.
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