Ultimate Guide to Buying a Property in Other Countries

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Ultimate Guide to Buying a Property in Other Countries

Deciding on a Location

Generally, when deciding on where to purchase property you have to ask yourself are you buying it for a vacation house or for financial purposes. When you are buying a house for vacation purposes people will usually look for places near a beach, or where they have family and friends, no real dilemma there. However, when looking for financial gain, the process gets way more complex, as you have to do extensive research on the profitability of your actions. The Global Price Index publishes annual reports on residential property market shifts. For 2021 they have estimated that this year residential property prices are rising at their fastest rate since the 2006 report. When looking for locations it is important to do your research on the country you are thinking about buying in. Taking these trends into consideration you can decide on a country based on their price shifting. Of course, you should take into account the location and its proximity to your desired places or institutions. If it’s for a vacation then get one next to the beach, if it’s going to be your retirement home, make sure there are hospitals or health institutions nearby. Even renting a property in a location for the joy of traveling is not out of the ordinary. In this case, you can look for the cheaper options.

Country Laws on Purchasing Homes

Before going into pricing details, you should look first at whether you’re even eligible to own the place. For example, New Zealand’s parliament has voted for a ban on selling homes to foreigners (due to existing trade deals, Australians and Singaporeans are exempt from this ban). Knowing this in advance kind of makes looking up the market in New Zealand irrelevant, doesn’t it? For EU citizens, there will be hardly any restrictions for citizens of the EEA (European Economic Area – the EU including Norway, Lichtenstein, and Iceland). While staying for longer than 90 in the USA will require you to get a Visa.

Lending Criteria for Mortgages Abroad

As you might have guessed, paperwork will be plentiful when applying for a mortgage abroad. The entire process takes longer because it’s abroad, and even further if you’re unemployed. Deposit amounts will differ from country to country so it’s best to research information regarding this in each individual country of interest. Perhaps having to pay 40% of the deposit is a bit too much for your current budget or situation. The same goes for interest rates. If you don’t have the money to pay for everything upfront (which people rarely do), you will have to take out a loan. And researching country interest rate averages as well as individual bank interest rates will also be a factor. Circumstances will differ from country to country, in France for example, you can take out interest-only loans provided you have assets worth the same amount as the loan.

Legal Advice

As you can tell from the previous chapters, there is a lot of legalities involved in the process. That’s why it is advisable to hire a property solicitor before jumping into anything legally binding. It might be expensive at first, but it will save you more money in the long run, as well as the stress of going through these troubles. The lawyer should be familiar with the laws of the country of interest, as well as the local language plus English. Never sign a document that you don’t understand the contents of. Your lawyer should take a look at the document and make sure that the translation is accurate as well.

Always Take Recession Into Consideration

When a recession is hitting, it’s good to have a vacation home, but it’s bad to be renting an apartment. Knowing the worldwide economic situation as well as the situation of the country in question is vital when agreeing to a price and the goal you had in mind when purchasing/renting the property. You could buy a house that is worth $1,300,000 at the start of a recession, only for it to be valued at $650,000 a few years later, effectively losing half of your invested money. Remember, housing prices don’t only go up.

Maintenance Costs and Taxes

When deciding on a property, make sure you understand all of the property taxes of the area. You might need to pay tax to a homeowner’s association or ridiculously high yearly property taxes. Of course, two things are unavoidable death and taxes. So there isn’t any special uncovered country that you can buy property in that doesn’t have taxes, but you can do your research to make sure that your income doesn’t suffer immensely from them.


In the real estate market (especially abroad) you will find out that most sellers will only give you one price – their price as a form of “take it or leave it”. This can make negotiations difficult, to say the least, as sellers are less eager to move from their original asking price. So you have to ask a lot of sellers and basically look for the seller who is the most desperate to sell. It might sound cruel but it is how it is, as most sellers will be relatively unreasonable with their pricing as they can afford to wait out a couple of more months or years for a new potential buyer to arrive.

Grace Wilson

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