Buying a property abroad

Buying or selling an apartment or villa overseas.
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Buying a property abroad:

Buying abroad is an absolute minefield. It is essential that you get proper advice and that you understand fully what you are entering into.

  • Get a good professional advisor who fully understands the local market , the laws where you are buying and the tax regulations that are applicable.
  • Ensure your advisor speaks both the local language and English fluently.
  • If you are planning to refurbish, extend, or build new make sure you understand what permits are requireds, who grants them and how long they will take.
  • Make sure you understand the taxes that will apply on both the purchase, and later resale. Are there any specials taxes that apply to non-nationals?
  • Buy and read a book on buying property in the region you are looking at.
  • Ask people who have been through the process what pitfalls they found.

Once you have bought your property, the fun really begins when you start renovating/rebuilding it. There are some very amusing stories of dealing with local beaurocracy, not least Peter Mayles "A Year in Provence" -you do really need good local professional advice before doing any building work.

Of course your dream holiday home may well be empty for 10 months of the year. You can make good money from letting it -try Airbnb, who both promote your villa/apartment to prospective clients, and manage the online bookings for you. And it is free until you get a customer -you only pay commission on actual bookings.

Useful sources of information:

Removals Overseas
  • Crown Relocations -specialists in international relocation, offering a complete range of services to help with every step of moving overseas, from preparation and planning, to transporting and storing.
  • French Property links -useful site for anyone considering buying a property in France.
  • Sense Habitat -environmental builders Douglas Beal and Lawrence Brown run this not for profit association in France, running courses and study tours in Normandy.
  • Ecoliving Portugal -supports and promotes sustainable living projects, courses and events in Portugal.
  • Pure Portugal -as well as eco holidays in central Portugal, they feature a number of rural plots for low impact living ranging from ruins for for restoration and conversion to smallholdings without services.

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Featured books:

Restoring a Home in Italy: Twenty-Two Home Owners Realize Their Dream
by Simon McBride (Photographer), Elizabeth Helman-Minchilli, Elizabeth H. Minchilli
Price in UK pounds
Price in dollars

Where to Buy Property Abroad 2009: An Investor's Guide
Ray Withers and David Cox
Paperback -Oct 2008
Price in UK pounds
Price in US dollars

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